Plutarch's parallel biographies of the great men in Greek and Roman history are cornerstones of European literature, drawn on by writers and statesmen since the Renaissance, most notably by Shakespeare. This selection provides intimate glimpses into the lives of these men, depicting, as he put it, 'those actions which illuminate the workings of the soul'. We learn why the mild Artaxerxes forced the killer of his usurping brother to undergo the horrific 'death of two boats'; why the noble Dion repeatedly risked his life for the ungrateful mobs of Syracuse; why Demosthenes delivered a funeral oration for the soldiers he had deserted in battle; and why Alexander, the most enigmatic of tyrants, self-destructed after conquering half the world.
Bringing together nine biographies from Plutarch's Parallel Lives series, this edition examines the lives of major figures in Roman history, from Lucullus (118-57 BC), an aristocratic politician and conqueror of Eastern kingdoms, to Otho (32-69 AD), a reckless young noble who consorted with the tyrannical, debauched emperor Nero before briefly becoming a dignified and gracious emperor himself. Ian Scott-Kilvert's and Christopher Pelling's translations are accompanied by a new introduction, and also includes a separate introduction for each biography, comparative essays of the major figures, suggested further reading, notes and maps.
Until recently, popular biographers and most scholars viewed Alexander the Great as a genius with a plan, a romantic figure pursuing his vision of a united world. His dream was at times characterized as a benevolent interest in the brotherhood of man, sometimes as a brute interest in the exercise of power. Green, a Cambridge-trained classicist who is also a novelist, portrays Alexander as both a complex personality and a single-minded general, a man capable of such diverse expediencies as patricide or the massacre of civilians. Green describes his Alexander as "not only the most brilliant (and ambitious) field commander in history, but also supremely indifferent to all those administrative excellences and idealistic yearnings foisted upon him by later generations, especially those who found the conqueror, tout court, a little hard upon their liberal sensibilities." This biography begins not with one of the universally known incidents of Alexander's life, but with an account of his father, Philip of Macedonia, whose many-territoried empire was the first on the continent of Europe to have an effectively centralized government and military. What Philip and Macedonia had to offer, Alexander made his own, but Philip and Macedonia also made Alexander form an important context for understanding Alexander himself. Yet his origins and training do not fully explain the man. After he was named hegemon of the Hellenic League, many philosophers came to congratulate Alexander, but one was conspicuous by his absence: Diogenes the Cynic, an ascetic who lived in a clay tub. Piqued and curious, Alexander himself visited the philosopher, who, when asked if there was anything Alexander could do for him, made the famous reply, "Don't stand between me and the sun." Alexander's courtiers jeered, but Alexander silenced them: "If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." This remark was as unexpected in Alexander as it would be in a modern leader. For the general reader, the book, redolent with gritty details and fully aware of Alexander's darker side, offers a gripping tale of Alexander's career. Full backnotes, fourteen maps, and chronological and genealogical tables serve readers with more specialized interests.
Mystery surrounds the parentage of Alexander, the prince born to Queen Olympias. Is his father Philip, King of Macedonia, or Nectanebo, the mysterious sorcerer who seduced the queen by trickery? One thing is certain: the boy is destined to conquer the known world. He grows up to fulfil this prophecy, building a mighty empire that spans from Greece and Italy to Africa and Asia. Begun soon after the real Alexander’s death and expanded in the centuries that followed, The Greek Alexander Myth depicts the life and adventures of one of history’s greatest heroes - taming the horse Bucephalus, meeting the Amazons and his quest to defeat the King of Persia. Including such elements of fantasy as Alexander’s ascent to heaven borne by eagles, this literary masterpiece brilliantly evokes a lost age of heroism.
In 336 b.c. Philip of Macedonia was assassinated and his twenty-year-old son, Alexander, inherited his kingdom. Immediately quelling rebellion, Alexander extended his father’s empire through-out the Middle East and into parts of Asia, fulﬁlling the soothsayer Aristander’s prediction that the new king “should perform acts so important and glorious as would make the poets and musicians of future ages labour and sweat to describe and celebrate him.” The Life of Alexander the Great is one of the ﬁrst surviving attempts to memorialize the achievements of this legendary king, remembered today as the greatest military genius of all time. This exclusive Modern Library edition, excerpted from Plutarch’s Lives, is a riveting tale of honor, power, scandal, and bravery written by the most eminent biographer of the ancient world.
The Greek statesman Polybius (c.200–118 BC) wrote his account of the relentless growth of the Roman Empire in order to help his fellow countrymen understand how their world came to be dominated by Rome. Opening with the Punic War in 264 BC, he vividly records the critical stages of Roman expansion: its campaigns throughout the Mediterranean, the temporary setbacks inflicted by Hannibal and the final destruction of Carthage. An active participant of the politics of his time as well as a friend of many prominent Roman citizens, Polybius drew on many eyewitness accounts in writing this cornerstone work of history.
Tough, resolute, fearless, Alexander was a born warrior and ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 BC aged thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled - he had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. The myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world. Robin Lane Fox's superb account searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, it brings this colossal figure vividly to life.
These nine biographies illuminate the careers, personalities and military campaigns of some of Rome's greatest statesmen, whose lives span the earliest days of the Republic to the establishment of the Empire. Selected from Plutarch's Roman Lives, they include prominent figures who achieved fame for their pivotal roles in Roman history, such as soldierly Marcellus, eloquent Cato and cautious Fabius. Here too are vivid portraits of ambitious, hot-tempered Coriolanus; objective, principled Brutus and open-hearted Mark Anthony, who would later be brought to life by Shakespeare. In recounting the lives of these great leaders, Plutarch also explores the problems of statecraft and power and illustrates the Roman people's genius for political compromise, which led to their mastery of the ancient world.
A History of the Hellenistic World provides an engaging look at the Macedonian monarchies in the period following the reign of Alexander the Great, and examines their impact on the Greek world. Offers a clearly organized narrative with particular emphasis on state and governmental structures Makes extensive use of inscriptions in translation to illustrate the continuing vitality of the Greek city states prior to the Roman conquest Emphasizes the specific Macedonian origins of all active participants in the creation of the Hellenistic world Highlights the relationships between Greek city-states and Macedonian monarchies
Through his Lives of Sparta's leaders and his recording of memorable Spartan Sayings, Plutarch depicts a people who lived frugally and mastered their emotions in all aspects of life, who disposed of unhealthy babies in a deep chasm, introduced a gruelling regimen of military training for boys, and treated their serfs brutally. Plutarch's writing brings to life the personalities and achievements of Sparta. Revised edition includes a new introduction , a new essay on Plutarch, notes, a glossary, updated further reading, and an index.
The so-called first war of the twenty-first century actually began more than 2,300 years ago when Alexander the Great led his army into what is now a sprawling ruin in northern Afghanistan. Frank L. Holt vividly recounts Alexander's invasion of ancient Bactria, situating in a broader historical perspective America's war in Afghanistan.
The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Author: Edith Wharton
For the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton's birth: her three greatest novels in a couture-inspired deluxe edition featuring a new introduction by Jonathan Franzen. Born into a distinguished New York family, Edith Wharton chronicled the lives of the wealthy, the well born, and the nouveau riches in fiction that often hinges on the collision of personal passion and social convention. This volume brings together her best-loved novels, all set in New York. The House of Mirth is the story of Lily Bart, who needs a rich husband but refuses to marry without both love and money. The Custom of the Country follows the marriages and affairs of Undine Spragg, who is as vain, spoiled, and selfish as she is irresistibly fascinating. The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Innocence concerns the passionate bond that develops between the newly engaged Newland Archer and his finacée's cousin, the Countess Olenska, new to New York and newly divorced. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The vast land empire that Alexander the Great left to his successors was without parallel in Greek history. Alexander’s family and generals created a new order of monarchies and city-states which was to control most of the territory between the Adriatic Sea and western India for three hundred years.
Lycurgus, Pericles, Solon, Nicias, Themistocles, Alcibiades, Cimon, Agesilaus, Alexander `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 nine lives of this collection Plutarch introduces the reader to the major figures and periods of classical Greece. 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. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Putting the sex back in Pleasure, here is the first new English translation since the Victorian era of the great Italian masterpiece of sensuality and seduction Like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, Andrea Sperelli lives his life as a work of art, seeking beauty and flouting the rules of morality and social interaction along the way. In his aristocratic circles in Rome, he is a serial seducer. But there are two women who command his special regard: the beautiful young widow Elena, and the pure, virgin-like Maria. In Andrea’s pursuit of the exalted heights of extreme pleasure, he plays them against each other, spinning a sadistic web of lust and deceit. This new translation of D’Annunzio’s masterpiece, the first in more than one hundred years, restores what was considered too offensive to be included in the 1898 translation—some of the very scenes that are key to the novel’s status as a landmark of literary decadence. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.
First published just before the end of the Roman Republic by that legendary country's most immortalized leader, "The Conquest of Gaul," also called "Commentarii de Bello Gallico," is an account of Julius Caesar's capture of Gaul in the first century. Beginning with the Helvetian War in 58 BC, Caesar uses his exemplary Latin prose to explain how his forces were protecting Provence, and how they were later drawn out in campaigns against the Veneti, the Aquitani, numerous Germanic peoples, the Belgae, the Gauls, and the Bretons. Caesar, perhaps in defense of his expensive and geographically vast wars, explains the methods of his campaigns, from the timing of the seasons to provisioning and defense. This autobiographical work is both a concise reckoning of forces and an informative wartime narrative, consistently revealing the author as a politically brilliant commander and an unrivaled man.