What Did Greek Philosophers Think about Vegetarianism?

Most of us associate the Ancient world with battles, myths and kingdoms, right? However, there are also interesting stories behind the vegetarianism for example. Aren’t you curious to learn how old this ‘tradition’ actually is?! To begin with, Greeks used to eat lots of cereals, fruits and veggies mainly because this food was cheap and natural. If you think about it, though, today most people from the Mediterranean countries can afford to eat meat but yet stick to the Mediterranean diet. So, it turns out things haven’t changed too much, huh?! In case you don’t remember, the Med regimen is mostly a plant-based diet that’s popular as ‘the goddess of gastronomy”. Learn more about it here. OK, here’s what Greek philosophers used to think about vegetarianism:
  1. Pythagoras
Take it easy, we’re not going to talk about math! Everybody knows Pythagoras was also a famous philosopher. He taught that all animals have souls and that’s why killing and eating their flesh is destructive. What’s more, according to his beliefs “as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other”.
  1. Plato
Plato’s theory says that only people own “psyche” (the Greek term for ‘soul’) and yet we should all be humane and quit meat. He used to say that carnivorousness leads to decay and battle. His philosophic dreams were all about peace and less wastefulness.
  1. Aristotle
As Plato’s student, Aristotle shared some of his teacher’s beliefs. However, he also claimed that he doesn’t have moral duty towards animals because they are all irrational. In addition, according his understandings animals wouldn’t be able to survive without people’s help.
  1. Theophrastus
On the contrary, Theophrastus, who is Aristotle’s student, was against animal killing and meat consumption. To his mind battles are the most probable reason why people eat meat because thus the sown fields are heavily destroyed. What’s more, according to him the animal victims were the ones to enrage the Gods, so he was definitely against eating flesh. If such historical facts interest you, you might notice it’s quite obvious that vegetarianism was mostly based on religious beliefs. For better or worse, today there are also lots of people who choose to stay ‘meat free’. What kind of diet do you stick to? Share with us in the comment section! Meanwhile, browse our Food categories to find out all kinds of vegetarian or meat products as you click here.


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