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Friends Hold All Things in CommonTradition, Intellectual Property, and the Adages of Erasmus$
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Kathy Eden

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087574

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087574.001.0001

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Property, Pythagoras, and Ancient Political Philosophy

Property, Pythagoras, and Ancient Political Philosophy

(p.78) 4 Property, Pythagoras, and Ancient Political Philosophy
Friends Hold All Things in Common

Kathy Eden

Yale University Press

This chapter explains Erasmus's response to readers' objections stating that European princes cannot possibly take Plato's guardians from the Republic as their models. Erasmus insists that, far from trying to deprive these princes of their wealth, he is rather recommending that they pay more attention to property of another, more valuable kind. It has been shown that Erasmus inherits his understanding of both friendship and friendship's relation to tradition from a philosophical tradition that goes back to Pythagoras and Plato. This chapter shows that this same philosophical tradition informs Erasmus's understanding of property. In the opening adage on friendship and property, Erasmus invokes those ancient philosophers most crucial to this understanding: Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. As this chapter shows, all four political writers put the issue of property at the very center of their political philosophy.

Keywords:   readers' objections, European princes, Plato's guardians, Republic, friendship, tradition

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