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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6757
Iamblichus, Life Of Pythagoras, 34


nanSince, however, we have thus generally, and with arrangement, discussed what pertains to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans; let us after this 171narrate such scattered particulars relative to this subject, as do not fall under the above-mentioned order. It is said, therefore, that each of the Greeks who joined himself to this community of the Pythagoreans, was ordered to use his native language. For they did not approve of the use of a foreign tongue. Foreigners also united themselves to the Pythagoric sect, viz. the Messenians, the Lucani, Picentini, and the Romans. And Metrodorus the son of Thyrsus who was the father of Epicharmus,[48] and who transferred the greater part of his doctrine to medicine, says in explaining the writings of his father to his brother, that Epicharmus, and prior to him Pythagoras, conceived that the best dialect, as well as the best harmony of music, is the Doric; that the Ionic and the Æolic participate of the chromatic harmony; but that the Attic dialect is replete with this in a still greater degree. They were also of opinion, that the Doric dialect, which consists of vocal letters, is enharmonic.Fables likewise bear testimony to the antiquity of this dialect. For in these it is said that Nereus married Doris the daughter of Ocean; by whom he had fifty daughters, one of which was the mother of Achilles. Metrodorus also says, that according to 172some, Hellen was the offspring of Deucalion, who was the son of Prometheus and Pyrrha the daughter of Epimetheus; and that from him came Dorus, and Æolus. He farther observes, that he learnt from the sacred rites of the Babylonians, that Hellen was the offspring of Jupiter, and that the sons of Hellen were Dorus, Xuthus, and Æolus; with which narrations Herodotus also accords. It is difficult, however, for those in more recent times to know accurately, in particulars so ancient, which of these narrations is to be preferred. But it may be collected from each of these histories, that the Doric dialect is acknowledged to be the most ancient; that the Æolic is next to this, which received its name from Æolus; and that the Ionic ranks as the third, which derived its appellation from Ion the son of Xuthus. The Attic is the fourth, which was denominated from Creusa, the daughter of Erectheus, and is posterior to the former dialects by three generations, as it existed about the time of the Thracians, and the rape of Orithyia, as is evident from the testimony of most histories. Orpheus also, who is the most ancient of the poets, used the Doric dialect.Of medicine, however, they especially embraced the diætetic species, and in the exercise of this were most accurate. And in the first place, indeed, they endeavoured to learn the indications of symmetry, of labor, food, and repose. In the next place, 173with respect to the preparation of food, they were nearly the first who attempted to employ themselves in it, and to define the mode in which it should be performed. The Pythagoreans likewise employed cataplasms, more frequently than their predecessors; but they in a less degree approved of medicated ointments. These, however, they principally used in the cure of ulcerations. But incisions and burnings they admitted the least of all things. Some diseases also they cured by incantations. But they are said to have objected to those who expose disciplines to sale; who open their souls like the gates of an inn to every man that approaches to them; and who, if they do not thus find buyers, diffuse themselves through cities, and, in short, hire gymnasia and require a reward from young men for those things which are without price. Pythagoras, however, concealed the meaning of much that was said by him, in order that those who were genuinely instructed might clearly be partakers of it; but that others, as Homer says of Tantalus, might be pained in the midst of what they heard, in consequence of receiving no delight from thence.I think also, it was said by the Pythagoreans, respecting those who teach for the sake of reward, that they show themselves to be worse than statuaries, or those artists who perform their work sitting. For these, when some one orders them to make a 174statue of Hermes, search for wood adapted to the reception of the proper form; but those pretend that they can readily produce the works of virtue from every nature.[49] The Pythagoreans likewise said, that it is more necessary to pay attention to philosophy, than to parents and agriculture; for it is owing to the latter, indeed, that we live; but philosophers and preceptors are the causes of our living well, and becoming wise, in consequence of having discovered the right mode of discipline and instruction. Nor did they think fit either to speak or write in such a way, that their conceptions might be obvious to any casual persons; but Pythagoras is said to have taught this in the first place to those that came to him, that, being purified from all incontinence, they should preserve in silence the doctrines they had heard. It is said, therefore, that he who first divulged the theory of commensurable and incommensurable quantities, to those who were unworthy to receive it, was so hated by the Pythagoreans that they not only expelled him from their 175common association, and from living with them, but also constructed a tomb for him, as one who had migrated from the human and passed into a another life. Others also say, that the Divine Power was indignant with those who divulged the dogmas of Pythagoras: for that he perished in the sea, as an impious person, who rendered manifest the composition of the icostagonus; viz. who delivered the method of inscribing in a sphere the dodecaedron, which is one of what are called the five solid figures. But according to others, this happened to him who unfolded the doctrine of irrational and incommensurable quantities.[50] Moreover, all the Pythagoric discipline was symbolic, and resembled enigmas and riddles, consisting of apothegms, in consequence of imitating antiquity in its character; just as the truly divine and Pythian oracles appear to be in a certain respect difficult to be understood and explained, to those who carelessly receive the answers which they give. Such therefore, and so many are the indications respecting Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, which may be collected from what is disseminated about them.


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

2 results
1. Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras, 97 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

2. Photius, Bibliotheca (Library, Bibl.), 129



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 30
acts of the apostles Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 30
and Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
antiphon Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 30
chaeremon the stoic, on the egyptian priests Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 30
chryssipus Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 30
desire Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366; Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
diet Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366
disease Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366
extravagance Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366, 418
festival (festivals) Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
fish Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
honey Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366
medicine Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366
photius Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
scorpion Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291
soul' Huffman, A History of Pythagoreanism (2019) 366
sympathy, vs. antipathy Pinheiro Bierl and Beck, Anton Bierl? and Roger Beck?, Intende, Lector - Echoes of Myth, Religion and Ritual in the Ancient Novel (2013) 291