Though also a great historian, Plutarch was also a superb encyclopedist, philosopher and biographer, the latter demonstrated most brilliantly in his book 'Parallel Lives', consisting of biographies of famous figures of his time.
He was born and lived in Voitia (Boetia), in Charonea, where the famous battle took place in which Philip of Macedon had defeated the Athenians.
He came from an aristocratic family and studied in Athens as a young man, apprenticing with the neo-Platonist Ammonios Sakeas of Alexandria, travelling himself to that city to use its famous library and to seek out intellectuals there.
He travelled a good deal, and spent much time in Rome, where he gave speeches on moral issues, and studied documents that helped him in writing his biographies, which are entirely factual.
He also wrote a book of 83 essays, known collectively as The Moralia, which deal with religious, literary and moral topics, written in the form of dialogues and diatribes.
He believed that the gods of different peoples were really the same , but with different names. He is a unique figure in the history of Greek literature, an erudite man who doesn't really fit into the categories of other authors.