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Plutarch (c.46–120 AD)





Greek historian and biographer who wrote about the possibilities of lunar life in his De Facie in Orbe Lunae (On the face which appears in the Moon) in 70 AD. He wondered whether the Moon's apparent lack of clouds might mean it was intolerably dry, but decided on balance that the dark areas were probably seas (see Moon, water on). Today, that description still survives in the naming of these regions as maria.

The works of Plutarch profoundly influenced the evolution of European essay, biography, and historical writings from the 16th until the 19th centuries. Among the many writers he influenced are Francis Bacon, Michel de Montaigne, William Shakespeare, Izaak Walton, and Charlotte Corday, the assassin of the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat. Approximately 227 of Plutarch's works have survived from antiquity. Among these are Bioi paralleloi (Parallel Lives), in which he writes of Greek and Roman soldiers, legislators, orators, and statesmen, and the Moralia or Ethica, a series of 60-some essays on ethical, religious, physical, political, and literary topics.


Related entries

   • Lucian of Samosata
   • ancient philosophy, related to the possibility of extraterrestrial life


Related category

   • PHILOSOPHY