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I must think we are more deeply indebted to Plutarch than
to all the ancient writers."-R. W. EMERSON.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET
JTARCH, who was born at Chæronea in Baotia,
probably about A.D. 50, and was a contemporary of Tacitus and Pliny, has written two works still extant, the well-known Lives, and the less-known Moralia. The Lives have often been translated, and have always been a popular work. Great indeed was their power at the period of the French Revolution. The Moralia, on the other hand, consisting of various Essays on various subjects (only twenty-six of which are directly ethical, though they have given their name to the Moralia), are declared by Mr. Paley ' to be practically almost unknown to most persons in Britain, even to those who call themselves scholars.' Habent etiam sua fata libelli.
In older days the Moralia were more valued. Montaigne, who was a great lover of Plutarch, and who observes in one passage of his Essays that “Plutarch and Seneca were the only two books of solid learning he seriously settled himself to read," quotes as much from the Moralia as from the Lives. And in the seventeenth century I cannot but think the Moralia were largely read at our Universities, at least at the University of Cambridge. For, not to mention the wonderful way in which the famous Jeremy Taylor has taken the cream of " Conjugal Precepts in his Sermon called “The Marriage Ring,” or the large and copious use
1 See article Plutarch, in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth Edition.