Plutarch's life spanned the second half of the 1st century AD. He was highly educated in rhetoric and philosophy at Athens but his deep interest in religion led him to Delphi, where he was eventually appointed a priesthood. He travelled, most crucially to Rome, where he lectured and made friends of considerable influence. He wrote and taught throughout his life.
Richard J. A. Talbert, the translator and editor, is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Christopher Pelling, the Plutarch series adviser, is Professor of Classics at Oxford University and a fellow of Christ Church.
When Xerxes, King of Persia, crosses the Hellespont at the head of a formidable army, it seems inevitable that Greece will be crushed beneath its might. But the Greeks are far harder to defeat than he could ever have imagined.
As storms lash the Persian ships, and sinister omens predict a cruel fate for the expedition, Xerxes strives onward, certain his enemies will accept him as their king. But as he soon discovers, the Greeks will sacrifice anything, even their lives, to keep their liberty...