Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans - Volume 1

 
9781775420637: Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans - Volume 1

Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans by Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (as translated by Bernadotte Perrin)

Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Roman, by Plutarch, is a series of biographies of famous Greek and Roman men and is also commonly referred to as simply Parallel Lives or Plutarch's Lives. Plutarch carefully orchestrated his biographies so that the life of a famous Roman would precede the life of a famous Greek. Plutarch wrote 26 of these biographical pairs plus four unpaired biographies. After two paired biographies, Plutarch included an in depth comparison of the two lives. Complete sets of Parallel Lives usually come in more than one volume.

Parallel Lives, like Homer's The Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid, is a bastion of classical literature. Over the years, every classically educated person knew of the stories and historical information contained in Plutarch's biographies. Though the accuracy in the lives has been debated, Plutarch has shaped our perception of the Roman-Greco world from the Bronze Age to the reign of Alexander the Great to the era of Republican Rome.

Plutarch was a Roman citizen, a Platonic philosopher, scholar, and a brilliant writer. He set out not to write biographies, but to write each life as a character study, examining how each man's individual moral fiber affected the way their life played out. Just a few of the famous lives examined include: Theseus, Pericles, Demosthenes, Romulus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Cicero. Plutarch also provides one of only five sources that detailed the life of Alexander the Great.

Scholars believe that many of Plutarch's lives have been lost over the years. Ancient notes refer to biographies of the lives of famous men such as Nero and Augustus.

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