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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6757
Iamblichus, Life Of Pythagoras, 15


nanConceiving, however, that the first attention which should be paid to men, is that which takes place through the senses; as when some one perceives beautiful figures and forms, or hears beautiful rythms and melodies, he established that to be the first erudition which subsists through music, and also through certain melodies and rythms, from which the remedies of human manners and passions are obtained, together with those harmonies of the powers of the soul which it possessed from the first. He likewise devised medicines calculated to repress and expel the diseases both of bodies and souls. And by Jupiter that which deserves to be mentioned above all these particulars is this, that he arranged and adapted for his disciples what are called apparatus and contrectations, divinely contriving mixtures of certain diatonic, chromatic, and euharmonic melodies, through which he easily transferred and circularly led the passions of the soul into a contrary direction, when they had recently and in an irrational and clandestine manner been formed; such as sorrow, rage, and pity, absurd emulation and fear, all-various desires, angers, and appetites, pride, supineness, and vehemence. For he corrected each of these by the rule of virtue, attempering them through appropriate melodies, as 44through certain salutary medicines. In the evening, likewise, when his disciples were retiring to sleep, he liberated them by these means from diurnal perturbations and tumults, and purified their intellective power from the influxive and effluxive waves of a corporeal nature; rendered their sleep quiet, and their dreams pleasing and prophetic. But when they again rose from their bed, he freed them from nocturnal heaviness, relaxation and torpor, through certain peculiar songs and modulations, produced either by simply striking the lyre, or employing the voice. Pythagoras, however, did not procure for himself a thing of this kind through instruments or the voice, but employing a certain ineffable divinity, and which it is difficult to apprehend, he extended his ears, and fixed his intellect in the sublime symphonies of the world, he alone hearing and understanding, as it appears, the universal harmony and consonance of the spheres, and the stars that are moved through them, and which produce a fuller and more intense melody than any thing effected by mortal sounds.[17] This melody also was the result of 45dissimilar and variously differing sounds, celerities, magnitudes, and intervals, arranged with reference 46to each other in a certain most musical ratio, and thus producing a most gentle, and at the same time variously beautiful motion and convolution. Being therefore irrigated as it were with this melody, having the reason of his intellect well arranged through it, and as I may say, exercised, he determined to exhibit certain images of these things to his disciples as much as possible, especially producing an imitation of them through instruments, and through the mere voice alone. For he conceived that by him alone, of all the inhabitants of the earth, the mundane sounds were understood and heard, and this from a natural fountain itself and root. He therefore thought himself worthy to be 47taught, and to learn something about the celestial orbs, and to be assimilated to them by desire and imitation, as being the only one on the earth adapted to this by the conformation of his body, through the dæmoniacal power that inspired him. But he apprehended that other men ought to be satisfied in looking to him, and the gifts he possessed, and in being benefited and corrected through images and examples, in consequence of their inability to comprehend truly the first and genuine archetypes of things. Just, indeed, as to those who are incapable of looking intently at the sun, through the transcendent splendor of his rays, we contrive to exhibit the eclipses of that luminary, either in the profundity of still water, or through melted pitch, or through some darkly-splendid mirror; sparing the imbecility of their eyes, and devising a method of representing a certain repercussive light, though less intense than its archetype, to those who are delighted with a thing of this kind. Empedocles also appears to have obscurely signified this about Pythagoras, and the illustrious and divinely-gifted conformation of his body above that of other men, when he says:“There was a man among them [i. e. among the Pythagoreans] who was transcendent in knowledge, who possessed the most ample stores of intellectual wealth, and who was in the most eminent degree the adjutor of the works of the wise. For when he extended all the powers of his intellect, he easily 48beheld every thing, as far as to ten or twenty ages of the human race.”For the words transcendent, and he beheld every thing, and the wealth of intellect, and the like, especially exhibit the illustrious nature of the conformation of his mind and body, and its superior accuracy in seeing, and hearing, and in intellectual perception.


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

20 results
1. Hesiod, Theogony, 182 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

182. And of it shaped a sickle, then relayed
2. Homer, Iliad, 18.485-18.488 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

18.485. /and therein all the constellations wherewith heaven is crowned—the Pleiades, and the Hyades and the mighty Orion, and the Bear, that men call also the Wain, that circleth ever in her place, and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean. 18.486. /and therein all the constellations wherewith heaven is crowned—the Pleiades, and the Hyades and the mighty Orion, and the Bear, that men call also the Wain, that circleth ever in her place, and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean. 18.487. /and therein all the constellations wherewith heaven is crowned—the Pleiades, and the Hyades and the mighty Orion, and the Bear, that men call also the Wain, that circleth ever in her place, and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean. 18.488. /and therein all the constellations wherewith heaven is crowned—the Pleiades, and the Hyades and the mighty Orion, and the Bear, that men call also the Wain, that circleth ever in her place, and watcheth Orion, and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean.
3. Homer, Odyssey, 5.273-5.277 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

4. Heraclitus of Ephesus, Fragments, None (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

5. Euripides, Medea, 1390, 1389 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1389. The curse of our sons’ avenging spirit and of Justice
6. Herodotus, Histories, 4.95 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

4.95. I understand from the Greeks who live beside the Hellespont and Pontus, that this Salmoxis was a man who was once a slave in Samos, his master being Pythagoras son of Mnesarchus; ,then, after being freed and gaining great wealth, he returned to his own country. Now the Thracians were a poor and backward people, but this Salmoxis knew Ionian ways and a more advanced way of life than the Thracian; for he had consorted with Greeks, and moreover with one of the greatest Greek teachers, Pythagoras; ,therefore he made a hall, where he entertained and fed the leaders among his countrymen, and taught them that neither he nor his guests nor any of their descendants would ever die, but that they would go to a place where they would live forever and have all good things. ,While he was doing as I have said and teaching this doctrine, he was meanwhile making an underground chamber. When this was finished, he vanished from the sight of the Thracians, and went down into the underground chamber, where he lived for three years, ,while the Thracians wished him back and mourned him for dead; then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and thus they came to believe what Salmoxis had told them. Such is the Greek story about him.
7. Isocrates, Busiris, 28 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

8. Plato, Hipparchus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

228c. they still do now. He dispatched a fifty-oared galley for Anacreon of Teos, and brought him into our city. Simonides of Ceos he always had about him, prevailing on him by plenteous fees and gifts. All this he did from a wish to educate the citizens, in order that he might have subjects of the highest excellence; for he thought it not right to grudge wisdom to any, so noble and good was he. And when his people in the city had been educated and were admiring him for his wisdom
9. Plato, Phaedrus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

246b. of good descent, but those of other races are mixed; and first the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair, and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome. Now we must try to tell why a living being is called mortal or immortal. Soul, considered collectively, has the care of all that which is soulless, and it traverses the whole heaven, appearing sometimes in one form and sometimes in another; now when it is perfect
10. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

41a. and of Cronos and Rhea were born Zeus and Hera and all those who are, as we know, called their brethren; and of these again, other descendants.
11. Sophocles, Ajax, 1390 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

12. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.383 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

13. Strabo, Geography, 7.3.5 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

7.3.5. In fact, it is said that a certain man of the Getae, Zamolxis by name, had been a slave to Pythagoras, and had learned some things about the heavenly bodies from him, as also certain other things from the Egyptians, for in his wanderings he had gone even as far as Egypt; and when he came on back to his home-land he was eagerly courted by the rulers and the people of the tribe, because he could make predictions from the celestial signs; and at last he persuaded the king to take him as a partner in the government, on the ground that he was competent to report the will of the gods; and although at the outset he was only made a priest of the god who was most honored in their country, yet afterwards he was even addressed as god, and having taken possession of a certain cavernous place that was inaccessible to anyone else he spent his life there, only rarely meeting with any people outside except the king and his own attendants; and the king cooperated with him, because he saw that the people paid much more attention to himself than before, in the belief that the decrees which he promulgated were in accordance with the counsel of the gods. This custom persisted even down to our own time, because some man of that character was always to be found, who, though in fact only a counsellor to the king, was called god among the Getae. And the people took up the notion that the mountain was sacred and they so call it, but its name is Cogaeonum, like that of the river which flows past it. So, too, at the time when Byrebistas, against whom already the Deified Caesar had prepared to make an expedition, was reigning over the Getae, the office in question was held by Decaeneus, and somehow or other the Pythagorean doctrine of abstention from eating any living thing still survived as taught by Zamolxis.
14. Artemidorus, Oneirocritica, 2.37 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

15. New Testament, Luke, 9.62 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9.62. But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.
16. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 8.2-8.3 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8.2. From Samos he went, it is said, to Lesbos with an introduction to Pherecydes from his uncle Zoilus. He had three silver flagons made and took them as presents to each of the priests of Egypt. He had brothers, of whom Eunomus was the elder and Tyrrhenus the second; he also had a slave, Zamolxis, who is worshipped, so says Herodotus, by the Getans, as Cronos. He was a pupil, as already stated, of Pherecydes of Syros, after whose death he went to Samos to be the pupil of Hermodamas, Creophylus's descendant, a man already advanced in years. While still young, so eager was he for knowledge, he left his own country and had himself initiated into all the mysteries and rites not only of Greece but also of foreign countries. 8.3. Now he was in Egypt when Polycrates sent him a letter of introduction to Amasis; he learnt the Egyptian language, so we learn from Antiphon in his book On Men of Outstanding Merit, and he also journeyed among the Chaldaeans and Magi. Then while in Crete he went down into the cave of Ida with Epimenides; he also entered the Egyptian sanctuaries, and was told their secret lore concerning the gods. After that he returned to Samos to find his country under the tyranny of Polycrates; so he sailed away to Croton in Italy, and there he laid down a constitution for the Italian Greeks, and he and his followers were held in great estimation; for, being nearly three hundred in number, so well did they govern the state that its constitution was in effect a true aristocracy (government by the best).
17. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 14, 146, 19, 25, 13 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

13. Moreover, if we may believe in so many ancient and credible historians as have written concerning him, the words of Pythagoras contained something of a recalling and admonitory nature, which extended as far as to irrational animals; by which it may be inferred that learning predominates in those endued with intellect, since it tames even wild beasts, and those which are considered to be deprived of reason. For it is said that Pythagoras detained the Daunian bear which had most severely injured the inhabitants, and that having gently stroked it with his hand for a long time, fed it with maze and acorns, and compelled it by an oath no longer to touch any living thing, he dismissed it. But the bear immediately after hid herself in the mountains and woods, and was never seen from that time to attack any irrational animal. Perceiving likewise an ox at Tarentum feeding in a pasture, and eating among other things green beans, he advised the herdsman to tell the ox to abstain from the beans. The herdsman, however, laughed at him, and said that he did not understand the language of oxen, but if Pythagoras did, it was in vain to advise him to speak to the ox, but fit that he himself should advise the animal to abstain from such food. Pythagoras therefore, approaching to 41the ear of the ox, and whispering in it for a long time, not only caused him then to refrain from beans, but it is said that he never after tasted them. This ox also lived for a long time at Tarentum near the temple of Juno, where it remained when it was old, and was called the sacred ox of Pythagoras. It was also fed by those that came to it with human food. When likewise he happened to be conversing with his familiars about birds, symbols, and prodigies, and was observing that all these are the messengers of the Gods, sent by them to those men who are truly dear to the Gods, he is said to have brought down an eagle that was flying over Olympia, and after gently stroking, to have dismissed it. Through these things, therefore, and other things similar to these, he demonstrated that he possessed the same dominion as Orpheus, over savage animals, and that he allured and detained them by the power of voice proceeding from the mouth.
18. Papyri, Papyri Graecae Magicae, 4.2857 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

19. Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras, 6 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

6. As to his knowledge, it is said that he learned the mathematical sciences from the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Phoenicians; for of' old the Egyptians excelled, in geometry, the Phoenicians in numbers and proportions, and the Chaldeans of astronomical theorems, divine rites, and worship of the Gods; other secrets concerning the course of life he received and learned from the Magi. SPAN
20. Heraclitus Lesbius, Fragments, None



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anthropogony Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
aphrodite Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
archilochus Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
auerbach, e. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 106
bilocation Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
constellation Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
dactyls Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
death Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
delatte, a. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
deukalion Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
dionysos Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
epiphany Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
erinyes Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
great bear Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
hecataeus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
heraclitus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
hesiod Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
hipparchus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
homer Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 106; Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
huffman, c.a. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
iamblichus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 106
initiation Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
italy Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
jesus Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
justice Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
kazazis, j.n. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 106
kronos Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
looking back Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
macris, c. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
maximus of tyre Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
onomacritus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
ouranos Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
plato Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90, 106
proconnesus Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
pyrrha/aia Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124
pythagoras Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124; Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90, 106; Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 323
riedweg, c. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
road Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
sophia Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
stars Gagne, Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece (2021), 259
thracians Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 323
varro atacinus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 106
zeller, e.' Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
zeus Bremmer, Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East (2008) 124