Synopses & Reviews
The nine Lives in this selection trace a crucial phase in ancient history. Plutarch's Lives of the great Greek statesmen and men of action were designed to pair with the now better-known Roman portraits and contain many of his finest descriptions of war, revolution and heroic achievement.
They include studies of Demosthenes and Phocion, the leading Athenian orators; of Agesilaus, the Spartan King, and Pelopidas, the Theban military hero; of Dion and Timoleon, the 'liberators' of Sicily; and, above all, of three generals û Demetrius 'the Besieger', Pyrrhus and Alexander the Great.
About the Author
Plutarch (c.50-c.120 AD) was a writer and thinker born into a wealthy, established family of Chaeronea in central Greece. He received the best possible education in rhetoric and philosophy, and traveled to Asia Minor and Egypt. Later, a series of visits to Rome and Italy contributed to his fame, which was given official recognition by the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Plutarch rendered conscientious service to his province and city (where he continued to live), as well as holding a priesthood at nearby Delphi. His voluminous surviving writings are broadly divided into the ‘moral’ works and the Parallel Lives of outstanding Greek and Roman leaders. The former (Moralia) are a mixture of rhetorical and antiquarian pieces, together with technical and moral philosophy (sometimes in dialogue form). The Lives have been influential from the Renaissance onwards.
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