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Roman Lives: A Selection of Eight Roman Lives: A Selection of Eight Lives (Oxford World's Classics) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 595 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Marcus Cato Sulla
Aemilius Paullus Pompey
The Gracchi Marius
Julius Caesar Anthony

'I treat the narrative of the Lives as a kind of mirror...The experience is like nothing so much as spending time in their company and living with them: I receive and welcome each of them in turn as my guest.'

In the eight lives of this collection Plutarch introduces the reader to the major figures and periods of classical Rome. He portrays virtues to be emulated and vices to be avoided, but his purpose is also implicitly to educate and warn those in his own day who wielded power. In prose that is rich, elegant and sprinkled with learned references, he explores with an extraordinary degree of insight the interplay of character and political action. While drawing chiefly on historical sources, he
brings to biography a natural story-teller's ear for a good anecdote. Throughout the ages Plutarch's Lives have been valued for their historical value and their charm. This new translation will introduce new generations to his urbane erudition. The most comprehensive selection available, it is
accompanied by a lucid introduction, explanatory notes, bibliographies, maps and indexes.

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Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5755 KB
  • Print Length: 595 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (July 10 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005WSNK8E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #317,032 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
This fine, well-edited translation would be THE translation to get for Plutarch's best Roman lives ... IF they had included the Life of Cicero. (Soldiers outweigh orators in the Oxford hierarchy.) As it is, the Penguin "Fall of the Roman Republic" anthology remains useful.
That said, Oxford has been kicking Penguin tail with its scholarly, up-to-date translations of classical texts. Penguin has been sprucing up its backlist some, but I always look for an Oxford first, if there is one.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent translation of a timeless classic. The notes are well done and thorough and the introduction is very helpful whether you are a scholarly type or an interested lay reader. The only qualm I have is that it was often hard to know when the action of each life took place. This is a minor glich, however, and does not hinder from the overall enjoyment of the work. The lives are biography, history, psychology, comedy, tragedy and farce all in one. Plutarch's narrative is brisk and never dull; he mixes anecdotes and interpretation deftly, but never forces the reader one way or the other. He is a masterful essayist and biographer and these works can be read repeatedly with enjoyment each time. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa31217a4) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2e16bd0) out of 5 stars Good but not definitive anthology March 27 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This fine, well-edited translation would be THE translation to get for Plutarch's best Roman lives ... IF they had included the Life of Cicero. (Soldiers outweigh orators in the Oxford hierarchy.) As it is, the Penguin "Fall of the Roman Republic" anthology remains useful.
That said, Oxford has been kicking Penguin tail with its scholarly, up-to-date translations of classical texts. Penguin has been sprucing up its backlist some, but I always look for an Oxford first, if there is one.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa32b6984) out of 5 stars please read this book May 10 2000
By michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent translation of a timeless classic. The notes are well done and thorough and the introduction is very helpful whether you are a scholarly type or an interested lay reader. The only qualm I have is that it was often hard to know when the action of each life took place. This is a minor glich, however, and does not hinder from the overall enjoyment of the work. The lives are biography, history, psychology, comedy, tragedy and farce all in one. Plutarch's narrative is brisk and never dull; he mixes anecdotes and interpretation deftly, but never forces the reader one way or the other. He is a masterful essayist and biographer and these works can be read repeatedly with enjoyment each time. Highly recommended.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa35977f8) out of 5 stars Biography, not history June 11 2009
By reader 451 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I hate Plutarch, if only because he is indispensable. His numerous Lives are all that is left of large sections of Greek and Roman history, or are essential corroboration for other, scarce sources.

To modern readers, Plutarch can easily sound annoying. His portraits are invariably red-cheeked and gleaming-eyed. Vice and virtue are his main measures of men (and the few women). `These two young men were remarkably similar in terms of their courage and self-restraint - and also their generosity, eloquence, and high principles,' he begins on the Gracchi. `The younger Marius revealed the extent of his savagery and brutality in the continued slaughter of the best and most distinguished men of Rome,' is how he concludes on Marius. Politics are first and foremost personal, and portents and dreams are invariably full of meaning. Yet this is excellent, colourful, and entertaining biography. The characters jump out of the page. The times are evoked magnificently. Some people like to see in Plutarch timeless lessons on human psychology and behaviour; without going so far, his Lives certainly provide unmatched insights into the thoughts and beliefs of the ancients.

As to history, one needs to be aware how this came to us. In antiquity, works were copied in schools, especially of rhetoric. Thus what ensured they were reproduced in large numbers, and had a chance of survival in the ensuing Dark Age, was style, not content. Likewise, medieval copyists, all monks, were interested in the moral lessons of the works they preserved. (There are exceptions to this: invaluable papyri were found intact in the Egyptian desert; but these are rare.) Plutarch passed both the stylistic and moral tests. But he lacks the structure of a Thucydides or a Polybius. His works are not graspable without context - a context which the introductions contained in this edition don't quite supply, even if they help. So the history enthusiast needs to be warned: this is great biography, but to the historian it is only supplementary, if essential, material.

This edition contains only eight of Plutarch's Roman Lives: Cato the Elder, Aemilius Paullus, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar. A number of the less prominent characters treated by Plutarch need to be looked for in other editions (Numa, Cato the Younger, Marcellus, Crassus, Galba...).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3260870) out of 5 stars A First Rate Introduction Dec 20 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For someone like myself who had not read Plutarch's lives and who was not as familiar with Roman history as perhaps I should be, this edition was a wonderful introduction. The translation is clear and dramatic of Plutach's biographies and personality studies (along with the times and political controversies) that resulting in the fall of the Repulbic and the establishment of the Empire. But, and there is a but, these biographies are only the most familiar selection of Plutarch's Roman biographies and the choice has been made by the translator-editor. I like to read in completeness, and for that reason this edition is a four star, and is sending me back to Plutarch in another edition to read those biographies that the editors choose not to include.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2e24b1c) out of 5 stars Wonderfully Up to Date Version of a Classic April 21 2013
By D. Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very easy to read translation of Plutarch's classic work. Nice cover. Clear printing. Well bound. If you haven't read these short works on the Greeks and Romans, you should. There is much to learn from their triumphs and their failures. For future leaders, scholars and politicians, much can be learned from those who came before. Recommended. (As well as, Greek Lives)