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Lives of the Noble Greeks

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Here, Plutarch introduces the major figures and periods of classical Greece, detailing the lives of nine personages, including Lycurgus, Solon, Themistocles, Cimon, Alexander, Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades, and Agesilaus. Oxford presents the most comprehensive selection available, superbly translated and accompanied by a lucid introduction, explanatory notes, bibliographies ...more
Paperback, Oxford World’s Classics, 528 pages
Published February 4th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 100)
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3.93  · 
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 ·  268 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Erik Graff
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classical history fans
Recommended to Erik by: Latin teacher
Shelves: biography
Having had a very spotty education in foreign languages owing to several moves from one to another school district (German in 2nd grade, Spanish in 3rd-5th, French in 6th-8th), I went for something new in high school, viz. Latin.
It was in high school Latin that I discovered that my difficulties with learning a foreign language weren't entirely due to the misfortune of entering into the middle of language programs and never catching up owing to a lack of accomodation for tranfer students. No, I
Darius Jones
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read. It stands the test of time and is both great literature and great history. It probably wouldn't pass the test of modern historical analysis, but who cares? The stories are compelling, fresh and well-paced.

It's easy to see why Plutarch was such a big influence on Shakespeare. He brings out character's virtues and flaws equally well.

This version also comes with great footnotes to explain the nuances of ancient Greek culture and the translation is well done.

Highly recommended.
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hellenic
Although kind of dry reading, it is still very interesting. Being able to see the political aspects from so long ago certainly peaked my interest.
Hayley Shaver
This is a small selection of Noble Greeks, written by Plutarch. I liked it. The history was written concisely, admirably so, in a time when the men Plutarch was writing about already were surrounded by myth and differing tales about them. Plutarch represents different opinions and histories from differing authors when, talking about a man, he isn't sure what is true and what is not. That makes it easier to separate fact from fiction. This history is very easy to understand and read. It does have ...more
Daniel Bennett
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Plutarch's Lives are exciting and intriguing bits of personal history. Rather than focusing on large-scale combat, Plutarch focuses on the personal and professional lives of famous Greeks. Plutarch is useful for personal reading or for historical accounts of the Greek world. Every life is different, and provides a deeper view into the Greek mind. The reader's character can be shaped by the stories and the lessons which Plutarch provides. Well worth the read! I'll be keeping this on my shelf for ...more
Mario C
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Alcibiades and Alexander are the standouts. Prefer Roman lives though.
Charles Gonzalez
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Easily on of the best of the classics that I've read; perhaps it is the biographical approach, perhaps the authors writing style which is at times straightforward, opinionated and commonsensical. I really got to know each of the Greek characters in depth, especially Demosthenes and Lycurgus, whose personalities leapt from the pages. Plutarch's writing is an essential source for almost all writing about the period and leading characters of the time, and I found it startling at times to be reading ...more
Daniel L.
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Timeless, Classic Biographies by an Important Contemporary Made Accessible

Plutarch was the greatest of all Greek biographers; in fact, he could be considered the father of the biography, a genre that is more popular than ever. As an historian, Plutarch was very reliable, both by the standards of his time and those of today. Here, in a compact, easy to read translation, are the lives of ten prominent Greeks of the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods: Theseus, Lycurgus, Solon, Themistocles
Elizabeth S
Plutarch didn't write biographies of these great characters. His intent was to relate their noble and great deeds. I would have enjoyed it more if I had taken the time to learn the basic outline of each of the Lives before reading. I learned the most for the people that I already knew something about, like Alexander and Theseus. I struggled most with the ones that I couldn't connect with history I already knew.

Next time I would like to read a different edition that perhaps included some backgro
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book, might even be amazing. You learn a lot more than just dry history by reading Plutarch; he does a fantastic job of melding legends, storytelling, and reflection on whether or not these men led successful lives. I always feel smarter after reading Plutarch. Great read.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
No pizazz to the writing. The words didn't really jump off the page.
It just read like a boring history book. Lots of rambling on too. There were multiple paragraphs that were between one and two whole pages.
It just didn't do a good job keeping me interested.
Plutarch's work is about the vice and virtue of some of the seminal figures in Greek history. Although the prose and style makes some parts a difficult read, it is well worth the time to derive lessons that remain valuable today - such candor, greed, trust, and such...
Stacy Parrish
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: English teachers
Shelves: oldfavorites
This is a must read...It is the starting point of understanding any piece of literature (at least I think so).
Jeff Wills
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Of all the ancient authors Plutarch is the one who gives the best education.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Read Lycurgus and Solon sections
Bryan Batson
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Half of a comparitive biography series on the Ancient Greek and Roman leaders tries to show that certain leadership traits and styles in politicians tend to remain consistent over time.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
First 3 lives.
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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.

“But the Lacedaemonians, who make it their first principle of action to serve their country's interest, know not any thing to be just or unjust by any measure but that.” 7 likes
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