Aesara of Lucania (fl. 400s–300s BCE)

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Aesara of Lucania (fl. 400s–300s bce)

Pythagorean philosopher who wrote the Book on Human Nature Born in Lucania, Italy.

Aesara is counted among the Pythagoreans who were scattered after their expulsion from Crotona in the 5th century bce. From 425 bce to 100 ce, Pythagoreans no longer acted as a political society but carried on the philosophical tradition, pursuing the intellectual and spiritual endeavors that were started by Pythagoras and his followers. Aesara's writings describe the foundations of honorable personal and social rules based on an analysis of the parts of the soul. Her work earned her such esteem that, although she was from Lucania in southern Italy, her intellectual accomplishments were praised in Roman poetry and Greek lectures.

Aesara maintained that the soul had three parts: the mind, the spirit, and desire. According to Aesara these forces of the soul work in harmony, interacting in different ways for the achievement of different tasks. The forces of the soul, and the appropriate relation between them, are reflected in the laws that Aesara believed should govern individual morality, the family (considered to be the province of women), and the state (considered to be the province of men). She saw introspection as revealing the natural laws on which all conduct should be based; the need for the appropriate interaction of the different parts of the soul overrides other rules, and the cooperation of the three will vary in different situations.

Catherine Hundleby , M.A. Philosophy, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

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Aesara of Lucania (fl. 400s–300s BCE)

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