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When the Greek historian PLUTARCH (c. 46 A.D. 120 A.D.) set out to tell the tales of the famous figures from Greek and Roman history, he was more concerned with illuminating their characters than enumerating their deeds, more interested in exploring their moral failings and triumphs than in listing their conquests. The result: Plutarch s Lives. Though Plutarch is known to have taken some liberties with his Lives his comparisons of certain Greek and Roman figures are often more fanciful than strictly accurate his words are, in many instances, the only sources of information that have survived for some personages. And in the aggregate, his radical approach to biography exerted a profound influence on the literature to come, particularly throughout the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Shakespeare lifted some passages verbatim from the Lives, and other writers inspired by Plutarch range from James Boswell to Alexander Hamilton to Cotton Mather. Ralph Waldo Emerson called the Lives a bible for heroes. Across the five volumes, Plutarch explores the stories of such notables as: Romulus Pericles Coriolanus Pyrrhus Lysander Pompey Alexander Caesar Cicero Antony and others. Cosimo is proud to present these handsome new editions, based on the classic 17th century translations by English poet and playwright JOHN DRYDEN (1631 1700), and revised and edited in the 19th century by Oxford scholar ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH (1819 1861).
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