Plutarch's focus on the great leaders of the classical world, his anecdotal style, and his self-presentation as a good-natured friend and wise counsellor have appealed over the centuries to a wide audience, persons as diverse as Beethoven and Benjamin Franklin, Shakespeare and Harry Truman. This collection of essays on Plutarch's Parallel Lives examines the moral issues Plutarch recognized behind political leadership, and relates his writings to the audience
of leading generals and administrators of the Roman empire which he aimed to influence, and to the larger social and political context of the reigns of the Flavian emperors and their successors, Nerva and Trajan, during which he wrote. The essays explore Plutarch's considered views on how his contemporaries
could - and we ourselves can - learn from the successes and failures of the great men of the past.