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Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans Vol. 1 PDF, ePub eBook Plutarch s Lives, written at the beginning of the second century A.D., is a social history of the ancient world by one of thegreatest biographers and moralists of all time. In what is by far hismost famous and influential work, Plutarch reveals the character andpersonality of his subjects and how they led ultimately to tragedy orvictory. Richly anecdotal and full of detail Plutarch s Lives, written at the beginning of the second century A.D., is a social history of the ancient world by one of thegreatest biographers and moralists of all time. In what is by far hismost famous and influential work, Plutarch reveals the character andpersonality of his subjects and how they led ultimately to tragedy orvictory. Richly anecdotal and full of detail, Volume I containsprofiles and comparisons of Romulus and Theseus, Numa and Lycurgus,Fabius and Pericles, and many more powerful figures of ancient Greeceand Rome. The present translation, originally published in 1683in conjunction with a life of Plutarch by John Dryden, was revised in1864 by the poet and scholar Arthur Hugh Clough, whose notes andpreface are also included in this edition. Publisher: Modern Library 2001 Author: Plutarch Translated by: John Dryden Volume: 1 Format: 816 pages, paperback ISBN: 9780375756764 Theseus, Romulus, Lycurgus, Numa, Solon, Poplicola, Themistocles, Camillus, Pericles, Fabius, Alcibiadas, Coriolanes, Timoleon, Aemilius Paulus, Pelopidas, Marcellus, Aristides, Marcus Cato, Philopoemen, Flaminius, Pyrrhus, Caius Marius, Lysander, Sylla, Cimon, Lucullus, Nicias, Crassus

30 review for Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans Vol. 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "...beyond this there is nothing but prodigies and fictions, the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors of fables" Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Vol 1. Plutarch, one of the great early biographers summarizes the lives of Greek and Roman military and political leaders and compares them to illuminate the virtues and failings of their leadership. Vol 1., includes the following micro-biographies and comparisons: Theseus v. Romulus Lycurgus v. Numa Pompilius Solon v. Poplico "...beyond this there is nothing but prodigies and fictions, the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors of fables" Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Vol 1. Plutarch, one of the great early biographers summarizes the lives of Greek and Roman military and political leaders and compares them to illuminate the virtues and failings of their leadership. Vol 1., includes the following micro-biographies and comparisons: Theseus v. Romulus Lycurgus v. Numa Pompilius Solon v. Poplicola Themistocles v. Camillus Pericles v. Fabius Maximus Alcibiades v. Coriolanus Timoleon v. Aemilius Paulus Pelopidas v. Marcellus Aristides v. Cato the Elder Philopoemen v. Flamininus Pyrrhus v. Gaius Marius Lysander v. Sylla Cimon v. Lucullus Nicias v. Crassus The first two sets are more myth (Theseus v. Romulus) & folklore (Lycurgus v. Numa) and less biography, but it appears Plutarch realized that all history and biography NEEDS a beginning, even a vague and foggy genesis, and felt he would do a better job at it than another writer, thinker, biographer. Plus, he was teaching morals not history. Most of these characters, leaders, politicians, thinkers in Vol 1 of 'Lives' I've come across in other classical writings, but Plutarch possessed a lot of information that current historians no longer possess, plus his approach is fairly no nonsense and pragmatic. I expect Vol 2 will be even more interesting as it heads into later "Noble" lives that are both more proximate to Plutarch, more well-known, and where more information is available. So far, however, I can see why early readers of the 17th-century translation by Dryden or 16th-century translation by North flocked to Plutarch mainly for his moralizing and less for his biographical skills. I personally need to figure out if I prefer the Dryden translation or the North translation better (I own both). I would also be curious about later translations (Langhorne or Perrin). So, I'll probably pick one of the shorter biographies and read 2 or 3 or 4 different translations to see which I like, if I have the time and energy in a month or so. Anyway, a wide reader can also see Plutarch's influence on Montaigne, Shakespeare, Boswell, Bacon, Hamilton, etc. IF he continues at this level or better this is one of those books I'm sure to travel back to both as a resource and a respite.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheppard

    WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT HISTORIANS OF WORLD HISTORY--HERODOTUS, THUCYDIDES, SIMA QIAN, IBN KHALDUN, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS, JULIUS CAESAR, PLUTARCH, LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to us all from George Santayana, who, in his "The Life of Reason," echoed the similar earlier words of the conservative philosopher Edmund Burke. But the great histories and historians of World History bring us far more than events of nations, chronicles of the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, or lessons and precedents from the past; they also constitute a fundamental part of World Literature, bringing us great reading experiences and exciting sagas as in Thucydides' "History of the Peloponesian War," in-depth portraits and readings of the character of great men and shapers of the world as in Plutarch's "Parallel Lives" and China's "Records of the Grand Historian" by Si Ma Chen, and deep philosophical and scientific insights into the workings of human society its environment as revealed in the panoramic visions of great Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun, Karl Marx, Oswald Spengler and Sir Arnold Toynbee. As such, in our modern globalized world of the 21st century, where not only our own history, but also the interrelated histories of all of nations show so clearly that "the past is always present," and therefore every educated citizen of the modern world has an obligation to read the great works of history from all major civilizations to even begin comprehending the living world about us and the ultimate meaning of our own lives. WHAT WAS THE FIRST WORK OF HISTORY IN THE WORLD? If to begin our survey we put the daunting threshold question of what was the firs work of "history" in human experience, like most radical questions we will find that the answer all depends on how we put the question and define its terms. "History" undoubtedly began with the campfire stories of Neolithic man about families, tribes and conflicts far before the invention of writing. Histories were passed down in oral sagas memorized by poets such as Homer's "Iliad and Odyssey," and only centuries later recorded in script. But true history begins with works of systematic analysis and interpretation of human events, and in that light the general consensus is that the first great work of World History was that of the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC, "The Histories." HERODOTUS, AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORIES" Herodotus (5th Century BC) is thus often referred to as "The Father of History," a title conferred upon him by Cicero amoung others, but also disparagingly as "The Father of Lies" by some of his critics. He was born in Halicarnassus, a Greek city which had become part of the Persian Empire that enjoyed strong trade relations with Egypt. He travelled widely, spending time in Periclian Athens, Egypt, Persia and Italy and collected histories, tales and historical lore wherever he traveled, noting the customs of the people, the major wars and state events and the religions and lore of the people. He wrote in a "folksy" style and purported to record whatever was told to him, which led to critics deploring some of the "tall tales" or mythical accounts in his work, but which Herodtodus himself said he included without judgment to their ultimate truth to illustrate the historical beliefs of the peoples he encountered. His primary focus was to explain the history and background of the Persian War between the Greeks and the Persian Empire, though he also included cultural observations of other peoples such as the Egyptians. His "Histories" is entertaining and interesting, though somewhat voluminous and scattered for the modern reader unfamiliar with the context. THUCYDIDES, MASTER OF REPORTORIAL AND EYEWITNESS HISTORY Thucydides (460-395 BC) is most remembered for his epic "History of the Peloponnesian War" of Greece which recounts the struggle for supremacy and survival between the enlightened commercial empire of Athens and its reactionary opponent Sparta, which ended in the defeat of the Athenians. His approach and goal in writing was completely different from Herodotus, as he was himself a General in the wars he wrote about and set out to provide "the inside story" of eyewitnesses and personal accounts of the major participants in the great events of their history so that their characters, understanding, strategies and actions could be closely judged, especially for the purpose of educating future statesmen and leaders. This approach was later shared by Polybius in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire." As a more contemporary history it is often more exciting to read, and establishes the tradition followed by Livy and others of including the "key speeches" of the leaders in war council, the "inside story" of their schemes and motivations, and rousing tales of the ups and downs of fast-moving battles. It contains such classics such as Pericles "Funeral Speech" for the ballen war heroes reminiscent of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is a must for those seeking to understand Classical Greece and a rich and exciting read. SIMA QIAN, AND THE "RECORDS OF THE GRAND HISTORIAN" OF HAN DYNASTY CHINA Sima Qian (Szu Ma Chien/145-86 BC) is regarded as the greatest historian of China's long and florid history and his personal tragedy is also held up as an example of intellectual martyrdom and integrity in the face of power. He like his father was the chief astrologer/astronomer and historian of the Han Imperial Court under Emperor Wu. His epic history "Records of the Grand Historian" sought to summarize all of Chinese history up to his time when the Han Dynasty Empire was a rival in size and power to that of Imperial Rome. He lived and wrote about the same time as Polybius, author of "The Rise of the Roman Empire," and like him he wrote from the vantage point of a newly united empire having overcome centuries of waring strife to establish a unified and powerful domain. In style, his history has some of the character of Plutarch in his "Lives" in that it often focuses on intimate character portraits of such great men as Qin Shi Huang Di, the unifier and First Emperor of China, and many others. It also contains rich and varied accounts of topic areas such as music, folk arts, literature, economics, calendars, science and others. He was the chief formulator of the primary Chinese theory of the rise and fall of imperial dynasties known as the "Mandate of Heaven." Like the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, its premise was that Emperors and their dynasties were installed on earth by the divine will of heaven and continued so long as the rulers were morally upright and uncorrupted. However, over centuries most dynasties would suffer corruption and decline, finally resulting in Heaven choosing another more virtuous dynasty to displace them when they had forfeited the "Mandate of Heaven," a kind of "Social Contract" with the divine rather than with mankind. Then, this cycle would repeat itself over the millennia. His personal life was occasioned by tragedy due to his intellectual honesty in the "Li Ling Affair." Two Chinese generals were sent to the north to battle the fierce Xiongnu hordes against whom the Great Wall was constructed, Li Ling and the brother-in-law of the Emperor. They met disaster and their armies were annihilated, ending in the capture of both. Everyone at Court blamed the disaster on Li Ling in order to exonerate the Emperor's relative, but Sima Qian, out of respect for Li Ling's honor disagreed publicly and was predictably sentenced to death by Emperor Wu. A noble like Sima Qian could have his death sentence commuted by payment of a large fine or castration but since he was a poor scholar he could not afford the fine. Thus, in 96 BC, on his release from prison, Sima chose to endure castration and live on as a palace eunuch to fulfill his promise to his father to complete his histories, rather than commit suicide as was expected of a gentleman-scholar. As Sima Qian himself explained in his famous "Letter to Ren An:" “If even the lowest slave and scullion maid can bear to commit suicide, why should not one like myself be able to do what has to be done? But the reason I have not refused to bear these ills and have continued to live, dwelling in vileness and disgrace without taking my leave, is that I grieve that I have things in my heart which I have not been able to express fully, and I am shamed to think that after I am gone my writings will not be known to posterity. Too numerous to record are the men of ancient times who were rich and noble and whose names have yet vanished away. It is only those who were masterful and sure, the truly extraordinary men, who are still remembered. ... I too have ventured not to be modest but have entrusted myself to my useless writings. I have gathered up and brought together the old traditions of the world which were scattered and lost. I have examined the deeds and events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure, their rise and decay, in one hundred and thirty chapters. I wished to examine into all that concerns heaven and man, to penetrate the changes of the past and present, completing all as the work of one family. But before I had finished my rough manuscript, I met with this calamity. It is because I regretted that it had not been completed that I submitted to the extreme penalty without rancor. When I have truly completed this work, I shall deposit it in the Famous Mountain. If it may be handed down to men who will appreciate it, and penetrate to the villages and great cities, then though I should suffer a thousand mutilations, what regret should I have?” — Sima Qian JULIUS CAESAR: HISTORY AS AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND AUTOMYTHOLOGY Julius Caesar was famous for writing accounts of his own military campaigns, most notably in his "History of the Gallic Wars." Curiously, he writes of himself in the third person. Though a personal history, his writing contains little introspection or deep analytical thought and is rather the action-drama of the campaign, with special care to show his own personal courage and leadership. Before the 20th century most European schoolboys would read the work as part of their efforts to learn Latin in Grammar School. Later famous leaders such as Winston Churchill also followed in Caesar's tradition in writing history alonside making it, for which he received the Nobel Prize. Caesar's work is worth reading and exciting in parts, though sometimes becoming repetitive in the minutiae of the endless conflicts. THE GREAT ROMAN HISTORIES: LIVY, POLYBIUS, TACITUS, SEUTONIUS AND AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS The thousand-year history of the Roman Republic and Empire can be gleaned from these five great historians in the order presented. For the earliest history of the founding of the Roman Republic from the 6th-4th Centuries BC Livy (59BC-17 AD) in his "Ab Urbe Condita Libri" (From the Founding of the City) is the best source, tracing the saga from the tale of Aeneas fleeing from fallen Troy to the Rape of the Sabine Women, Romulus & Remus, the tyranical Tarquin Kings, the Founding of the Republic, the evolution of the Roman Constitution and up to the sack of the city by the Gauls in the 4th Century BC. Though ancient history is presumed to be boring, I surprisingly found Livy's account surprisingly lively, almost a "can't put down read." Polybius (200-118 BC) then picks up the story in his "The Rise of the Roman Empire" tracing the three Punic Wars with Carthage, Hannibal's campaign over the Alps and Rome's entanglement with the collapsing Greek Empire of Seleucis, Macedon and the Ptolmeys until attaining supremacy over the entire Mediterranean. Polybius is a surprisingly modern historian who saw as his challenge to write a "universal history" similar to that of our age of Globalization in which previously separate national histories became united in a universal field of action with integrated causes and effects. He was a Greek who was arrested and taken to Rome and then became intimate with the highest circles of the Roman Senate and a mentor to the Scipio family of generals. He like Thucydides then attempts to tell the "inside story" of how Rome rose to universal dominance in its region, and how all the parts of his world became interconnected in their power relations. Tacitus (56-117 AD) continues the story after the fall of the Republic and rise of the Roman Empire under the emperors. Along with his contemporary Seutonius who published his "History of the Twelve Caesars" in 121 AD, he tells of the founding of the Empire under Julius Caesar, the Civil Wars of Augustus involving Mark Anthony & Cleopatra, the Augustan "Golden Age" and the descent into unbelievable corruption, degeneration, homicidal and sexual madness and excess under Caligula and Nero, followed by a return to decency under Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. The endstory of the Roman Empire is reflected in Ammianus Marcellinus (395-391 AD) who wrote in the time of Julian the Apostate who unsuccessfully tried to shake off Christianity and restore the old pagan and rationalist traditions of Classical Greece and Rome. PLUTARCH, THE GREAT HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHER Plutarch (46-120 AD) is most famous for his historical biographies in "Parallel Lives" or simply "Lives." He was, like Polybius, a Greek scholar who wished to open understanding between the Greek and Roman intellectual communities. His "Parallel Lives" consists of character portraits and life histories of matching pairs of great Greeks and great Romans such as Alexander and Caesar, hoping to enhance appreciation of the greatness of each. Much of Shakespeare's knowledge of the classical world reflected in his plays such as "Julius Caesar," "Anthony and Cleopatra" and "Coriolanus" came from reading Plutarch in translation. His character analyses are always insightful and engaging to read. His biographical method was also used by the great near-contemporary Sima Qian of Han Dynasty China. IBN KHALDUN, ISLAMIC PIONEER OF MODERN HISTORY, SOCIOLOGY AND ECONOMICS One of the blind spots in our appreciation of World History is the underappreciation of the contributions of Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) and many other Islamic and non-Western thinkers, including Rashīd al-Dīn Fadhl-allāh Hamadānī (1247–1318), a Persian physician of Jewish origin, polymathic writer and historian, who wrote an enormous Islamic history, the Jami al-Tawarikh, in the Persian language, and Ala'iddin Ata-Malik Juvayni (1226–1283) a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire entitled Ta' rīkh-i jahān-gushā (History of the World Conqueror). Of these Ibn Khaldun was the greatest and a theoretical forerunner of our modern approaches to history, far ahead of his time and little appreciated in either the Western or the Islamic world until recently. His greatest work is the The "Muqaddimah" (known as the Prolegomena) in which he anticipated some of the themes of Marx in tracing the importance of the influence of economics on history, including the conflict between the economic classes of the nomadic pastoral and herding peoples, the settled agriculturalists and the rising urban commercial class. Like Marx he stressed the importance of the "economic surplus" of the agricultural revolution and the "value-added" of manufacture, which allowed the rise of the urban, military and administrative classes and division of labor. He stressed the unity of the social system across culture, religion, economics and tradition. He even anticipated some of the themes of Darwin and evolution, tracing human progress in its First Stage of Man "from the world of the monkeys" towards civilization. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah the greatest work of genius of a single mind relative to its time and place ever produced in world history. THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE MONGOL EMPIRE "The Secret History of the Mongol Empire" was precisely that, a private history written for the family of Ghengis Khan recording its rise and expansion from Ghengis Khan's humble personal origin to an empire stretching from China to Poland and Egypt. Its author is unknown but it contains an engaging account of the Khanate, the royal family and its traditions and the incredible expansion of its domain. While not a theoretical work it provides a useful missing link in our understanding of the Mongol Empire as a beginning stage of modern Globalization and a conduit for sharing between civilizations, East and West, and, unfortunatelyh for the transmission of the Black Plague across the world. THE GREAT MODERNS: GIBBON, MARX, SPENGLER & TOYNBEE The "must read" classics of modern World History include the work of Edward Gibbon "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" which traces its fall to a decline in civic virtue, decayed morals and effeminacy amoung the public and the debilitating effects of Christianity vis-a-vis the rationalism of the Greek-Roman heritage. Marx, of course is central to modern history, not only formulating the laws of social development based on economics, class conflict and the transition from agricultural to capitalist economies, but also formulating the revolutionary program of Communism. Oswald Spengler was a remarkable German amateur historian whose "Decline of the West" traced a theory of "organic civilizations" that have a birth, blossoming, limited lifespan and death like all living creatures. He held this to be a cyclical universal historical process of civilizations now exemplified by the West entering the stage of spiritual exhaustion and collaps in warfare. Arnold Toynbee charted a similar process analyzing 26 civilizaitons across all human history, but differed with Spengler in that he believed moral reform and a return to Christian ethics could revive the West and forestall its decline. SPIRITUS MUNDI AND WORLD HISTORY In my own work, the epic contemporary and futurist novel Spiritus Mundi World History plays a central role as various characters such as Professor Riviera in the Mexico City Chapter and Prof. Verhoven of the Africa chapters discourse on human history, evolution, evolutionary biology and the rise of civilization, culminating with the quest of the protagonists led by Sartorius to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy, a globalized version of the EU Parliament as a new organ of the United Nations. World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great historians of World History and World Literature, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature: For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit... Robert Sheppard Editor-in-Chief World Literature Forum Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr... Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17... Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Chaikin

    22. Plutarch's lives, The Dryden Translation, Volume 1, edited by Arthur Hugh Clough written: circa 120 ce translation: 1683 (and not by Dryden) editing and notes 1859 format: 785 page paperback acquired: December read: Feb 27 – May 2 time reading: 48 hr 43 min, 3.7 min/page rating: 3 A weird decision to read this, but it's become somehow meaningful to me in a way I don't exactly understand and that may not have anything to do with the text. The text is a strange relic of the Roman era. Plutarch was a Gr 22. Plutarch's lives, The Dryden Translation, Volume 1, edited by Arthur Hugh Clough written: circa 120 ce translation: 1683 (and not by Dryden) editing and notes 1859 format: 785 page paperback acquired: December read: Feb 27 – May 2 time reading: 48 hr 43 min, 3.7 min/page rating: 3 A weird decision to read this, but it's become somehow meaningful to me in a way I don't exactly understand and that may not have anything to do with the text. The text is a strange relic of the Roman era. Plutarch was a Greek scholar during the high Roman Empire and wrote in Greek and may not have spoken Latin well. After doing whatever cultural touring he did in life, which included extensive travelling, collecting vast notes, he spent his later years in Greece as a priest at Delphi, writing. The parallel lives was his largest single work. The remnants of his possible 200 other works are collected in [Moralia], mostly philosophical writings. Lives has a philosophical underlying component, a kind of "Middle Platonic" view on the morality of leaders through history, but mainly it's an historical work, a collection of paired biographies. Each prominent Roman is paired with a prominent Greek with similar aspects in their life trend. These are lengthy biographies, collected from a variety of sources. Then their lives are compared in brief essays. The general consensus is that Plutarch should not be taken as historically accurate, as his interest was in the morality and the story telling, not the accurate, well-documented history of the modern sense. He does occasionally note his sources within the text, and even expresses notes of skepticism here and there. And he seems to be internally consistent, as he often covers the same event in different lives from different perspectives. But, despite the consensus of soft accuracy, you will find he is often cited today as the main source for parts of the histories of Greece and Rome. Some Wikipedia articles basically summarize his essays from this work as the entire article on historical figures who, outside Plutarch, are mostly unknown. These are the kind of things that force me to re-visit or re-think ancient history, that undermine to me what we think we know. As a historian Plutarch is really frustrating in that he loves and focuses on rumors, attributing major historical occurrences to unlikely details in someone's personal life. I constantly had to ask myself, that, even if what he had just described were completely true, is there any way it could have been accurately recorded. The reading of this is an odd experience. I always had in mind that I was reading the "Dryden translation", a translation John Dryden put his name on, but did not apparently actually contribute to, and so I have little sense of how accurate any of this is in meaning or tone. This work of Plutarch is famous because of the way he tells these stories. They are fast and bring in immense detail and sometimes that combination can make for some vivid stories. But it's a tough read. The rush through details, one on top of the next, is relentless. Then major points of the story will be sort of sneaked into the text, leaving this reader forced to backtrack here and there to find where I lost the thread. And every part of this info dump begs some critical evaluation and a whole lot of skepticism. I would try at times just to blindly believe everything he says, but I had force that. Plutarch was important in the late Renaissance when his focus on morality was of interest. His works, translated to English by Thomas North in 1579, were key source material for several of Shakespeare's plays. But it seems his importance has faded. There are no major new complete translations of his work. Newer translations focus on parts, and may break up these lives into just some of the Greek or Roman characters (and presumably re-order them chronologically). For me, he's a name that caught my attention and that my brain somehow needed to pin down by reading. I'm halfway through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stupac

    Plutarch's lives are an excellent place to start for a cursory study of the classical world. Plutarch of Chaeronia (in Greece) in the days of the Roman Empire was not contemporary with many of the figures he biographizes, but draws heavily from primary sources and oral traditions no longer extant. Don't forget also that he was a priest at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, so the predictions (and overriding theme of fate and the occasional miracle) of the famous oracle there play a heavy role in ma Plutarch's lives are an excellent place to start for a cursory study of the classical world. Plutarch of Chaeronia (in Greece) in the days of the Roman Empire was not contemporary with many of the figures he biographizes, but draws heavily from primary sources and oral traditions no longer extant. Don't forget also that he was a priest at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, so the predictions (and overriding theme of fate and the occasional miracle) of the famous oracle there play a heavy role in many of the "lives." On controversial details, he often gives both conflicting accounts, which is a nice touch. I personally really enjoyed the reading of Theseus and Romulus, the founders of Athens and Rome respectively. But all of them are valuable into the insight of history, and of how people considered these almost mythical heroes. These days you don't even need a book to read ancient works, you can find all of Plutarch's works online here: http://www.livius.org/pi-pm/plutarch/...

  5. 5 out of 5

    James

    Plutarch, of course, was one of the most influential authors of all time. His biographies of famous Greeks and Romans and his comparisons of their lives, were read with enthusiasm by classical scholars from the time they were written near the end of his life early in the second century A.D. He was likely the most important classical author read in Europe during the Middle Ages, and undoubtedly influenced Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as many other great literary figures. He was, to a large deg Plutarch, of course, was one of the most influential authors of all time. His biographies of famous Greeks and Romans and his comparisons of their lives, were read with enthusiasm by classical scholars from the time they were written near the end of his life early in the second century A.D. He was likely the most important classical author read in Europe during the Middle Ages, and undoubtedly influenced Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as many other great literary figures. He was, to a large degree, the very archetype of classical wisdom, but it is his brilliant and sympathetic understanding of human nature that stands out upon reading his lives. His original intention was to instruct others, but as he wrote he found that it was he himself who was deriving profit and enjoyment from "lodging these men one after another in his house."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    It is a shame that such an interesting, and historically valuable work such as Plutarch's lives is so difficult for modern readers. Though many others have commented on how difficult this English is for us, consider the following quote taken at random, from the first two sentences of the life of the Roman Camillus: Among the many remarkable things that are related of Furius Camillus, it seems singular and strange above all, that he, who continually was in the highest commands, and obtained the gr It is a shame that such an interesting, and historically valuable work such as Plutarch's lives is so difficult for modern readers. Though many others have commented on how difficult this English is for us, consider the following quote taken at random, from the first two sentences of the life of the Roman Camillus: Among the many remarkable things that are related of Furius Camillus, it seems singular and strange above all, that he, who continually was in the highest commands, and obtained the greatest successes, was five times chosen dictator, triumphed four times, and was styled a second founder of Rome, yet never was so much as once consul. The reason of which was the state and temper of the commonwealth at that time; for the people, being at dissension with the senate, refused to return consuls, but in their stead elected other magistrates, called military tribunes, who acted, indeed, with full consular power, but were thought to exercise a less obnoxious amount of authority, because it was divided among a larger number; for to have the management of affairs entrusted in the hands of six persons rather than two was some satisfaction to the opponents of oligarchy. Ugh. And on it goes. The North translation is even worse, to my ear. The best translation that I've found is the Loeb Classical Library. However, they are spread across eleven volumes, making for a very expensive acquisition.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    One of the devices of Plutarch is to draw comparisons between the famous Greeks and later Romans. For instance, the first sketch in this version features the Athenian Theseus. Plutarch equates him to a Roman founder, Romulus. There is the story of Themistocles, whose talents helped to defeat the Persian fleet at Salamis and whose strategizing was a key part of the Greeks' overall victory. There is also the tale of the unhappiness that he faced afterwards, including the ironic flight from Athens. One of the devices of Plutarch is to draw comparisons between the famous Greeks and later Romans. For instance, the first sketch in this version features the Athenian Theseus. Plutarch equates him to a Roman founder, Romulus. There is the story of Themistocles, whose talents helped to defeat the Persian fleet at Salamis and whose strategizing was a key part of the Greeks' overall victory. There is also the tale of the unhappiness that he faced afterwards, including the ironic flight from Athens. His death, by suicide, was designed to avoid his having to lead a fleet against the Greek fleet. The work continues with a depiction of the great Pericles, followed by the story of Alcibiades. Alexander the Great is also discussed, along with a handful of other noble Greeks. This is a wonderful introduction to classical Greece. For those interested in a deeper sense of the roots of Western civilization, this provides a nice entrée.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Smiley

    In fact I read only two on Alexander and Cicero (in Lives 2) since I'm interested in their lives as described and analyzed by Plutarch. I found it a bit tough due to Dryden's style of translation, that is, his Victorian-style lengthy sentences. In this Lives 1, I'm going to read on Pericles whose famous funeral speech at Athens as recorded in History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides has long impressed me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Plutarch is a fantastic storyteller and historian. He is usually careful to cite his sources and he frequently discusses variant accounts of events, but, far from being a dry academic, he brings the men he writes about to vibrant life. He also doesn't mind spicing his stories up with some gossip, although he usually notes when his stories deviate from what is historically probable. He places both the virtues and vices of famous men on display, and allows the reader to see the comparisons between Plutarch is a fantastic storyteller and historian. He is usually careful to cite his sources and he frequently discusses variant accounts of events, but, far from being a dry academic, he brings the men he writes about to vibrant life. He also doesn't mind spicing his stories up with some gossip, although he usually notes when his stories deviate from what is historically probable. He places both the virtues and vices of famous men on display, and allows the reader to see the comparisons between men of different times and stations as they encounter the same ethical dilemmas and temptations. No wonder this book was for centuries considered required reading for young people.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Dense. And not a lot of fun. Plutarch, a Greek in the first century A.D. who later became a Roman citizen, drafted his Lives as a moral inquiry. He selected from history a well-known Greek and a well-known Roman and wrote briefly on each. He then concludes with a couple pages comparing their lives in terms of who can be thought of as a better man- in terms of generalship, politics or whichever other quality he feels is most comparable between them. Today, these comparisons have been collected int Dense. And not a lot of fun. Plutarch, a Greek in the first century A.D. who later became a Roman citizen, drafted his Lives as a moral inquiry. He selected from history a well-known Greek and a well-known Roman and wrote briefly on each. He then concludes with a couple pages comparing their lives in terms of who can be thought of as a better man- in terms of generalship, politics or whichever other quality he feels is most comparable between them. Today, these comparisons have been collected into a couple volumes (or 11 if you want to shell out the money for the incomparable Loeb collection). He is considered one of the first biographers and is credited with preserving the views that Roman citizens had of these prominent figures. However, as history, it is suspect. Plutarch, much like Herodotus, loves the story more than the facts. His Lives are filled with inconsequential anecdotes next to tales of military campaigns. But the anecdotes are not inconsequential to Plutarch. Since he is more interested in moral development, the quiet moments of distinguished men are considered to be more indicative of character than their accomplishments on the world stage. Unfortunately, according to people who really know their history, the recitations of the more historically significant events contain inaccurate dates and events, which relegates Plutarch to an archiver of perception rather than fact. For some, this may be just as interesting. Plutarch’s purpose fits with his time. His life was during the time of Middle Platonism. The good was something that was inherent and could be seen in the mind. Therefore, men of quality could be learned from if,in turn, we are in a place to accept our failings“…for high and noble minds seldom please the vulgar…” (pg. 764, The Comparison of Lucullus with Cimon). I was hoping after this first one hundred, two hundred or three hundred pages, I’d get into the rhythm of this book and it would read easier. I didn’t and it didn't. This translation was assembled by John Dryden in the 17th century and was revised by the English poet A.H. Clough in the 19th century. And it feels like it. It’s dry and ponderous. But maybe Plutarch was too. I don’t read Latin so I’m stuck with what’s given to me. This is probably best read in pieces as it was originally compiled. Short comparisons between two lives. It was not originally intended as an 800 page monolith. And this is just Volume 1. _______________________________ My favorite passage came out of the life of Marcus Cato and it's not even about him: The little country house of Manius Curius, who had been thrice carried in triumph, happened to be near his farm; so that often going thither, and contemplating the small compass of the place, and plainness of the dwelling, he formed an idea of the mind of the person, who being one of the greatest of the Romans, and having subdued the most warlike nations, nay, had driven Pyrrhus out of Italy, now, after three triumphs, was contented to dig in so small a piece of ground, and live in such a cottage. Here it was that the ambassadors of the Samnites, finding him boiling turnips in the chimney corner, offered him a present of gold; but he sent them away with this saying; that he, who was content with such a supper, had no need of gold; and that he thought it more honorable to conquer those who possessed the gold, than to possess the gold itself. pg. 503.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Keeko

    You can see why this book is still being read 2,000 years, give or take a few. I would give it 10 stars if I could. Cover to cover adventure, passion, betrayal, heart, and humor. You can tell how much he loved the characters because he brings them to life. I teared up a bit when I finished it because I didn't want to leave them. And as a side note, every time now when I hear a politician or political strategist praised for a brilliant tactic or for "remaking the political landscape," I'll be thi You can see why this book is still being read 2,000 years, give or take a few. I would give it 10 stars if I could. Cover to cover adventure, passion, betrayal, heart, and humor. You can tell how much he loved the characters because he brings them to life. I teared up a bit when I finished it because I didn't want to leave them. And as a side note, every time now when I hear a politician or political strategist praised for a brilliant tactic or for "remaking the political landscape," I'll be thinking, "So and so did that a couple of thousand years ago. I read it in Plutarch." New dogs and old tricks.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    #Classic filled with important information about iconic figures. Plutarch's Lives Reading this book takes discipline, after 100 pgs...my eyes glaze over. C'est fini! Review

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joe Murphy

    Now THIS is a book

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elijah Oyekunle

    Hmm. Parallel Lives is important as an important source of information about ancient Rome and Greece. One of the greatest classics of the western civilization, and I just finished the first volume. Maybe I'll just take a pause before moving on.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Falk

    "Now himselfe confesseth in some place, that when he began this worke, at the first it was but to profit others; but that afterwards it was to profit himselfe, looking upon those histories, as if he had looked in a glasse, and seeking to reform his life in some sort, and to forme it in the mould of the vertues of these great men; taking this fashion of searching their manners, and writing the Lives of these noble men, to be a familiar haunting and frequenting of them. Also he thought, [said he h "Now himselfe confesseth in some place, that when he began this worke, at the first it was but to profit others; but that afterwards it was to profit himselfe, looking upon those histories, as if he had looked in a glasse, and seeking to reform his life in some sort, and to forme it in the mould of the vertues of these great men; taking this fashion of searching their manners, and writing the Lives of these noble men, to be a familiar haunting and frequenting of them. Also he thought, [said he himselfe] that he lodged these men one after another in his house, entering into consideration of their qualities, and that which was great in either of them, choosing and principally taking that which was to be noted, and most worthy to be knowne in their sayings and deeds." - This quote is from Sir Thomas North’s Life of Plutarch in his 1631 translation of Plutarch, and in many ways it sums up this reading experience really well for me. After checking out two different translations, I ended up choosing the one by Aubrey Stewart and George Long. (The other was the so-called 'Dryden Translations', which, because it was done by several different people, is of a somewhat uneven quality. The language in that version is also relatively archaic. I may return to it though.) While I can’t say anything about the quality of the translations from Greek, the language in the Stewart/Long version flows smoothly, their respective introductions were interesting and the notes to the text were useful. As for Plutarch himself, his Parallel Lives is an incomparable work, and his insights and profound understanding of human nature, makes it, in addition to its obvious historical value, something far more than simply a collection of short biographies. Plutarch has an ethical as well as historical interest in his pairing of Lives of the famous Greeks and Romans, and in the adjoined Comparisons (those that are still extant), just as often contrasts the achievements and characters of his subjects as much as he aims to show their resemblances. I had already read the Life of Lycurgus (in the Penguin Classics series of Plutarch translations), so I read the Life of Numa and the Comparison of Numa with Lycurgus first. Because of this, I ended up reading about Theseus and Romulus last, and that proved a good choice, since they somehow stand apart anyway because of their distinct mythological character. The Stewart/Long translation is just as readable as the more modern translations (found in e.g. the Penguin Classics), so if you want the entire series of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, for which there are many good reasons, this is a very good choice. And it’s no drawback that it’s available for free download for Kindle (and in other formats). I’ll end this by letting Plutarch speak for himself: "I do not write Histories, but Lives; nor do the most conspicuous acts of necessity exhibit a man's virtue or his vice, but oftentimes some slight circumstance, a word, or a jest, shows a man's character better than battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands, and the greatest arrays of armies and sieges of cities. Now, as painters produce a likeness by a representation of the countenance and the expression of the eyes, without troubling themselves about the other parts of the body, so I must be allowed to look rather into the signs of a man's character, and thus give a portrait of his life, leaving others to describe great events and battles." - (From the introduction to the Life of Alexander.) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    I only read the first six or so lives, not the whole thing. Plutarch, a Greek living in Roman times, compares famous Greeks and Romans. His focus is political and military. How does one shape the state best? Where lies wisdom and prosperity as a city-state? We find a mixture of virtue and vice upheld as worthy of pursuit. By gods grace granted even to pagan unbelievers, Plutarch extols moderation and courage and self-restraint. - "Neither ships nor riches and ornaments nor boasting shouts, nor barb I only read the first six or so lives, not the whole thing. Plutarch, a Greek living in Roman times, compares famous Greeks and Romans. His focus is political and military. How does one shape the state best? Where lies wisdom and prosperity as a city-state? We find a mixture of virtue and vice upheld as worthy of pursuit. By gods grace granted even to pagan unbelievers, Plutarch extols moderation and courage and self-restraint. - "Neither ships nor riches and ornaments nor boasting shouts, nor barbarous songs of victory, were any way terrible to men that knew how to fight and were resolved to come hand to hand with their enemies.... The first step towards victory undoubtedly is to gain courage." - "By this moderation of his [Themistocles yielding his command to a Spartan in the war with Persia] he was the chief means of the deliverance of Greece." - "Of two who courted his daughter, he preferred the man of worth to the one who was rich, saying he desired a man without riches, rather than riches without a man." Plutarch has a unique insight into the human condition. - "At length the Athenians banished him.... not so much to punish the offender as to mitigate and pacify the violence of the envious." Then again, he also delights in ambition, glory, and barbarism. They are willing to make human sacrifice before a battle to appease the common folk. - Themistocles finds refuge with Xerxes, years after tricking him in battle! Xerxes never learned of the deception, and Themistocles continues to take advantage of him for his own self-preservation when his own city turns against him. - When Xerxes asks him to fight against the Greeks years later, he kills himself, at age 65. This is considered honorable. Overall, Plutarch's worldview exalts the state beyond proportion, often to the denigration of the family. His political and human insight is often helpful, but set to the purpose of immortalizing heroes and cities of man, rather than the living God.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    (too old to rate) If Thucydides and Heterodotus are credited with establishing the Western conception of history, Plutarch is the founder of the form of biography. From a contemporary perspective Plutarch's biographies aren't all that successful -- beyond whatever factual inaccuracies there must be, from a literary perspective they tend to become either morality plays pitting a heroic leader against the envious people he rules over or slogs through repetitive accounts of battles and omens. Still (too old to rate) If Thucydides and Heterodotus are credited with establishing the Western conception of history, Plutarch is the founder of the form of biography. From a contemporary perspective Plutarch's biographies aren't all that successful -- beyond whatever factual inaccuracies there must be, from a literary perspective they tend to become either morality plays pitting a heroic leader against the envious people he rules over or slogs through repetitive accounts of battles and omens. Still, reading between the lines there's a lot to be learned about the Roman conception of heroism, statesmanship, oratory and religion. So much of what this work established became accepted historical practice for so long -- such as the "great man theory of history" which has only been truly fought against in recent years -- that it's important for anyone interested in historiography to at least be familiar with Plutarch. So I'm going to say this is like the other Ancient Greek books I've been working myself through -- perhaps not a pleasant read to a modern eye, but an important historical document that (however inadvertently) provides a fascinating look into the world it was written in, a world that was the foundation of our present society.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    My percentage of reading is based on the selection I wanted to read as part of the first year of reading of Great Books of the Western World. Plutarch compares the lawgiving ways of Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius, after he has told their seperate lives. Lycurgus was a king who left the crown to his nephew and spend his whole life to reorganize the laws of Sparta and make his inhabitants a fierce tribe, who defended their country. Numa Pompilius was asked to take the crown and reformed the city of Ro My percentage of reading is based on the selection I wanted to read as part of the first year of reading of Great Books of the Western World. Plutarch compares the lawgiving ways of Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius, after he has told their seperate lives. Lycurgus was a king who left the crown to his nephew and spend his whole life to reorganize the laws of Sparta and make his inhabitants a fierce tribe, who defended their country. Numa Pompilius was asked to take the crown and reformed the city of Rome after the founding by Romulus. His laws were focussed on peace and prosperity. Lycurgus's laws lasted over five hundred years, but at the end the city state of Sparta vanished. Numa's laws were forgotten almost immediately after his death and Rome started to make war on its neighbouring countries, but created through the war the Roman Empire. Next chapters will focus on Alexander the Great and Julius Ceasar.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Seriously one of the most taxing fucking dreadful reading experiences of my life. The content is absolutely amazing and terribly interesting, but it took so much mental energy to plough through a single sentence that I couldn't bear to even THINK about reading the second volume. It's a shame, really. I found Plato challenging, but at least his syntax wasn't a fucking gymnastic routine in and of itself most of the time. Plutarch is the literary equivalent of a geezer who has a tendency to go off Seriously one of the most taxing fucking dreadful reading experiences of my life. The content is absolutely amazing and terribly interesting, but it took so much mental energy to plough through a single sentence that I couldn't bear to even THINK about reading the second volume. It's a shame, really. I found Plato challenging, but at least his syntax wasn't a fucking gymnastic routine in and of itself most of the time. Plutarch is the literary equivalent of a geezer who has a tendency to go off on tangents and The World's Most Interesting Man. It's horrifically compelling. Commas? This translation has GOT some motherfucking commas. This shit will make your eyes bleed. And all the while, you fucking masochist, you'll say: "Boy, this is interesting, I need to keep going." And so it goes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig Saperstein

    The content is 5 stars, but I'm leaving 3 because the Stewart/Long translation is much better. Here's an example difference from Alkibiades which I struggled with in Dryden but could immediately understand in Stewart/Long: Dryden: When he began to study, he obeyed all his other masters fairly well, but refused to learn upon the flute, as a sordid thing, and not becoming a free citizen; saying that to play on the lute or the harp does not in any way disfigure a man's body or face, but one is hardly The content is 5 stars, but I'm leaving 3 because the Stewart/Long translation is much better. Here's an example difference from Alkibiades which I struggled with in Dryden but could immediately understand in Stewart/Long: Dryden: When he began to study, he obeyed all his other masters fairly well, but refused to learn upon the flute, as a sordid thing, and not becoming a free citizen; saying that to play on the lute or the harp does not in any way disfigure a man's body or face, but one is hardly to be known by the most intimate friends when playing on the flute. Stewart/Long: In learning he was fairly obedient to all his teachers, except in playing the flute, which he refused to do, declaring that it was unfit for a gentleman. He said that playing on the harp or lyre did not disfigure the face, but that when a man was blowing at a flute, his own friends could scarcely recognise him.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    My favorite section in this book, and one of my favorite reads of the curriculum this year, was that of Lycurgus and the society he built in Sparta. The culture of minimal legislation, common possessions, few words, and more leisure is such a foreign lifestyle, and I still think about it often. I'm still left pondering how it is necessary to have community in order to have happiness and whether it is necessary to isolate ourselves in order to have the best community. Another fun topic of discuss My favorite section in this book, and one of my favorite reads of the curriculum this year, was that of Lycurgus and the society he built in Sparta. The culture of minimal legislation, common possessions, few words, and more leisure is such a foreign lifestyle, and I still think about it often. I'm still left pondering how it is necessary to have community in order to have happiness and whether it is necessary to isolate ourselves in order to have the best community. Another fun topic of discussion after reading this book was to determine how St. John's and the USNA match up with the societies of Solon and Lycurgus.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Horn

    his is the best book on ancient history I've ever read. Usually with ancient history very little is recorded. Usually all we know is from one or two historians, and all modern authors can really add is some archaeological findings and their own opinions. That why I prefer to read the original sources. The problem with doing that is that many are fragmentary, and sometimes it can be quite hard to understand the context of what they are talking about. Plutarch is far easier to read than most author his is the best book on ancient history I've ever read. Usually with ancient history very little is recorded. Usually all we know is from one or two historians, and all modern authors can really add is some archaeological findings and their own opinions. That why I prefer to read the original sources. The problem with doing that is that many are fragmentary, and sometimes it can be quite hard to understand the context of what they are talking about. Plutarch is far easier to read than most authors first because it is a collection of short biographies. If you are lost, just wait. In a few pages he's on to the next character. And many of them are famous people that many interested in history will already have some understanding of. He also goes into some quite interesting asides that reveal his understanding of science and philosophy. I listened to this as an audio book. I haven't looked into what print editions are available, but this would be much improved by a edition with a short introduction for each of the biographies. Often Plutarch dives right in, and unless you have already heard of the person it takes quite a while to figure out who it is and what is going on. Also helpful would be maps and critical notes. One thing great Plutarch does that many modern historians do not is analyze and judge his subjects. His format is to compare a Greek and a Roman that he thought had similar lives, and compare their virtues and vices. It's interesting to see what he thought was important. He seemed to thing that great and successful men had some sort of virtue. Thus the hero of one live could be shown to really be a villain in another.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    There are times I regret starting my Harvard Classics journey, and this is one of those. It's the most challenging thing I've ever tried to read. With the run-on sentences, passive voice, and not to mention all the Greek and Roman names, I have trouble paying attention to any of it. I tried another equally difficult translation in print, but alas, I've come to the limits of my reading ability. These stories could really use another translation. I know there are newer ones, but only the Dryden on There are times I regret starting my Harvard Classics journey, and this is one of those. It's the most challenging thing I've ever tried to read. With the run-on sentences, passive voice, and not to mention all the Greek and Roman names, I have trouble paying attention to any of it. I tried another equally difficult translation in print, but alas, I've come to the limits of my reading ability. These stories could really use another translation. I know there are newer ones, but only the Dryden one seems to be both complete and widely available. I will force my way through Volume 2 for the sake of my reading goal, but it's likely going to go in one ear and out the other. Crassus was cool to learn about, I guess. There seems to be really good stuff in here, but I guess I'm too dumb to handle this extremely dense material haha.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donn Headley

    Any American who reads Plutarch must be struck with how much we owe to the Romans. Plutarch is as much psychologist and assessor of statesmanship as historian. He balances different accounts—from the unreliable to the reliable—to teach the reader to differentiate between legend, myth, and verified history. His perspective is balanced and sensible. One main theme is that even the most civilized of civilizations must stay vigilant, for we are always teetering on the edge of the abyss to fall into Any American who reads Plutarch must be struck with how much we owe to the Romans. Plutarch is as much psychologist and assessor of statesmanship as historian. He balances different accounts—from the unreliable to the reliable—to teach the reader to differentiate between legend, myth, and verified history. His perspective is balanced and sensible. One main theme is that even the most civilized of civilizations must stay vigilant, for we are always teetering on the edge of the abyss to fall into either chaos or tyranny. It is only when the people practice self-government—the foundation of a strong and flourishing society—that the edifice of that society remains solid. The more things change since Roman times, the more they stay the same.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leah Angstman

    DNF, so I won't rate it, but had not planned on finishing the book in its entirety. Only needed to read a few select chapters for some research I'm doing. The book is dry and very wordy, assumes you already know who people and places are before you crack the cover (doesn't explain that kind of stuff as you go along, so if you don't have any knowledge of ancient Rome and its people, places, and relationships, you'll easily get lost or bored), but it's a classic and an invaluable piece of history.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I decided to read Plutarch to fill in a gap in my education. The most interesting about the book to me was how it dealt with two warrior cultures, Greece and Rome. Though Plutarch is focused on morality mass slaughter seems to be acceptable. The book is interesting both for historical reasons and for the perspective it shows on a different era. My only complaint was that Dryden's translation involves some amazingly long sentences and when he gets multiple characters going in the same narrative i I decided to read Plutarch to fill in a gap in my education. The most interesting about the book to me was how it dealt with two warrior cultures, Greece and Rome. Though Plutarch is focused on morality mass slaughter seems to be acceptable. The book is interesting both for historical reasons and for the perspective it shows on a different era. My only complaint was that Dryden's translation involves some amazingly long sentences and when he gets multiple characters going in the same narrative it is often hard to figure out just who is who. 'll start Volume 2 soon.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nolan

    Mr. Long skillfully bridges the gap between Plutarch and the modern reader. His translation is easy to read and understand. Plutarch compiles biographies on the lives of ancient heroes using sources that have been lost to time, affording us a unique view on these old stories. The Lives of Greek and Roman heroes are entertaining to read but Plutarch reveal that these heroes had flaws like everyone else. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    This was an absolutely amazing read as Plutarch takes a Grecian and Roman hero who lived similar lives or dealt with similar situations, presents the reader with their biography, and then compares the two subjects. This makes for absolutely fascinating and enriching reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Boweavil

    An early masterpiece of biography and historical analysis.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Roberts

    Only read about six chapters for my current syllabus, and they were hard. However, reading Livy later, I am remembering and understanding some of the key figures in context.

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