Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans


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Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans


PLUTARCH. The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romains… London: Printed by George Miller, sold by Robert Allott, 1631. Two parts in one. Thick folio (measures 9 by 13-1/2 inches), modern full blind-tooled calf, raised bands, red morocco spine labels, all edges gilt.

Expanded fifth edition of the first English translation of Plutarch’s Lives, expanded to include lives of Philip of Macedon, Augustus Caesar, Plutarch, Seneca and others. One of the most influential works of the Elizabethan era and a major Shakespeare source.

The first edition of Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives, the first into English, was published in 1579. “The Lives are works of great learning and research, and Plutarch is careful to quote his authorities, whose number indicates a formidable amount of reading… Early translated, by Amyot into French and by North into English, the influence of Plutarch’s method has been constantly manifest in the biographies of the modern great and in the authors who have been inspired by it. Shakespeare relied almost exclusively on Plutarch for the historical background of ancient Rome” (PMM 48). “North dedicated the book to Queen Elizabeth, and it was one of the most popular of her day. It is written throughout in admirably vivid and robust prose. But it is as Shakespeare’s storehouse of classical learning that it presents itself in its most interesting aspect. To it (it is not too much to say) we owe the existence of the plays of Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, and Antony and Cleopatra, while A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, and Timon of Athens are all indebted to it” (DNB). With woodcut medallion portraits within engraved ornamental borders, head- and tailpieces, etc. With extensive index. STC 20070. See PMM 48. Discreet marginal notations.

Fine condition. A handsome volume.

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