The translations of Pamela Mensch appear in Alexander the Great (Hackett) and The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander (Pantheon). Her translation of Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Doctrines of Eminent Philosophers is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.
Historian, philosopher, and general, Arrian was born into a wealthy Greek family in Nicomedia, in Asia Minor. He was a pupil and friend of the philosopher Epictetus, whose lectures he published at Athens. For six years, from 131 to 137, he served as governor of Cappadocia under the emperor Hadrian. It was during this time that he successfully drove back invading Alans. Arrian wrote several geographical and historical works, including the Indica, an account of a voyage to India. He is best known, however, as author of the Anabasis. A much praised and valuable account of the life of Alexander the Great, it is based on the writings of Ptolemy I and Aristobulus, two of Alexander's generals. He modeled the work on Anabasis of Xenophon. Arrian died at an advanced age during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus was the author of a world history in 40 papyrus "books." The work focused on the non-Greek world, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, and on the Greeks and Romans from the earliest times to Caesar's conquest of Gaul. The value of this work, of which about one-third survives, lies far less in itself than in its reflection of the lost historians that it summarizes. In a few cases, such as the reign of Philip II of Macedon, it is the major source for an important period of history. Diodorus's work is the chief surviving example of a genre of potted history that became increasingly necessary and popular in later antiquity among newly risen provincials who needed to acquaint themselves in a hurry with the past of the civilization they had joined.
PLUTARCH. c.46--c.125 Considered by many the most important Greek writer of the early Roman period, Plutarch was a member of a well-to-do Greek family, a chief magistrate, a priest at Delphi, and an exceptionally well-read individual. His philosophical views were based on those of Plato (see Vol. 4) and, although a Greek, he esteemed the achievements and attributes of the Romans. By the time Plutarch's works were published for the first time in the eleventh century, some had already been lost. He wrote innumerable essays on philosophical, historical, political, religious, and literary subjects, 78 of which survive today and are known collectively as the "Moralia." He is known primarily, however, for his Parallel Lives of Greeks and Romans, which consists of 50 biographies---23 of prominent Greeks, 23 of Roman leaders, and 4 separate lives---accompanied at intervals by short comparative essays. Although historical information is included in the work, Plutarch wrote it originally to inspire emulation in youth, so the emphasis is on character, moral choice, and anecdote. Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation into English of Parallel Lives became an important source for William Shakespeare which he used for three plays, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus.