Profile: Plutarch was a Greek Middle Platonist biographer, essayist, ambassador, philosopher, magistrate and priest. He was born in a small town Chaeronea, Boeotia in an affluent family and died in Delphi, Phocis. He has been the pioneer of Middle Platonism, the Hellenistic literature literary movement. He was a priest at the Temple of Apollo where he interpreted the Pythian predictions. Plutarch is essentially known for a series of biographies, called Parallel Lives of illustrious Romans and Greeks and Moralia a collection of speeches and essays. He was given the name Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after he became a Roman citizen. Timoxena, was his wife’s name which was recovered by Rualdus, in his work Life of Plutarchus, in the year 1624. Plutarch studied philosophy and mathematics in Athens under Ammonius from AD 66 to 67. It is believed that he was a vegetarian and wrote about the ethics of not eating meat in two discourses in Moralia.
For major part of his life, Plutarch lived in Chaeronea and was initiated into the Greek God Apollo’s mysteries. He lived most of his life at Chaeronea and got indulged into the mysteries of Apollo.
Writing style: Plutarch’s subject area was biography and various other topics. Plutarch was a Platonist however was open to the Peripatetics influence and also to Stoicism to some extent. He was keen on religious and moral questions. His writings had great influence on French and English literature.
Plutarch’s surviving works were meant for not just Greets but for Greek speakers all through the Roman Empire
Spartan lives and sayings
On the Malice of Herodotus
Lives of the Roman Emperors from Augustus to Vitellius
Lives of Tiberious and Nero
Parallel Lives (series of biographies of illustrious Romans and Greeks)
Life of Alexander
Life of Caesar, XVI
Life of Pyrrhus
Dialogue on Love
Awards and Acknowledgements:
Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire by his lectures and writings yet he participated actively in local affairs and also served as a mayor. Guests from all over the Roman Empire congregated at his country estate, conversed seriously with Plutarch sitting on his marble chair and presiding over the gathering. A number of these dialogues were recorded and published with the 78 works essays and other works now known as Moralia.