Alexander the Great - Notes





Plutarch was one of the last classical Greek historians. He was born around AD 46 at Chaeronea in Boetia, and died sometime after AD 120. He was a student in the School of Athens, became a philosopher, and wrote a large number of essays and dialogues on philosophical, scientific and literary subjects (the Moralia). We know that he traveled widely in Egypt and went to Rome. Plutarch wrote his historical works relatively late in life, and his Parallel Lives of eminent Greeks and Romans is probably his best known and most influential work. As he states, his intention in the Lives was to write biography, not history as such, and this is reflected in the choice of his sources. He drew upon a very wide range of authorities, of quite unequal value. He felt his task was more to create an inspiring portrait than to evaluate facts. At any rate, in the case of Alexander the Great, his achievements, his influence on the world, and his personal character were certainly awe-inspiring. That much was clearly perceived by Plutarch, and he did manage to communicate it in the chapter on Alexander.


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