Sir Thomas North (1535–1603) English translator

Sir Thomas North (1535–1603) was an English translator, military officer, lawyer. He was the younger son of Edward North (c.1504–64), the first Baron North. He studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He entered Lincoln’s Inn, attended the court, was knighted in 1591, and was pensioned by Elizabeth I in 1601.

He is famous for his translations, which include the Dial of Princes from Guevara’s El relox de principes (1557), published with The Famous Book of Marcus Aurelius, The Moral Philosophy of Doni(1570) a translation of an Italian collection of eastern fables popularly known as The Fables of Bidpai.

North’s The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, translated in 1579 from Jacques Amyot’s French version of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, has been described as one of the earliest masterpieces of English prose. This book written in noble and vivid English was William Shakespeare’s chief source for his roman plays —Antony and CleopatraJulius Caesar, Timon of Athensand Coriolanus and had a great influence on Elizabethan prose.

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