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Plutarch of Chaeronea





Plutarch Basics | Plutarch Profile

Who Was Plutarch?:

He is known for writing biographies of famous ancient people Since he lived in the first and second centuries A.D. he had access to material that is no longer available to us which he used to write his biographies. His material is easy to read in translation from the Greek. Shakespeare closely used Plutarch's Life of Anthony for his tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra.

Plutarch (c. A.D. 45-125):

Plutarch traveled throughout Rome and the Mediterranean, but lived in Boeotia, in the town of Chaeronea, where he was born.

Family and Life of Plutarch:

Plutarch's father, a wealthy man, was Aristobulus, also a biographer. Plutarch studied philosophy, rhetoric and mathematics at the Academy in Athens. He was a student of the philosopher Ammonius. Plutarch traveled to Rome where he lectured on philosophy. In his hometown of Chaeronea he was a chief magistrate and director of a philosophical school. From about 95 he was a priest of Delphi.


Plutarch wrote and lectured. Seventy-eight of his pieces are preserved in the "Moralia," but his most famous work is the "Parallel Lives," which compares Greek and Roman statesmen. This work gained the attention of the Emperor Trajan. Even though Plutarch lived hundreds of years after many of his subjects, his information is our best source for many historical figures. This biographical project, he believed, helped him improve morally.


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