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Plutarch's bust at Chaeronea, his home town.
|Born||c. AD 46
|Died||c. AD 120
|Occupation||Biographer, essayist, priest, ambassador, magistrate|
|Shakespeare: Metamorphosis - Plutarch’s “Lives” (1579), Senate House Library|
Plutarch (//; Greek: Πλούταρχος, Ploútarkhos, Koine Greek: [plǔːtarkʰos]; later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Λούκιος Μέστριος Πλούταρχος); c. AD 46 – AD 120) was a Greek biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were written in Greek, but intended for both Greek and Roman readers.
Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, which lies approximately eighty kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region known as Boeotia. His family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but it was probably Nikarchus (Nίκαρχoς), from the common habit of Greek families to repeat a name in alternate generations. The name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony.
His brothers, Timon and Lamprias, are frequently mentioned in his essays and dialogues, wherein Timon in particular is spoken of in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, Timoxena, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not give way to excessive grief at the death of their two-year-old daughter, who was named Timoxena after her mother. Interestingly, he hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation.
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