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Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2 (Plutarch's Lives #2)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  2,260 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Plutarch's Lives, written at the beginning of the second century A.D., is a brilliant social history of the ancient world by one of the greatest biographers and moralists of all time. In what is by far his most famous and influential work, Plutarch reveals the character and personality of his subjects and how they led ultimately to tragedy or victory. Richly anecdotal and ...more
ebook, 752 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Bantam (first published 100)
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در اين هنگام رومولوس، همچون تمام كسانى كه به قدرت نامحدود مى رسند، خلقش تغيير كرده، خودكامه و خودپسند شد. هر چند به ظاهر براى جلب رضايت مردم، دستور داد هر ساله نمايندگانى انتخاب كنند تا امور را سامان دهند، ولى اين افراد دخالتى در امور نداشتند و مجبور بودند بدون اظهار نظر دستورات شاه را گوش كنند.

پس از مدتى رومولوس به نحو غريبى ناپديد شد. همه حدس زدند كه سناتورها در نابودى اش دست داشته اند. گفته اند وقتى در معبد ولكان عبادت مى كرد ناگاه سناتورها بر سرش ريخته قطعه قطعه اش كردند و هر يك قطعه اى را د
I have chosen rather to epitomize the most celebrated parts of their story, than to insist at large on every particular circumstance of it. It must be borne in mind that my design is not to write histories, but lives. And the most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men; sometimes a matter of less moment, an expression or a jest, informs us better of their characters and inclinations, than the most famous sieges, the greatest armaments, o ...more
Robert Sheppard
Sep 23, 2013 Robert Sheppard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to
Feb 28, 2011 Scott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like a dry data dump of biographical information, because on the surface that is precisely what it is. People have compared Plutarch to Shakespeare and I cannot begin to fathom why this might be. Shakespeare's intent was to entertain while Plutarch's was more to deliver moral messages. Neither strictly intended to portray historical figures as accurately as possible.

The stories themselves do often have humor in them, but it's mostly lost in translation. Others have found this sam
Apr 23, 2012 Raja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antiquity
Volume 2 reads more like a dry account of certain lives with details that really streatched my patience. More space seems to have been dedicated to daily occurances rather than philosophical and moral commentary. The backdrop also seems to work against volume 2, with volume 1 set against the formative stages of Greco-Roman civilization, leaving for its sequel disappointment after disappointment forecasting the inevitable downfall of Rome. Few stars shined though, and made the experience of readi ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part two of Plutarch's amazing series. It's an utter shame this isn't required reading for every high school student. A whole semester could be spent delving into his magus opus. Everything I said about the first applies to the second volume. As the events occur closer to his own time, he has more historical facts to draw upon and include. As a result, there are more battles, more information about the political currents and rivals at the time.

Plutarch weaves a story about each man with skill. H
Aug 22, 2016 John marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2014 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plutarch sometimes pairs people due to what he perceives as their similarities, sometimes for their differences. It is difficult to find a cohesive method to his histories. There is, however, a certain charm lent to this work by the idea that Plutarch is perhaps exploring history along with the reader, going simply with what strikes him as interesting comparisons. Many of the people in this volume are ones I had heard of only vaguely, and a lack of clear chronology made things more confusing for ...more
Dec 28, 2010 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The second volume is not much different than the first. It plods along with a mixture of anecdote and military campaigns through lands long since renamed and against generals most of whom are familiar to only those with a Masters or above in Classical Studies. Footnotes and endnotes are nonexistent. You’ve been warned.

There are moments of familiarity for those who lack a full appreciation of ancient Greek and Roman politics. Sections on Alexander and Caesar are fascinating. Simply being aware of
Mar 23, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plutarch, of course, was one of the most influential authors of all time. His biographies of famous Greeks and Romans and his comparisons of their lives, were read with enthusiasm by classical scholars from the time they were written near the end of his life early in the second century A.D. He was likely the most important classical author read in Europe during the Middle Ages, and undoubtedly influenced Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as many other great literary figures. He was, to a large deg ...more
Tyler Windham
Dec 12, 2014 Tyler Windham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Plutarch's Lives, a sizable volume to be sure, is a near incomparable source of almost entirely unbiased biographical accounts of the great characters in the drama of antiquity--from Romulus to Alexander the Great to Julius Caesar--in detail to more than satiate the ravenous intellectual curiosity of any history buff. Ever the moralist, Plutarch uses his biographies almost as Aesop uses fables(though the stories Plutarch recounts are greatly more interesting) to identify and demonstrate a virtue ...more
Brent Jefferson
Sep 07, 2015 Brent Jefferson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly great individual stories of great men with their weakness and strengths laid out. Has inspired many great people for thousands of years. All together these small individuals laid much of the foundations for our civilization the way it is today.
Justin Covey
Jul 27, 2015 Justin Covey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The lives collected here markedly duller than those collected in Volume I. This is not the fault of the men whose stories are told, but simply due to the times they lived in. Volume I told of the rise of empires, from their mythical to semi-mythical foundings to the formative wars Greece and Rome fought against Persia and Carthage respectively. Those men lived in interesting times, as did the men in Volume III from a glance at its table of contents which seems to cover the revolutionary times of ...more
Plutarch does for biography what Herodotus does for history. He organizes it into a coherent narrative, blending specific examples of a person's known conduct with a wide variety of secondary information, some of which is obviously hearsay, all in an attempt to roughly nail down a series of individuals. The mini-biography format is actually pretty original and each one is easily digestable in an hour or two. He's obviously still very concerned with classical virtues and ideals, which do color th ...more
Read the lives of the Gracchii, Caesar, and Brutus for Political Regimes, fall 2015.
Jul 23, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plutarch's Lives is a great opportunity to learn more about Greek and Roman personalities, as well as some of the eccentricities of those eras. Plutarch was a major source for Shakespeare's Greek/Roman-based plays, and Lycurgus is very commonly cited/alluded as a wise lawgiver or for a utopian state (e.g., in Gulliver's Travels). The profiles can be tedious at times, but it's worthy reading. Volume 2 has more of the well known figures.
May 15, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I read the whole thing, that was called perseverance or stupidity. The history of a bunch of Roman and Grecian generals I have never heard of save for a few and wish to never hear of again. Not told in chronology I had to follow Wikipedia to figure out when events occurred. Repetitive as several lives overlapped and interacted. Plutarch is the father of the biography, I'm glad they've improved since.
I particularly enjoyed the lives of Caesar, Anthony, Pompey, and Brutus, as they gave multiple views on the events surrounding the Ides of March and beyond, though Plutarch definitely was not sympathetic to some of them. I could also see Shakespeare's plays more clearly--one member of my Great Conversation book group noted how he almost completely lifted his description of Cleopatra on her boat from Plutarch.
Jono Balliett
Sep 11, 2008 Jono Balliett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
plutarch writes biographies of historically relevant peoples in the ancient greek and later roman world. These bios are sketches based on what was known about them at the time. They turn out to be tales of heroism, folly, and fortune, virtue, vice and misfortune. I reread these volumes constantly. They are an indispensable part of my home library.
We owe much of our current understanding of the ancients - Caesar, Alexander, Antony, Cleopatra, Cicero, etc - to Plutarch, whose approach was not strict biography as we've come to expect, but a moralistic rendering of parallel lives of the Greek and Roman titans of their time. Fascinating.
Bernard Norcott-mahany
Plutarch's Lives are an amazing accomplishment, but they do get tedious after a while, and I have to say that the Dryden/Clough translation is not as straightforward as Plutarch's Greek is. If you are reading a translation, I'd recommend Bernadotte Perrin's in the Loeb Classic Series.
James Violand
Jul 03, 2014 James Violand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: own
In my opinion, the best book of the ancient world. Biographies of the greatest of the Greeks juxtaposed with the greatest of the Romans to teach that virtue is a noble pursuit. Very entertaining. One of my favorite books of all time.
Michael Fogleman
Read Caesar and Cato the Younger for Seminar. Would love to read more Plutarch (and re-read Lycurgus/Solon), especially Pompey, Alexander, Cicero, Antony, Marcus Brutus, Artaxerxes, Themistocles, Alcibiades, Pericles, etc.
Kathy Weitz
Re-read Demosthenes, Cicero, Caesar, and Alexander for Poetics & Progym, spring 2016
Re-read Demosthenes, Cicero, and Caesar for Humanities II, spring 2015
Jul 16, 2015 Dwight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If the life of Caesar is disappointing, read Antony, Brutus and other guys he hung out with/was stabbed by.
May 29, 2009 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2 (Modern Library Classics) by Plutarch (2001)
On trouve à la fin de ce second tome d'excellents index.
Sophie Cook
I'm in love with Alexander the Great.
Feb 27, 2008 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scholarly-works
Not bad, for a translation.
Eduardo Siebra
Jan 28, 2013 Eduardo Siebra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cansativo e recompensador.
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Plutarch, later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus; (AD 46 – AD 120) was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were written in Greek, but intended for both Greek and Roman readers.

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Other Books in the Series

Plutarch's Lives (2 books)
  • Plutarch's Lives, Vol 1

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“For there is no virtue, the honour and credit for which procures a man more odium than that of justice; and this, because more than any other, it acquires a man power and authority among the common people. For they only honour the valiant and admire the wise, while in addition they also love just men, and put entire trust and confidence in them. They fear the bold man, and mistrust the clever man, and moreover think them rather beholding to their natural complexion, than to any goodness of their will, for these excellences; they look upon valour as a certain natural strength of the mind, and wisdom as a constitutional acuteness; whereas a man has it in his power to be just, if he have but the will to be so, and therefore injustice is thought the most dishonourable, because it is least excusable.” 1 likes
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