Utopian Communities of the Ancient World: Idealistic Experiments of Pythagoras, the Essenes, Pachomius and Proclus

Author: Schmidt, Brent James
This is the first comparative study of lived Utopian communities in antiquity. The examined communities provide examples of somewhat successful utopian experiments that belie the twentieth century notion that the application of utopian ideals must always lead to dystopia or not work at all.


“The roots of western civilization run deep into the soils of Jewish, Greek, Roman, and Christian civilizations. This book probes some of the most remarkably idealistic experiments in the annals of these ancient cultures, and in so doing, it exposes the debt that many people today owe to these traditions for setting the high moral tone and lifting the visionary gaze that still today inspires some of their most cherished personal and social aspirations.” – Prof. John W. Welch, Brigham Young University

“Schmidt makes a strong case that late pagan Athens became a Utopian community in the fifth century due to the cohesion of a group of philosophers who were fighting against the rising tide of Christianity. This forced these philosophers to unite as a single group and to live an existence marked by defined codes of conduct, though not quite prescriptive rules.” – Prof. Noel Lenski, University of Colorado, Boulder