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Whether he is offering abstract speculations or practical ethics, reflections on the benefits of military versus intellectual glory, or the reasoning powers of animals, Plutarch's encyclopedic writings form a treasure trove of ancient wisdom.
Selections from one of the greatest essayists of the Graeco-Roman world
Plutarch used an encyclopedic knowledge of the Roman Empire to produce a compelling and individual voice. In this superb selection from his writings, he offers personal insights into moral subjects that include the virtue of listening, the danger of flattery and the avoidance of anger, alongside more speculative essays on themes as diverse as God's slowness to punish man, the use of reason by supposedly "irrational" animals and the death of his own daughter. Brilliantly informed, these essays offer a treasure-trove of ancient wisdom, myth and philosophy, and a powerful insight into a deeply intelligent man.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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.