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Makers of Rome: Nine Lives

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,061 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Presents nine biographies that illuminate the careers, personalities and military campaigns of some of Rome's greatest statesmen, whose lives span the earliest days of the Republic to the establishment of the Empire. This title includes prominent figures who achieved fame for their pivotal roles in Roman history.
Paperback, 366 pages
Published October 30th 1984 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published January 1st 1965)
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A delightful, colorful, and personal history of the politics of Rome. Clearly, Plutarch was an adherent of the Great Man Theory, and he was lucky to have plenty of them to choose from.

Plutarch's history is anecdotal, collecting all the common stories about the men who defined Rome (and Greece, in other volumes). It is an unusual way to write a history, or an autobiography, but it has the benefit of telling us a great deal about the empire, its people, and their stories, even if the biographical
Mathew Walls
These Romans are crazy.

Despite knowing very little about the Roman republic before reading this book I found it very easy to understand roughly the various positions and terms, and it's all very easy to read and both interesting and entertaining. It's pretty clear that Plutarch didn't let facts get in the way of a good story (especially in the case of Mark Antony) but there are plenty of footnotes throughout the book and an appendix specifically related to the historical facts of the life of Mar
When all the wealth of the Antigonid dynasty fell into Roman hands during the mid 2nd century, there was a lot of corruption. The Gracchi brothers meant to set that straight - introducing a land bill that would make Ted Turner cringe, Tiberius Gracchus represented what the republic could've been. Along with his brother, Gaius, these two champions of the people were brutally murdered, setting the stage for the incredibly dramatic and disgusting power politics of the first century. Instead of a pe ...more
Masen Production
“I believe that lucky are those who get to dwell on thoughts and instances that have been left behind by Plutarch. There are many flaws in his renditions and when narrating the Mark Anthony & Cleopatra chapter one can see and feel his animosity to them through words and characterization that is alien to his other characters. Once again he has taken us into the souls of the Romans who were resolute in their beliefs and stood up what they perceived was needed of them. Finally losing the perspe ...more
Sean Mooney
Broken into short stories of various leaders from the Roman Republic Plutarch examines individual Romans who had a profound effect upon the history of the Republic. All of the tales are wonderfully romantic and have been the basis of a wealth of literature and prose since they were written. If you read nothing else from this collection you must read the chapters on the Gracchi, Gauius and Tiberius. Their story incites such passion in me as it recounts the eternal battle between the masses and th ...more
I had to read brutus' life for English and could barely understand it... and I'm simply not particularly interested in this topic- I just felt like I needed to justify myself in giving it 1 star
What a good idea by the editors of Penguin Classics to move away from Plutarch's pairing of Greek and Roman statesmen by virtues (a sometimes questionable process) and move toward grouping the Lives by theme. This book is a good companion to the Fall of the Roman Republic and contains some of Plutarch's most arresting portraits, including my favourite, the life of Mark Antony. A great read if you are interested in old school portraits of morality, sources of inspiration for Shakespeare or Roman ...more
Apr 07, 2014 Jax added it
Dunno if it was Plutarch or the translator but the writing style is atrocious. The footnotes by the editor explaining the parts where Plutarch had his info wrong makes me wonder if i can trust anything he wrote.

anyway, I only read it for one chapter and a person who had taken the book out from the library at some point before me and gone through and underlined about 90% of the chapter.


Matthew Colvin
There is no more delightful retailer of anecdotes than Plutarch. Many memorable phrases and quotations found their way into my file of commonplaces for future reference. It's also nice to have the history of Rome in one's head: many of the greatest political writers and thinkers have had Plutarch as the foundation of their political thought.
Good for academics and those seeking a new understanding of Rome. it is better to read the Greek and roman lives next to each other but not necessary.
Jul 02, 2007 Joshua rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves history
A classic, must read for anyone interested in the history of Rome. Learn life lessons from some of the great figures of Roman history.
Love Plutarch. You can see where Shakespeare gets so much of his material.
The continuation of the end of the Roman Republic - the seedy side of Rome
The part about Cleopatra is fun. Other than that, don't bother.
Very Good. Like Plutarch's style.
Given how little we have how do I rate the ancient sources other than "must read?"
Douglas Wilson
Quite good.
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  • Rome and Italy: Books VI-X of the History of Rome from its Foundation
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  • The Jugurthine War and The Conspiracy of Catiline
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  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • Selected Political Speeches
  • From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68
  • The Civil War
  • The Campaigns of Alexander
  • The Jewish War
  • A History of My Times
  • The Secret History
  • The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume III
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
More about Plutarch...
Plutarch's Lives, Volume 1 The Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2 The Age of Alexander: Nine Greek Lives The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives

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