25 Plutarch Quotes From The Classic Historian

Channel your inner philosopher and scholar with our Plutarch quotes.

Plutarch was a man who many say was ahead of his time. 

Learn more about his abilities and accomplishments with our Plutarch quotes.

Who was Plutarch?

Plutarch was a Greek philosopher, historian, essayist and biographer. 

He achieved the status of priest at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. 

Check out these cool Plutarch facts below:

  • Plutarch lived from AD 46 – AD 119. 
  • Plutarch’s work influenced the evolution of the essay. 
  • Plutarch wrote hundreds of essays, writings, speeches, and biographies. 

What is Plutarch known for?

Plutarch is known for many things. 

Countless works have referenced him; his biographies and historical documentation still stand today.

He is best known for writing Parallel Lives, a historical canon of Greek and Roman people’s noble deeds and characters. 

We know of many statesmen, orators, legislators, soldiers, and other leaders because of Plutarch’s efforts to write their narratives. 

Plutarch is also known for writing Moralia, also known as Ethica.

These writings serve as a series of more than sixty essays on his time’s spiritual, physical, political, literary, and ethical topics. 

How many books did Plutarch write?

Plutarch’s catalog is gigantic! 

Even by today’s standards, Plutarch’s efforts are considered gargantuan. 

In Parallel Lives, he researched extensively and took years to compile sources and information.

He even took on learning a new language!

Plutarch had to learn Latin to research the Romans he wrote about in Parallel Lives adequately. 

What is the controversy with Plutarch?

There are some historians and researchers who criticize Plutarch.

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They believe he is biased toward Greek people and culture in his writings. 

They also accuse him of distorting historical records to fit his perspective. 

While these are serious claims, supporters of Plutarch note that history is a subjective interpretation. 

To learn more, check out our Plutarch quotes below. 

Short Plutarch quotes about the power of listening and fasting

Plutarch stressed the power of fasting and listening to solve medical and social problems. 

1. “Time is the wisest of all counselors.” — Plutarch

2. “Instead of using medicine, better fast today.” — Plutarch

3. “Proper listening is the foundation of proper living.” — Plutarch

4. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” — Plutarch

5. “The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune.” — Plutarch

Famous Plutarch quotes on the life of men

Plutarch gives powerful advice on how to live our best lives. 

6. “To please the many is to displease the wise.” — Plutarch

7. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch

8. “The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it.” — Plutarch

9. “Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.” — Plutarch

10. “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” — Plutarch

Plutarch quotes about friends and freedom

Plutarch was adamant about education as a key to freedom. 

11. “The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful and cheerful heart.” — Plutarch

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12. “Those are greedy of praise prove that they are poor in merit.” — Plutarch

13. “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” — Plutarch

14. “The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in, and money began to play an important part in determining elections.” — Plutarch

15. “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits.” — Plutarch

The top Plutarch quotes about reason and vices

Plutarch knew that reason was a powerful tool we can use to work through anger or vices. 

16. “Reason speaks and feeling bites” — Plutarch

17. “To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.” — Plutarch

18. “A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.” — Plutarch

19. “Anger turns the mind out of doors and bolts the entrance.” — Plutarch

20. “To make no mistakes is not in the power of man, but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch

The best Plutarch quotes about courage and war

Plutarch was a man of peace but savvy enough to recognize the division between elite rulers and working class soldiers of his time. 

21. “Knavery is the best defense against a knave.” — Plutarch

22. “He who owns a hundred sheep must fight with fifty wolves” — Plutarch

23. “God is the brave man’s hope, and not the coward’s excuse.” — Plutarch

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24. “The poor go to war, to fight and die for the delights, riches, and superfluities of others.” — Plutarch

25. “No beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage.” — Plutarch

What did Plutarch believe?

Plutarch was a man of many hats. 

He accomplished success in various professional fields. 

His beliefs were also layered and nuanced. 

For example, Plutarch believed in vegetarianism; he attacked the idea of killing animals for food. 

At the same time, he participated in the sacrifice of animals for religious purposes and saw them as joyous. 

He was a believer in prophecy and believed the soul transitioned into the afterlife.

He believed that when the soul transitioned, a spirit had the opportunity to become a god-like figure with no attachments to the physical world. 

Plutarch wrote about providence and the goodness of divine order. 

He taught that the sins of ancestors can be inflicted on their descendants. 

Plutarch was a philosophical master who pondered existence.

His achievement of making it as a priest at the Temple of Apollo was a remarkable feat. 

However, it also informs us that Plutarch was schooled in the mystical arts. 

What is your favorite Plutarch quote?

Please be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

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