Plutarch (46?–120? A.D.), a Greek biographer and essayist. In Parallel Lives he pairs 23 famous Greeks with 23 Romans for comparison. For example, Alexander the Great is compared and contrasted with Julius Caesar. There are 50 lives considered, four being unpaired. Plutarch's aim was to examine the ethics and characters of great statesmen and soldiers. His work is not an historical analysis of events but is noted for its anecdotes revealing emotions and its portrayal of the people and times. The work was a source of information for later authors; Shakespeare, for example, borrowed from it extensively for his plays Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.
Moralia (Morals) consists of about 80 essays on various subjects, with a special emphasis on ethics. Some of these may be the work of other writers.
Plutarch was born in Chaeronea, Boeotia. After studying philosophy in Athens, he traveled in Italy and Egypt. He may have taught philosophy in Rome. Some of his writings appear to be based on lectures he gave there and elsewhere.