Aesara of Lucania c 300 or 100 BCE

Aesara of Lucania came from a mountainous region in Southern Italy bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Taranto. The Apennine mountains dominate the region. The district gets its name from the Lucanians who conquered the area around the 5th century BCE. Today the ancient name is no longer used and if you are looking for Aesara's home region you need to look for Basilicata

It has been often noted that Pythagoras visited Southern Italy. Pythagorean communities seem to have been active in the area.

Interestingly this philosopher is not listed in Iamblichus' Life of Pythagoras as being among the Pythagorean Women - an odd omission that may be evidence that a number of prominent women philosophers were unrecorded by the ancient scribes. Aesara of Lucanai is noted by Giamblico as the person who saved and then continued the work of the Pythagorean school.

See Giamblico's Pitagoricintera - Aesara of Lucania

Mary Beard notes in her "Women as a Force in History" that " Aesara of Lucania was deemed so important that Alexander the Sophist made her the theme of lectures and the Roman poets Catallus and Horace, having discovered her in their time, sang her praises as a woman of letters" (Beard, 1971, 325). Further she was considered so important by Alexander the Sophist that he made her the theme of his lectures. Also, the Roman poets Catullus and Horace sang her praises as a woman of letters.

Aesarea of Lucania's Work.

Vicki Lynn Harper discusses Aesara's work in her chapter, "Late Pythagoreans: Aesare of Lucania, Phintys of Sparta and Perictione I" in Mary Ellen Waithe's History of Women Philosohers vol 1

This ancient philosopher is known to have written a, Book on Human Nature. A translation of a fragment of this work can be found at in Waithe's book:

A History of Women Philosophers: Ancient Women Philosophers 600 B.C. - 500 A.D.

The fragment is astonishing for the number of philosophical themes compacted within its few paragraphs. Aesara of Lucania speaks of the microcosm of human nature and city state, the principle of natural law and tripartite nature of the soul. These are themes that reverberate through the history of Euro-American philosophy. In addition she asserts the principle of MIND as ordering things. "Mind is able to fit these things to itself, becoming lovely, through systematic education and virtue. "

One hopes that additional parts of Aesara's Book on Human Nature might be discovered by some archaeologist or librarian.

Another work that should be of interest to readers is: Pythagorean Women: Their History and Writings

NOTE: I thank Jill Delston of South Hadley, MA, USA for assistance with this page.

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