This chapter explores a chapter in the history of philosophy at Rome that falls outside the more familiar narrative of the Roman reception and adaptation of Greek philosophical systems in the wake of the conquest of the Greek east from the second century BCE onward. From early on, the chapter demonstrates, the Romans felt a special affinity to the philosophy of Pythagoras, an intellectual movement that was perceived as authentically Italian, not an importation from abroad. In tracing the evolution of this tradition down to the end of the Republic, the chapter focuses not on the history of Roman Pythagoreanism as such, but on the role that this philosophy played in the Romans’ construction and understanding of their own intellectual formation.
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