'Wisdom and justice must be accompanied by power and good fortune if a man's actions are to be seen as noble as well as great'.
Plutarch's parallel biographies of the great men in Greek and Roman history are cornerstones of European Literature, drawn on by writers and statesmen since the Renaissance, most notably by Shakespeare. This selection provides intimate glimpses into the lives of these men, depicting, as he put it, 'those actions which illuminate the workings of the soul'. We learn why the mild Artaxerxes forced the killer of his usurping brother to undergo the horrific 'death of two boats'; why the noble Dion repeatedly risked his life for the ungrateful mobs of Syracuse; why Demosthenes delivered a funeral oration for the soldiers he had deserted in battle; and why Alexander, the most enigmatic of tyrants, self-destructed after conquering half the world.
Timothy Duff's new edition of Ian Scott-Kilvert's translation includes a general introduction and new introductions and biographical additions to each Life. He has also added two Lives previously not included, of Artaxerxes (450 - 359 BC), the Great King of Persia, and Eumenes (361 - 316 BC), one of Alexander's gifted generals.
About The Author
PLUTARCH (c. AD 45-120), the Greek philosopher, lived at the height of the Roman Empire and is author of one of the largest and collections of writings to have survived from Classical antiquity. His work is traditionally divided into two: the Moralia, which include a vast range of philosophical, scientific, moral and rhetorical works, and the Lives or biographies. Almost fifty such biographies survive, most from his collection of Parallel Lives, in which biographies of Greek and Roman statesmen are arranged in pairs. IAN SCOTT-KILVERT was Director of English Literature at the British Council and Editor of Writers and the Works. He also translated Cassius Dio's The Roman History as well as Plutarch's The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives and Makers of Rome for Penguin Classics. He died in 1989. TIMOTHY E. DUFF is Reader in Classics at the University of Reading. He is author of Plutarch's Lives: Exploring Virtue and Vice (Oxford 1999), and the Greek and Roman Historians (Duckworth 2003) and has published extensively on Plutarch.
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
For Grades: 10+
Number Of Pages: 672
Published: 16th April 2012
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.46