Nine of Plutarch's Roman Lives--Coriolanus, Fabius Maximus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Tiberius Bracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Sertorius, Brutus, and Mark Antony--illustrate the courage and tenacity of the Romans in war and their genius for political compromise, from the earliest years of the Republic to the establishment of the Empire.
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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