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Bill Thayer

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Plutarch: Roman Questions

The Text on LacusCurtius

This site is a transcription of the English translation of Plutarch's work by Frank Cole Babbitt as printed in pp1‑171 of Vol. IV of the Loeb Classical Library edition of the Moralia, published in 1936. I have no intention of transcribing the original Greek text: the paucity of readers of ancient Greek out there make it a case of diminishing returns.

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the sections are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

The work comprises a single Book in 113 small chapters each dealing with some question. It's too long for a single webpage: I present it in five roughly equal pages. (For convenience, each question below is individually linked.)

Questions 1‑24 (traditional sections 263D ad fin.-269D)
Questions 25‑44 (traditional sections 269E-275D)
Questions 45‑72 (traditional sections 275E-281B)
Questions 73‑89 (traditional sections 281C-285D)
Questions 90‑113 (traditional sections 285E-291D ad fin.)

The Author

Background material on Plutarch may appear here in the fullness of time, but as usual I'm not about to let that delay anything: I'm getting the text online first. The translator's brief Introduction to the Roman Questions is here.


The work is now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1964 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

The chapters are indicated by large numbers; the traditional page and section numbering is given in small numbers: it should be noted that the latter, corresponding to the pagination of an old standard edition, could be accurately placed in the Greek text, but their placement in any translation must of necessity be approximations.

Both numbering schemes are marked by local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage. Similarly, for citation purposes, the Loeb edition pagination is indicated by local links. (See the sourcecode.)


Although the Loeb edition occasionally notes a textual difficulty or an alternative reading, it provides no systematic apparatus criticus. I have not actually seen the Teubner edition, but I'm almost certain it must. At some point I may go to that edition and reproduce it, but for now, in view of diminishing returns in terms of its slight use to the overwhelming majority of Web users, I've decided not to.

As elsewhere on my site, to streamline display of the text and simplify searches, editorial [square brackets] signifying text to be deleted are rendered in a paler colour; and <angled brackets> signifying added emendations are shown in a slightly brighter blue, shown in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">.

[image ALT: An engraving of an oak wreath. It represents the ancient Roman civic crown, used here as the icon for Plutarch's Roman Questions.]

The background of the icon I use to indicate this work is the same shade of purple I use in the Roman Gazetteer section of the site as the background for Roman monuments of the Imperial period, to which our author belongs; the motif of the icon itself is a civic crown, a peculiarly Roman emblem, which, typically, Plutarch explains in three different ways (Question 92): based on Roman traditions, on Greek, and on common sense.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Site updated: 24 Jan 06