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Greek historian, born at Chaeronea, Boeotia, in Greece, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius.
His most important work is Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings. The Parallel Lives, as they are also called, contain 23 pairs of biographies, each pair containing one Greek Life and one Roman Life; as well as 4 unpaired single Lives. Although Plutarch has sometimes been disparaged by later historians, he was not concerned with writing history, as such, but in exploring the influence of character - good or bad - on the lives and destinies of famous men. The remainder of his surviving oeuvre is loosely grouped together under the misleading title of Moralia. It is an eclectic collection of over one hundred essays including On the decline of the Oracles, On God's slowness to punish evil, On peace of mind and Odysseus and Gryllus, a humorous dialog between Homer's Ulysses and one of Circe's enchanted pigs.