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Makers of Rome: Nine Lives ( Coriolanus, Fabius Maximus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Sertorius, Brutus & Mark Antony)
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Makers of Rome: Nine Lives ( Coriolanus, Fabius Maximus, Marcellus, Cato the Elder, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Sertorius, Brutus & Mark Antony)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,739 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
These nine biographies 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. Selected from Plutarch's Roman Lives, they include prominent figures who achieved fame for their pivotal roles in Roman history, such as soldierly Marcellus, eloquent ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published October 30th 1984 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 100)
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J.G. Keely
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Gracchi brothers: Two of the most interesting characters of the mid to late Republic.

Sertorius: Interesting guy, should be as well known as Sulla and Marius, don't know if he is.

Brutus & Antony: They had the most riveting and probably the longest biographies. So much fun to read.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Plutarch selects nine figures from the earliest Republic to the Empire under Octavian. Plutarch's choice shows his perception on Roman virtues- perhaps best exemplified through the courage and leadership skills of Fabius and Sertorius. Moreover, Plutarch's admiration for the 'idea of Rome', the thought that as Rome grew, the individual perished, is seen throughout. The great men of Rome were borne by this idea, and this played an important part in Plutarch's choosing of the men. It should also b ...more
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
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
“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 Chick
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of biographies. I am impressed by Plutarch's ability to describe the best and worst of each man, in particular in regards to Cato and Fabius. His dislike for Antony comes through though, and that biography strikes me as too long. Yet even there he admits that Antony had some talents and high points. It is nice to see a man who does not veer between hagiography and a hatchet job, both of which are too common nowadays (as in the last 400 years).
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Compelling reading. One reviewer remarked on the difficulty of the writing. My translation by Scott-Kilvert was easy to read and follow.
The Romans valued military prowess and politics and both were in continuous flux. Not many leaders died of old age but were killed in war, died by their own hand, or were the victim of political assassination.
Read the section on Mark Antony and based on your response, continue or not with the other biographies.
This entire book is well worth reading.
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not being familiar with the works of Plutarch, I made the mistake of buying this abridged version rather than the complete Parallel Lives. This was the only problem I had with the book and I'm not sure I'm being fair by giving it just four stars. The extant 23 lives must make a large book and I suppose it wouldn't sell as well as a limited selection. [ Update: it seems the complete 'Lives' cannot be had for love or money, though there are larger, two-volume sets. ]

The translation is highly reada
Elliott Bignell
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am struck again and again how lively the writing of the ancients still seems today. This is another one of those occasions. The Romans are a fascinating bunch anyway, if not always easy to love, but this collection of nine of the Lives truly animates them and makes them seem to occupy the room with one.

Two of the Lives covered here have awoken in the English-speaking consciousness through their treatment by Shakespeare - not to mention by Richard Burton and Liz Taylor. Through "Julius Caesar"
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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.

More about Plutarch...