Plutarch's Lives

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by Plutarch

Plutarch (ca. 45–120)[1] was a biographer, philosopher, and ethicist. He was born in Greece into a Greek family, yet the government and culture of his upbringing were dominated by Rome, and he would eventually become a Roman citizen, taking the name “Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus.” He spent the majority of his life in Chaeronea, Athens, Delphi, and Rome.[2]

Plutarch’s most famous and influential work is his Lives (often called Parallel Lives or Plutarch’s Lives). The work is more than just historical, as it seeks to compare the parallel lives of famous Greeks and Romans and thereby synthesize a greater philosophy or wisdom about life.[3] The text has been a definitive source of biography in antiquity and was read widely in colonial America.[4]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Plutarch; translated with notes historical and critical from M. Dacier.

Title: Plutarch's Lives.

Published: London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1727.


Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in later 3/4 tan calf with marbled boards, black leather spine labels and blind stamping. Contains many fine copper plate engravings. Purchased from Argosy Book Store.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.


  1. George Karamanolis, “Plutarch” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed October 1, 2013,
  2. Robert Lamberton, Plutarch (New Haven: Yale University Press 2001), 1–6.
  3. Plutarch, Plutarch’s Lives, trans. Aubrey Stewart and George Long (London: Bell & Sons 1894), accessed October 1, 2013,
  4. Louis B. Wright, “Thomas Jefferson and the Classics,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 87, no. 3 (1943): 222–223.