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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4479
Diogenes Laertius, Lives Of The Philosophers, 8.17-8.18


nanThe following were his watchwords or precepts: don't stir the fire with a knife, don't step over the beam of a balance, don't sit down on your bushel, don't eat your heart, don't help a man off with a load but help him on, always roll your bed-clothes up, don't put God's image on the circle of a ring, don't leave the pan's imprint on the ashes, don't wipe up a mess with a torch, don't commit a nuisance towards the sun, don't walk the highway, don't shake hands too eagerly, don't have swallows under your own roof, don't keep birds with hooked claws, don't make water on nor stand upon your nail-and hair-trimmings, turn the sharp blade away, when you go abroad don't turn round at the frontier.


nanThis is what they meant. Don't stir the fire with a knife: don't stir the passions or the swelling pride of the great. Don't step over the beam of a balance: don't overstep the bounds of equity and justice. Don't sit down on your bushel: have the same care of to-day and the future, a bushel being the day's ration. By not eating your heart he meant not wasting your life in troubles and pains. By saying do not turn round when you go abroad, he meant to advise those who are departing this life not to set their hearts' desire on living nor to be too much attracted by the pleasures of this life. The explanations of the rest are similar and would take too long to set out.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

14 results
1. Xenophon, Symposium, 3.6 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3.6. But have you failed to observe, questioned Antisthenes, that the rhapsodes, These professional reciters of epic poetry are represented as being criticized by Socrates , in much the same way as here, in Xenophon ’s Memorabilia, IV. ii. 10 and in Plato ’s Ion. too, all know these poems? How could I, he replied, when I listen to their recitations nearly every day? Well, do you know any tribe of men, went on the other, more stupid than the rhapsodes? No, indeed, answered Niceratus; not I, I am sure. No, said Socrates ; and the reason is clear: they do not know the inner meaning of the poems. But you have paid a good deal of money to Stesimbrotus, Anaximander, and many other Homeric critics, so that nothing of their valuable teaching can have escaped your knowledge.
2. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Now it is said, that the most sacred sect of the Pythagoreans, among many other excellent doctrines, taught this one also, that it was not well to proceed by the plain ordinary roads, not meaning to urge us to talk among precipices (for it was not their object to weary our feet with labour), but intimating, by a figurative mode of speech, that we ought not, either in respect of our words or actions, to use only such as are ordinary and unchanged;
3. New Testament, Matthew, 7.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7.6. Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
4. Plutarch, On Having Many Friends, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Plutarch, On The Education of Children, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. This also I assert, that children ought to be led to honourable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows or ill-treatment, for it surely is agreed that these are fitting rather for slaves than for the freeborn; for so they grow numb and shudder at their tasks, partly from the pain of the blows, partly from the degradation. Praise and reproof are more helpful for the free-born than any sort of ill-usage, since the praise incites them toward what is honourable, and reproof keeps them from what is disgraceful. But rebukes and praise should be used alternately and in a variety of ways; it is well to choose some time when the children are full of confidence to put them to shame by rebuke, and then in turn to cheer them up by praises, and to imitate the nurses, who, when they have made their babies cry, in turn offer them the breast for comfort. Moreover in praising them it is essential not to excite and puff them up, for they are made conceited and spoiled by excess of praise. 12. This also I assert, that children ought to be led to honourable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows or ill-treatment, for it surely is agreed that these are fitting rather for slaves than for the free-born; for so they grow numb and shudder at their tasks, partly from the pain of the blows, partly from the degradation. Praise and reproof are more helpful for the free-born than any sort of ill-usage, since the praise incites them toward what is honourable, and reproof keeps them from what is disgraceful. But rebukes and praises should be used alternately and in a variety of ways; it is well to choose some time when the children are full of confidence to put them to shame by rebuke, and then in turn to cheer them up by praises, and to imitate the nurses, who, when they have made their babies cry, in turn offer them the breast for comfort. Moreover in praising them it is essential not to excite and puff them up, for they are made conceited and spoiled by excess of praise.
6. Aelian, Varia Historia, 4.17 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7. Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries On Metaphysics, 38.12, 38.14-38.16 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 5.5.27-5.5.31 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

9. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 8.1, 8.18-8.19, 8.33-8.35 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8.1. BOOK 8: 1. PYTHAGORASPythagoras Having now completed our account of the philosophy of Ionia starting with Thales, as well as of its chief representatives, let us proceed to examine the philosophy of Italy, which was started by Pythagoras, son of the gem-engraver Mnesarchus, and according to Hermippus, a Samian, or, according to Aristoxenus, a Tyrrhenian from one of those islands which the Athenians held after clearing them of their Tyrrhenian inhabitants. Some indeed say that he was descended through Euthyphro, Hippasus and Marmacus from Cleonymus, who was exiled from Phlius, and that, as Marmacus lived in Samos, so Pythagoras was called a Samian. 8.18. This is what they meant. Don't stir the fire with a knife: don't stir the passions or the swelling pride of the great. Don't step over the beam of a balance: don't overstep the bounds of equity and justice. Don't sit down on your bushel: have the same care of to-day and the future, a bushel being the day's ration. By not eating your heart he meant not wasting your life in troubles and pains. By saying do not turn round when you go abroad, he meant to advise those who are departing this life not to set their hearts' desire on living nor to be too much attracted by the pleasures of this life. The explanations of the rest are similar and would take too long to set out. 8.19. Above all, he forbade as food red mullet and blacktail, and he enjoined abstinence from the hearts of animals and from beans, and sometimes, according to Aristotle, even from paunch and gurnard. Some say that he contented himself with just some honey or a honeycomb or bread, never touching wine in the daytime, and with greens boiled or raw for dainties, and fish but rarely. His robe was white and spotless, his quilts of white wool, for linen had not yet reached those parts. 8.33. Right has the force of an oath, and that is why Zeus is called the God of Oaths. Virtue is harmony, and so are health and all good and God himself; this is why they say that all things are constructed according to the laws of harmony. The love of friends is just concord and equality. We should not pay equal worship to gods and heroes, but to the gods always, with reverent silence, in white robes, and after purification, to the heroes only from midday onwards. Purification is by cleansing, baptism and lustration, and by keeping clean from all deaths and births and all pollution, and abstaining from meat and flesh of animals that have died, mullets, gurnards, eggs and egg-sprung animals, beans, and the other abstinences prescribed by those who perform rites in the sanctuaries. 8.34. According to Aristotle in his work On the Pythagoreans, Pythagoras counselled abstinence from beans either because they are like the genitals, or because they are like the gates of Hades . . . as being alone unjointed, or because they are injurious, or because they are like the form of the universe, or because they belong to oligarchy, since they are used in election by lot. He bade his disciples not to pick up fallen crumbs, either in order to accustom them not to eat immoderately, or because connected with a person's death; nay, even, according to Aristophanes, crumbs belong to the heroes, for in his Heroes he says:Nor taste ye of what falls beneath the board !Another of his precepts was not to eat white cocks, as being sacred to the Month and wearing suppliant garb – now supplication ranked with things good – sacred to the Month because they announce the time of day; and again white represents the nature of the good, black the nature of evil. Not to touch such fish as were sacred; for it is not right that gods and men should be allotted the same things, any more than free men and slaves. 8.35. Not to break bread; for once friends used to meet over one loaf, as the barbarians do even to this day; and you should not divide bread which brings them together; some give as the explanation of this that it has reference to the judgement of the dead in Hades, others that bread makes cowards in war, others again that it is from it that the whole world begins.He held that the most beautiful figure is the sphere among solids, and the circle among plane figures. Old age may be compared to everything that is decreasing, while youth is one with increase. Health means retention of the form, disease its destruction. of salt he said it should be brought to table to remind us of what is right; for salt preserves whatever it finds, and it arises from the purest sources, sun and sea.
10. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 256 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

11. Iamblichus, Protrepticus, 21 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

12. Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras, 38, 42, 47, 37 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

37. His utterances were of two kinds, plain or symbolical. His teaching was twofold: of his disciples some were called Students, and others Hearers. The Students learned the fuller and more exactly elaborate reasons of science, while the Hearers heard only the chief heads of learning, without more detailed explanations. SPAN
13. Golden Verses (Pseudo-Pythagoras), Carmen Aurem, 11, 9-10

14. Heraclitus Lesbius, Fragments, None



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acusmata Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 545
acusmata (pythagorean), dietary taboos Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12
acusmata (pythagorean), history of interpretation Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6, 15
acusmata (pythagorean), interpretation of ethical allegories Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12, 13, 14, 15
acusmata (pythagorean), religious precepts Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9
acusmata (pythagorean) Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15
anger, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
asia minor deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
boehm, f. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97; Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6, 9, 13, 15
burkert, w. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
burkert, walter Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6, 9, 15
courage (andreia), in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
damon and phintias Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 545
david deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
death, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13, 15
diet, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12
egypt Nihan and Frevel, Purity and the Forming of Religious Traditions in the Ancient Mediterranean World and Ancient Judaism (2013) 283
friends and friendship Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 545
friendship (philia), pythagorean Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
fritz, k. von Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
funerary practices, pythagorean Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9
gemelli marciano, m. l. Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9
harmony, in pythagoreanism Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 14
heraclitus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
hymn Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 85
iconography deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
idleness and sloth Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 15
in the morning Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 85
judea Nihan and Frevel, Purity and the Forming of Religious Traditions in the Ancient Mediterranean World and Ancient Judaism (2013) 283
justice (dikē), in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12
killing, in pythagoreanism Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9
kirk, g.s. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
marriage, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12, 14
metempsychosis (transmigration of soul, reincarnation), pythagoreanism Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12
music deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
oaths, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 12, 14
orpheus / david / christ deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
orphism Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
parker, r. Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
phronēsis (wisdom, intelligence) Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 14
pindar Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
pleasure (ἡδονή\u200e), in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
porphyry Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
procreation of children Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 14
purity Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6
pythagoras Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
pythagoras / (neo-)pythagoreanism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
pythagoreanism xxv, acumsatici and mathematici Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6, 15
pythagoreanism xxv, and friendship Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 13
pythagoreanism xxv, and mystery cults Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9
pythagoreanism xxv, table of opposites Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 14
raven, j.e. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
religion, in pythagorean acusmata Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 9, 14
schofield, m. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97
singing Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 85
slander Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 14
syncretism deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
thom, j. c. Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 6
timaeus of tauromenium Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 545
zeus deJauregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010), 120
zhmud, l.' Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 97