Plutarch on Sparta (Penguin Classics)

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9780140444636: Plutarch on Sparta (Penguin Classics)

Plutarch's vivid and engaging portraits of the Spartans and their customs are a major source of our knowledge about the rise and fall of this remarkable Greek city-state between the sixth and third centuries BC. Through his Lives of Sparta's leaders and his recording of memorable Spartan Sayings he depicts a people who lived frugally and mastered their emotions in all aspects of life, who also disposed of unhealthy babies in a deep chasm, introduced a gruelling regime of military training for boys, and treated their serfs brutally. Rich in anecdote and detail, Plutarch's writing brings to life the personalities and achievements of Sparta with unparalleled flair and humanity.

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About the Author:

Plutarch (c.50-c.120 AD) was a writer and thinker born into a wealthy, established family of Chaeronea in central Greece. He received the best possible education in rhetoric and philosophy, and traveled to Asia Minor and Egypt. Later, a series of visits to Rome and Italy contributed to his fame, which was given official recognition by the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Plutarch rendered conscientious service to his province and city (where he continued to live), as well as holding a priesthood at nearby Delphi. His voluminous surviving writings are broadly divided into the "moral"works and the Parallel Lives of outstanding Greek and Roman leaders. The former (Moralia) are a mixture of rhetorical and antiquarian pieces, together with technical and moral philosophy (sometimes in dialogue form). The Lives have been influential from the Renaissance onwards.

Richard Talbert was born in England in 1947. He was a scholar of The King’s School, Canterbury, and of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he gained a Double First Class Honors in Classics, followed by a doctorate which was the basis of his first book, Timoleon and the Revival of Greek Sicily. After his appointment in 1970 to teach ancient history at Queen’s University, Belfast, his research extended into Roman history and the production of his major work, The Senate of Imperial Rome, which won the Goodwin Award of Merit. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. After three years as Professor of History at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, in 1988 he moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor. He currently directs an international project to produce what will be the first major classical atlas since the last century.

Christopher Pelling  is professor of classics at Oxford University and a fellow of Christ Church.

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