Plutarch's Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans

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Press: Nabu Press (September 10, 2011)
Author Name:Plutarch; North, Thomas; Wyndham, George


This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. 
This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc.
that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.
We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.


History,Ancient Civilizations,Greece,Europe,World

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Plutarch's Lives of prominent Greeks and Romans remain a source of delight, scandal and Shakespeare's histories. Their importance is undoubted, but their charm is often unknown: the image of Alexander the Great's mother performing exotic dances with snakes lingers tauntingly.Thomas North's translation is rough but vibrant. His prose is raw Elizabethan, easy and immediate on the ear. Shakespeare lifted whole passages for his histories, even plots. Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Caesar - all echo North's words.On a higher level, mark Plutarch's pairing of figures from the Greek and Roman worlds.
  •     We are studying Plutarch through Ambleside Online for homeschooling. I did not realize that this is only ONE volume of several. The volume itself is the original North's language, but it is not the complete Plutarch volumes, which is what I was needing.
  •     For generations, this was the primary textbook regarding the Greek andRoman world. It formed the historical source for many ofShakespeare's finest plays as well as setting the pattern for all ofthe biographical arts. This book also provided the inspiration formany of the ideas of American political personages as can be seen inthe speeches and quotations of Samuel Adams, Peyton Randolph, PatrickHenry, Samuel Davies, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Henry Lee,John Jay, George Mason and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, during theFounding era of the United States, Plutarch's Lives of Noble Greciansand Romans was the most frequently referenced work and was second onlyto the Christian Bible. This alone makes this book one of the mostvital and essential of all the classics.Plutarch's Lives of NobleGrecians and Romans was written sometime during the tumultuous days ofthe second century. It is organized as a series of parallelbiographies and alternates between famous Greeks and Romans. Acharacter from the Golden Age such as Pericles, Alcibiades, Lycurgus,Alexander or Solon is compared with one from the Splendorous Age suchas Cicero, Brutus, Cato, Antony or Caesar. Plutarch's objective wasdidactic; his Lives abound with honor, valor, temperance, duty andwisdom, an ode to morality in an essentially pagan culture.Theprofiles presented, however, are notorious for their mix of fact andfiction, history and myth, truth and downright gossip. Plutarch, alover of tradition, above all else, wanted to both memorialize pastglories and to reassert them as living ideals. What mattered toPlutarch was the impact on the consciousness of culture through thelessons presented, not whether they actually occurred.Regarding hisprofile of Croseus, Plutarch writes, "When a story is socelebrated and is vouched for by so many authorities, I cannot agreethat it should be rejected because of the so-called rules ofchronology." In his biography of Theseus he wrote, "May Itherefore succeed in purifying fable, making her submit to reason andtake on the semblance of history. But where she obstinately disdainsto make herself credible and refuses to admit any element ofprobability I shall pray for kindly readers and such as receive withindulgence the tales of antiquity."Plutarch is truly thefather of modern-day Political Science, and he forged the cardinalmodel for Sociology, Psychology, History and the Social Sciences.These disciplines owe more to Plutarch than to any other singleartisan, if not in actual substance, then in form.It is too badthis seminal work has passed out of fashion in traditional education.Although anthologies and selected portions of this book do exist,these anthologies only serve to corrupt the comparative structure ofthe original work.Hopefully, it will not be long until The Lives ofNoble Grecians and Romans makes it way back into the classroom ofevery serious student in the Western world.

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