(born AD 46, Chaeronea, Boeotiadied after 119) Greek biographer and author. The son of a biographer and philosopher, Plutarch studied in Athens, taught in Rome, traveled widely, and made many important friends before returning to his native town in Boeotia. His literary output was immense, but his popularity rests primarily on his Parallel Lives, a series of pairs of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans. Displaying impressive learning and research, the Lives exhibit noble deeds and characters and provide model patterns of behaviour. The Moralia, or Ethica, contains his surviving writings on ethical, religious, physical, political, and literary topics. His works profoundly influenced the evolution of the essay, biography, and historical writing in 16th–19th-century Europe, especially through translations such as Sir Thomas North's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes (1579), William Shakespeare's source for his Roman history plays.