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Plutarch's Lives, Vol 2 (Βίοι Παράλληλοι #2)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,386 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Plutarch s Lives, written at the beginning of the second century A.D., is a social history of the ancient world by one of thegreatest biographers and moralists of all time. In what is by far hismost famous and influential work, Plutarch reveals the character andpersonality of his subjects and how they led ultimately to tragedy orvictory. Richly anecdotal and full of detail ...more
Paperback, 706 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 100)
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Dec 09, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2016
“To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days”
― Plutarch


Vol 2., includes the following micro-biographies and comparisons*:

Sertorius v. Eumenes
Agesilaus v. Pompey
Alexander & Cæsar &
Phocion & Cato the Younger
Agis & Cleomenes v.
Tiberius Gracchus & Caius Gracchus
Demosthenes v. Cicero
Demetrius v. Antony
Dion v. Marcus Brutus
Aratus & Artaxerxes
Galba & Otho

Probably the best summary/description of thi
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

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." is an apt admonition to
Feb 20, 2011 Scott rated it did not like it
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
Sep 28, 2009 Jeremy added it
Shelves: philosophy, politics
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
Apr 22, 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
Kelly Nielsen
Jan 02, 2017 Kelly Nielsen rated it really liked it
A few things that take away from this being 5 stars:
Since the collection of biographies is not told chronologically, but selected more thematically by things Plutarch saw in common among his subjects, there is no overall narrative. It makes it better to read each bio by itself, rather than reading the whole work from beginning to end, because when people's lives overlap, much of their bios overlap. So you end up reading many of the same quotes and events multiple times.
In my experience, the best
Nov 14, 2010 Matt rated it it was ok
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 23, 2013 Tyler Windham rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 09, 2014 Megan rated it liked it
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
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
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Justin Covey
Aug 18, 2014 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
Feb 09, 2010 Elena rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 15, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it
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.
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.
Jono Balliett
Sep 11, 2008 Jono Balliett rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 18, 2009 Barry added it
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.
James Violand
May 20, 2011 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.
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.
Brent Jefferson
Sep 07, 2015 Brent Jefferson rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Read the lives of the Gracchii, Caesar, and Brutus for Political Regimes, fall 2015.
Mary Johnson
Jan 07, 2011 Mary Johnson rated it really liked it
Ceasar and Cato
Eduardo Siebra
Jan 11, 2013 Eduardo Siebra rated it really liked it
Cansativo e recompensador.
Jun 28, 2007 Kenneth rated it really liked it
See review for Volume 1.
Dec 22, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing
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
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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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Βίοι Παράλληλοι (2 books)
  • Plutarch's Lives, Vol 1

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“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, or the bloodiest battles whatsoever. Therefore as portrait-painters are more exact in the lines and features of the face, in which the character is seen, than in the other parts of the body, so I must be allowed to give my more particular attention to the marks and indications of the souls of men, and while I endeavor by these to portray their lives, may be free to leave more weighty matters and great battles to be treated of by others.” 5 likes
“So inconsiderable a thing is fortune in respect of human nature, and so insufficient to give content to a covetous mind, that an empire of that mighty extent and sway could not satisfy the ambition of two men;” 3 likes
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