Plutarch: Lives of Noble Romans
Plutarch's Parallel Lives is a series of biographies, arranged in pairs illuminating virtues & vices. Surviving Lives contain 23 pairs, each with a Greek & a Roman Life, & 4 unpaired Lives. As explained in the opening of his Life of Alexander, he wasn't concerned with history so much as the influence of character on life & destiny. Whereas sometimes he barely touched on great events, he devoted much space to anecdote & incidental triviality, this often telling more about his subjects than their famous accomplishments. He sought to provide rounded portraits, likening his craft to painting. Indeed, he went to great (often tenuous) length to draw parallels between physical appearance & character. He's amongst the earliest moral philosophers. Some of the Lives, like those of Heracles, Philip II of Macedon & Scipio Africanus, are lost. Many remaining Lives are truncated, contain lacunae or have been tampered with. Extant are those on Solon, Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles, Alcibiades, Nicias, Demosthenes, Pelopidas, Philopoemen, Timoleon, Dion of Syracuse, Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Coriolanus, Theseus, Aemilius Paullus, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, Gaius Marius, Sulla, Sertorius, Lucullus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Cato the Younger, Mark Antony & Marcus Junius Brutus.