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Beauty (ancient thought)

Beauty for ancient thinkers existed both in , which is the material world as it is, and as embodied in the spirit, which is the world of mental formations.

The classical terms in use to describe beauty were (Grecian) and (Latin).

During this time there existed a woman, known as Helen of Troy, who was known as the most beautiful, which is presumably the most beautiful within the Greek world. Her existence is dated to about 1250, one source specifically shows around 1188 B.C., this being the date of an astronomical occurrence during the Trojan War. Knowledge of her stems, primarily, from within the work of Homer known as the Iliad, c.850 or 750 B.C.

In an irreverent recollection from history, pertaining to this philosopher and beauty, there is a story which has passed into posterity on how Thales was mocked by a servant girl recognised for her beauty, after finding himself to have fallen into a well while looking upward at stars .

In one fragment of Heraclitus's writings (Fragment 106) he mentions beauty, this readsĀ : To God all things are beautiful, good, right...

Pythagoras conceived of beauty as useful for a moral education of the soul.

The Pythagoreans conceived of the presence of beauty in universal terms, which is, as existing in a cosmological state, they observed beauty in the heavens.

Pythagoras wrote of how people experience pleasure when aware of a certain type of formal situation present in reality, perceivable by sight or through the ear. Pythagoras discovered the underlying mathematical ratios in the harmonic scales in music.

The classical concept of beauty is one which exhibits perfect proportion (Wolfflin). In this context the concept belonged often within the discipline of mathematics.

An idea of spiritual beauty emerged during the classical period, beauty was something embodying divine goodness, while the demonstration of behaviour which might be classified as beautiful, from an inner state of morality which is aligned to the good.



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