‘Exemplary Lives’ traces the history of western biography from its beginnings in antiquity to Aubrey's Brief Lives in the seventeenth-century England. The snippets of the lives of famous figures such as Moses, Alexander, and Socrates provide the primal form of a genre that had not yet evolved. Western biography has its origins in the accounts of the lives of great men from classical antiquity. Plutarch's Lives brought long-past persons to life and there is a moral purpose to his writing. Very different is the other strand of biographical writing — the lives of the saints or hagiography, the dominant literary genre from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages.