Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 352
Parallel Lives is a sequence of various biographies of famous personalities in the Roman and Greek empires. The biographies are arranged in tandem to depict their common moral failings and virtues. The book contains twenty-three biography pairs, each consisting of one Roman individual and one Greek individual, as well as...
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Parallel Lives is a sequence of various biographies of famous personalities in the Roman and Greek empires. The biographies are arranged in tandem to depict their common moral failings and virtues. The book contains twenty-three biography pairs, each consisting of one Roman individual and one Greek individual, as well as four unpaired personalities. The biographies are characterized by important quotes, some of which are listed below.
1. “Carthage must be destroyed.”
This is a statement that was commonly used by the chief advocate, Cato the Censor. At the Senate, he always ended his speeches by saying “Ceterum, censeo, Carthaginem esse Delendam," which translates to “for the rest, I vote that Carthage should be destroyed”. He was an advocate for the destruction of Carthage due to its commercial power, which posed threat to Rome. His crusade for the destruction of Carthage finally bore fruit with the occurrence of the Third Punic War, between 149 and 146 B.C.E, which ended the existence of Carthage.
2. “Go on, my friend, and fear nothing; you carry Caesar and his fortune in your boat.”
Caesar is portrayed as a courageous, fearless, determined, and ambitious individual who goes to all extremes to overcome challenges that come his way. He says these words to the master of his ship as they are headed to Brundusium. The master has ordered his sailors to turn back, as he could not make good passage to Brundusium, but when Caesar says the above words to him, they all choose to move on with their journey. However, they do not get far, because the bad weather eventually forces them to turn back.
3. “Whereas stories are fit for every place, reach to all persons, serve for all times, teach the living, revive the dead, so far excelling all other books, as it is better to see learning in Noblemen’s lives than to read it in Philosophers’ writings.”
This statement shows that it is of the essence to mirror our lives against those of the noblemen. It implies that this book exceeds all other books because of its ability to educate its readers, as compared philosophers’ writings.