Cover of Aristoxenus of Tarentum: The Pythagorean Precepts (How to Live a Pythagorean Life)

Aristoxenus of Tarentum: The Pythagorean Precepts (How to Live a Pythagorean Life)

An Edition of and Commentary on the Fragments with an Introduction

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Cambridge University Press

2019

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978-1-108-59391-5

1-108-59391-7

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The Pythagorean Precepts by Aristotle's pupil, Aristoxenus of Tarentum, present the principles of the Pythagorean way of life that Plato praised in the Republic. They are our best guide to what it meant to be a Pythagorean in the time of Plato and Aristotle. The Precepts have been neglected in modern scholarship and this is the first full edition and translation of and commentary on all the surviving fragments. The introduction provides an accessible overview of the ethical system of the Precepts and their place not only in the Pythagorean tradition but also in the history of Greek ethics as a whole. The Pythagoreans thought that human beings were by nature insolent and excessive and that they could only be saved from themselves if they followed a strictly structured way of life. The Precepts govern every aspect of life, such as procreation, abortion, child rearing, friendship, religion, desire and even diet.

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