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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6757
Iamblichus, Life Of Pythagoras, 19


nanUniversally, however, it deserves to be known, that Pythagoras discovered many paths of erudition, and that he delivered an appropriate portion of wisdom conformable to the proper nature and power of each; of which the following is the greatest argument. When Abaris, the Scythian, came from the Hyperboreans, unskilled and uninitiated in the Grecian learning, and was then of an advanced age, Pythagoras did not introduce him to erudition through various theorems, but instead of silence, auscultation for so long a time, and other trials, he immediately considered him adapted to be an auditor of his dogmas, and instructed him in the shortest way in his treatise On Nature, and in another treatise On the Gods. For Abaris came from the Hyperboreans, being a priest of the Apollo who is there worshipped, an elderly man, and most wise in sacred concerns; but at that time he was returning from Greece to his own country, in order that he might consecrate to the God in his temple among the Hyperboreans, the gold which he had collected. Passing therefore through Italy, and seeing Pythagoras, he especially assimilated him to the God of whom he was the priest. And believing that he was no other than the God himself, and that no man resembled him, but that he was truly Apollo, 67both from the venerable indications which he saw about him, and from those which the priest had known before, he gave Pythagoras a dart which he took with him when he left the temple, as a thing that would be useful to him in the difficulties that would befal him in so long a journey. For he was carried by it, in passing through inaccessible places, such as rivers, lakes, marshes, mountains, and the like, and performed through it, as it is said, lustrations, and expelled pestilence and winds from the cities that requested him to liberate them from these evils. We are informed, therefore, that Lacedæmon, after having been purified by him, was no longer infested with pestilence, though prior to this it had frequently fallen into this evil, through the baneful nature of the place in which it was built, the mountains of Taygetus producing a suffocating heat, by being situated above the city, in the same manner as Cnossus in Crete. And many other similar particulars are related of the power of Abaris. Pythagoras, however, receiving the dart, and neither being astonished at the novelty of the thing, nor asking the reason why it was given to him, but as if he was in reality a God himself, taking Abaris aside, he showed him his golden thigh, as an indication that he was not [wholly] deceived [in the opinion he had formed of him;] and having enumerated to him the several particulars that were deposited in the temple, he gave him sufficient reason to believe that he had not badly conjectured 68[in assimilating him to Apollo]. Pythagoras also added, that he came [into the regions of mortality] for the purpose of remedying and benefiting the condition of mankind, and that on this account he had assumed a human form, lest men being disturbed by the novelty of his transcendency, should avoid the discipline which he possessed. He likewise exhorted Abaris to remain in that place, and to unite with him in correcting [the lives and manners] of those with whom they might meet; but to share the gold which he had collected, in common with his associates, who were led by reason to confirm by their deeds the dogma, that the possessions of friends are common. Thus, therefore, Pythagoras unfolded to Abaris, who remained with him, as we have just now said, physiology and theology in a compendious way; and instead of divination by the entrails of beasts, he delivered to him the art of prognosticating through numbers, conceiving that this was purer, more divine, and more adapted to the celestial numbers of the Gods. He delivered also to Abaris other studies which were adapted to him. That we may return, however, to that for the sake of which the present treatise was written, Pythagoras endeavoured to correct and amend different persons, according to the nature and power of each. All such particulars therefore as these, have neither been transmitted to the knowledge of men, nor is it easy to narrate all that has been transmitted to us concerning him.


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

8 results
1. Isocrates, Busiris, 28 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

2. 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
3. Seneca The Younger, On Anger, 1.5.3 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 94.50, 95.37 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. 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).
6. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 14-15, 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.
7. 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
8. Heraclitus Lesbius, Fragments, None



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
agōn, therapeutic Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
delatte, a. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
exhortation Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
gentleness Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
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
hipparchus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
huffman, c.a. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
kindness Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
macris, c. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
onomacritus Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
persuasion, hard form of Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
philodemus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
philosopher, moral Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
physician, philosopher as Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
plato Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
pleasure Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
punishment, in moral discourse Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
pythagoras Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90; Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
pythagoreanism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
reproof Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
riedweg, c. Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90
seneca Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
vice Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
virtue Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
weapon Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
word/the word, as physician Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 235
zeller, e.' Cornelli, In Search of Pythagoreanism: Pythagoreanism as an Historiographical Category (2013) 90