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Plutarch: Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans   By: (46-120?)

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Plutarch's Lives

The following are the names of the chapters. These names, in all capitals, are found only once in the text, at the start of the chapter.

THESEUS ROMULUS COMPARISON OF ROMULUS WITH THESEUS LYCURGUS NUMA POMPILIUS COMPARISON OF NUMA WITH LYCURGUS SOLON POPLICOLA COMPARISON OF POPLICOLA WITH SOLON THEMISTOCLES CAMILLUS PERICLES FABIUS COMPARISON OF PERICLES WITH FABIUS ALCIBIADES CORIOLANUS COMPARISON OF ALCIBIADES WITH CORIOLANUS TIMOLEON AEMILIUS PAULUS COMPARISON OF TIMOLEON WITH AEMILIUS PAULUS PELOPIDAS MARCELLUS COMPARISION OF PELOPIDAS WITH MARCELLUS ARISTIDES MARCUS CATO COMPARISON OF ARISTIDES WITH MARCUS CATO. PHILOPOEMEN FLAMININUS COMPARISON OF PHILOPOEMEN WITH FLAMININUS PYRRHUS CAIUS MARIUS LYSANDER SYLLA COMPARISON OF LYSANDER WITH SYLLA CIMON LUCULLUS COMPARISON OF LUCULLUS WITH CIMON NICIAS CRASSUS COMPARISON OF CRASSUS WITH NICIAS SERTORIUS EUMENES COMPARISON OF SERTORIUS WITH EUMENES AGESILAUS POMPEY COMPARISON OF POMPEY AND AGESILAUS ALEXANDER CAESAR PHOCION CATO THE YOUNGER AGIS CLEOMENES TIBERIUS GRACCHUS CAIUS GRACCHUS COMPARISON OF TIBERIUS AND CAIUS GRACCHUS WITH AGIS AND CLEOMENES DEMOSTHENES CICERO COMPARISON OF DEMOSTHENES AND CICERO DEMETRIUS ANTONY COMPARISON OF DEMETRIUS AND ANTONY DION MARCUS BRUTUS COMPARISON OF DION AND BRUTUS ARATUS ARTAXERXES GALBA OTHO

Tom Trent tomtrent@pobox.com

THESEUS

As geographers, Sosius, crowd into the edges of their maps parts of the world which they do not know about, adding notes in the margin to the effect, that beyond this lies nothing but sandy deserts full of wild beasts, unapproachable bogs, Scythian ice, or a frozen sea, so, in this work of mine, in which I have compared the lives of the greatest men with one another, after passing through those periods which probable reasoning can reach to and real history find a footing in, I might very well say of those that are farther off, Beyond this there is nothing but prodigies and fictions, the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors of fables; there is no credit, or certainty any farther. Yet, after publishing an account of Lycurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king, I thought I might, not without reason, ascend as high as to Romulus, being brought by my history so near to his time. Considering therefore with myself

Whom shall I set so great a man to face? Or whom oppose? who's equal to the place?

(as Aeschylus expresses it), I found none so fit as him that peopled the beautiful and far famed city of Athens, to be set in opposition with the father of the invincible and renowned city of Rome. Let us hope that Fable may, in what shall follow, so submit to the purifying processes of Reason as to take the character of exact history. In any case, however, where it shall be found contumaciously slighting credibility, and refusing to be reduced to anything like probable fact, we shall beg that we may meet with candid readers, and such as will receive with indulgence the stories of antiquity.

Theseus seemed to me to resemble Romulus in many particulars. Both of them, born out of wedlock and of uncertain parentage, had the repute of being sprung from the gods.

Both warriors; that by all the world's allowed.

Both of them united with strength of body an equal vigor mind; and of the two most famous cities of the world the one built Rome, and the other made Athens be inhabited. Both stand charged with the rape of women; neither of them could avoid domestic misfortunes nor jealousy at home; but towards the close of their lives are both of them said to have incurred great odium with their countrymen, if, that is, we may take the stories least like poetry as our guide to the truth.

The lineage of Theseus, by his father's side, ascends as high as to Erechtheus and the first inhabitants of Attica. By his mother's side he was descended of Pelops. For Pelops was the most powerful of all the kings of Peloponnesus, not so much by the greatness of his riches as the multitude of his children, having married many daughters to chief men, and put many sons in places of command in the towns round about him... Continue reading book >>




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