Read The Makers of Rome: Nine Lives by Plutarch Free Online
Book Title: The Makers of Rome: Nine Lives|
The author of the book: Plutarch
Edition: Penguin Classic
Date of issue: October 30th 1965
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
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Reader ratings: 4.5
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 977 KB
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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 elements must be taken with a grain of salt.
Plutarch is not as plainly partisan as Sallust, but neither does he achieve the cold detachment of Caesar (whether it was true humility or masterful construction is another debate). Plutarch intends his biographies as odes to the many virtues of man, and instructional book on how to live well, with the implicit assumption that famed, successful men always live well.
This is the main drawback of Plutarch's style: the acceptance of grand, virtuous stories about men, who like all of us, were in the end, only human. He does sometimes include more minute and humorous details, which always help to pleasantly round out his portraits.
Reading these roughly in order, and in comparison with other views from the time (when they exist) is very profitable, and Plutarch gives us a lot of stories that we wouldn't have if not for him. It is a benefit to have them at all, but it is unfortunate that we cannot confirm or compare many of them.
Indeed, the lives of some of these men and the details of their periods are known only by reference to Plutarch, and perhaps some fragments here and there. The collection is vital if one wants any real comprehension of Rome, but it also reminds us just how little of their history survived to reach us.
I'll have to finish the extant Roman lives, and the Greek ones as well. They are certainly worthwhile for any classicist.
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Read information about the authorPlutarch, 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.
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