Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2
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Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,697 ratings  ·  22 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
Published November 2nd 2011 by Bantam (first published 100)
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Robert Sheppard

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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)
Sophie Cook
I'm in love with Alexander the Great.
Not bad, for a translation.
Eduardo Siebra
Cansativo e recompensador.
See review for Volume 1.
Jake marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2014
Bernie Gourley
Bernie Gourley marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
Marina marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
Lorraine Matthews
Lorraine Matthews marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2014
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Plutarch (Greek: Πλούταρχος) later named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Λούκιος Μέστριος Πλούταρχος) c. AD 46 - 120, was a Greek biographer, essayist, priest, ambassador, magistrate, and Middle Platonist. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in Chaeronea, Boeotia, a town about twenty miles east of Delphi. His oeuvre consists of the Parallel Lives and the Mo...more
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Plutarch's Lives, Volume 1 The Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives Makers of Rome: Nine Lives The Age of Alexander: Nine Greek Lives The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives

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