The Reproductive Technology of the Pythagoreans

Kathy L. Gaca

in The Making of Fornication

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520235991
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929463 | DOI:
The Reproductive Technology of the Pythagoreans

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This chapter provides a discussion on the reproductive technology of the Pythagoreans. It also addresses the Greek and Roman sources on procreationism that are not part of Hellenistic Judaism or Christianity. Aristoxenus's Pythagoreans believed that all acts of heterosexual copulation ought to be procreationist in purpose and method. Charondas assumes that each man has or should have a wife and that the married couple should reproduce. Charondas's unconditional procreationism is far more inflexible than Plato's use of the regulation in the Laws. Ocellus presumes the key Pythagorean tenet that sexual relations are motivated either for the production of children or for pleasure. Seneca advocates procreationism in its Neopythagorean version. Charondas, Ocellus, Seneca, and Musonius appear to have been somewhat distanced from the older Pythagorean eugenics that originally motivated procreationism. However, they show neither Plato's reflective modification of the procreationist principle nor the vestigial ambiguity of Aristoxenus.

Keywords: Pythagoreans; procreationism; Aristoxenus; Charondas; Ocellus; Seneca; Musonius; Plato

Chapter.  11588 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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