Originally Posted by SodiumWage
Thank you so much. I can see how it would a fun, but full time job hunting down each piece of information to form a clearer picture of many of the less well known ancient lives.
It's too bad we don't know the exact reason why Plutarch addressed QSS in his Lives; I'd like to imagine there is quite a story behind that reasoning.
It is not known even why exactly LM Plutarchus wrote these exemplary biographies, even if the author himself left several explicit hints.
The Bioi Paralleloi
were double biographies of a Hellene and a Roman figures (usually in that order) with a final comparison (synkrisis) as whole individual books.
LM PLutarchus was primarily a philosopher (more specifically an eclectic Middle Platonist) and particularly an ethicist.
The main explicit goal of these biographies was ostensibly the improvement of the personal lives of his readers from the study of the good and bad exemplary actions of some notable historical figures.
However, their redaction would suggest these books (especially the earlier ones) were also intended to be kind of an introduction to the Roman ways for the new generations of Romanized Hellenes like LM Plutarchus himself.
In this scenario, the explicit opening dedication to one of the most powerful members of the ruling elite of the Empire and close personal friend of Trajanus himself would suggest a deliberate strong marketing promotion among the philhellenic Roman high class.
It is known that some of these books are currently lost, painfully including the first one of the series, the Parallel Lives of Epaminondas and Scipio Africanus (probably Major).
Several modern authors consider that such book probably began with a general introduction of the series, presumably including an explanation of the author's purposes and also an opening general dedication to Quintus Sossius Senecio.
Two of the three extant dedicatories to Plutarchus' powerful friend are found in explicitly numbered books (the fifth and the twelfth ones of the series) so it seems quite likely that these were review numbers, where the original project was somewhat modified, and the author was punctually informing his loyal readers.