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8 p. ℓ., 1030 (i.e. 1026) [56] p., 2 ℓ., 91 p. illus. (ports.) 36 cm.

Some of the pages in this document were selected as part of a class project for Professor Garth Bond’s History of the Book seminar, Fall 2012. The abstract was prepared by Christopher Fuelling.

Publication Date



Cambridge, Printed by John Hayes, for George Sawbridge, at the Bible on Ludgate-Hill, London




This is a copy of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. It was originally translated from Latin into French, and then from French to English. The book was printed in London in 1676. It also includes Pourtraitures and Lives of Ancient and Modern Illustrious Personages and Select Lives Collected out of A. Thevet the French Historiographer, both written by Andrew Thevet. This work of Plutarch’s is very well known and has been a very important text to writers, philosophers, and historians. This work was especially influential to English writers in the 16th century, namely, Shakespeare. This specific copy, although written near the end of the 17th century, still reflects Plutarch’s influence on the English at the time. The aspects of the book that drew my attention are the illustrations and the fact that there are multiple “books” in this one book. The frontispiece includes illustrations of a noble Greek, a noble Roman, and the cities they come from: Greece and Rome, respectively. Plutarch himself is also featured. It is a wonderful example of an engraved frontispiece. The illustrated coins at the beginning of each “life” mimic ancient coins. If a coin were to have been struck of the person in question in ancient Greece or Rome, the illustration represents what it may have looked like. In general, the profile and the name of the person are “stamped” on the face of the coin. This book is a compilation of books. There is the text of Plutarch at the beginning, followed by the texts Andrew Thevet. Each text most likely had their own binding, but the pages were then stripped out of it and all three bound together into one book. The end result is the very unique work we have here.


This work is in the public domain under United States Copyright Law. If you use any part of this work please include Lawrence University Special Collections in your citation.

The lives of the noble Grecians and Romans, compared together, by that grave learned philosopher & historiographer Plutarch of Chaeronea. Tr. out of the Greek into French, by James Amiot ... With the lives of Hannibal & Scipio, African ... into English, by Sir Thomas North. Hereunto are added The lives of Epaminodas, of Phillip of Macedon, ... collected out of Æmilius Probus, by S.G.s. ... The lives of twenty selected eminent persons tr. out of the work of that famous historiographer ... Andrew Thevet.