The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:44 am

METOPUS:

CONCERNING VIRTUE


MAN'S VIRTUE IS THE PERFECTION of his nature. By the proper nature of his virtue every being becomes perfect, and arrives at the summit of its excellence. Thus the virtue of the horse is that which makes the best of the horse's nature. The same reasoning also applies to details. Thus the virtue of the eyes is acuteness of vision, and this is the summit of the eyes' nature. The virtue of the ears is the acuteness of hearing, and this is the aural nature's summit. The virtue of the feet is swiftness, and this is the locomotive nature's climax.

Every virtue, however, should include these three things: reason, power, and deliberate choice. Reason indeed judges and contemplates, power prohibits and vanquishes, and deliberate choice loves and enjoys propriety. Therefore to judge and contemplate pertain to the intellectual part of the soul; to prohibit and vanquish are the peculiarity of the irrational part of the soul; and to love and enjoy propriety includes both the rational and irrational parts of the soul, for deliberate choice consists of the discursive energy of reason and appetite. Intention, therefore, pertains to the rational, but appetite to the irrational parts of the soul.

We may discern the multitude of the virtues by observing the parts of the soul; also, the growth and nature of virtue. Of the soul's parts two rank first: the rational and the irrational. It is by the rational that we judge and contemplate, by the irrational we are impelled and desire. These are either concordant or discordant [with one another], their strife and dissonance being produced by excess or defect. The rational part's victory over the irrational produces endurance and continence. When the rational leads, the irrational follows; both accord and produce virtue. That is why endurance and continence are generally accompanied by pain; for endurance resists pain, and continence pleasure. However, incontinence and effeminacy neither resist nor vanquish pleasure. That is why men fly from good through pain, but reject it through pleasure. Likewise praise and blame and everything beautiful in human conduct are produced in these parts of the soul. This explains the nature of virtue.

Let us study virtue's kinds and parts. Since the soul is divided into two parts, the rational and the irrational, the latter is also divided into two, the irascible and appetitive part. By the rational we judge and contemplate; by the irrational we are impelled and desire. The irascible part defends us and revenges incidental molestations; the appetitive directs and preserves the body's proper constitution. So we see that the numerous virtues with all their differences and peculiarities do little more than conform to the distinctive parts of the soul.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:45 am

CRITO:

ON PRUDENCE AND PROSPERITY


SUCH IS THE MUTUAL RELATION of prudence and prosperity: prudence is explainable and reasonable, orderly and definite; prosperity is unexplainable and irrational, disorderly and indefinite. In origin and power, prudence is prior to prosperity, the former governing and defining, the latter being governed and defined; but they are mutually adjusting, concurring in the same thing. For that which limits and adjusts must be explainable and reasonable, while that which is limited and adjusted is naturally unexplainable and irrational. That is how the principles of the Indefinite nature and Limit subsist in all things. Indefinites are always naturally disposed to be limited and adjusted by things possessing reason and prudence, for in relation to the latter the former stands as matter and essence. But finite things are self-adjusted and self-limited, being causal and energetic.

The mutual adjustment of these natures in different things produces a variety of adjusted substances. For in the comprehension of the whole of things, the mutual adjustment of both the motive and the passive is the world. There is no other possible way of salvation for the whole and the universe other than through the adjustment of the things generated to the divine, and of the ever passive to the ever motive. The similar adjustment in man, of the irrational to the rational part of the soul, is virtue, for this cannot exist in cases of mutual strife between the two. So also in a city, the mutual adjustment of the governors to the governed produces strength and concord. Governing is the specialty of the better nature, while being governed is more suited to the subordinate part. To both are common strength and concord. A similar mutual adjustment exists in the universe and in the family, for allurements and erudition concur with reason, and likewise pains and pleasures, prosperity and adversity.

Man's constitution is such that he needs work and rest, sorrow and gladness, prosperity and adversity. Some things draw the intellect towards wisdom and industry and keep it there; others relax and delight, rendering the intellect vigorous and prompt. Should one of these elements prevail then man's life becomes one-sided, exaggerating sorrow and difficulty or levity and smoothness. Now all these should be mutually adjusted by prudence, which discerns and distinguishes in actions the elements of the Limited and the Indefinite. That is why prudence is the mother and leader of the other virtues. For it is prudence's reason and law which organizes and harmonizes all other virtues.

In summary: the irrational and explicable are to be found in all things; the latter defines and limits, the former is defined and bounded. That which consists of both is the proper organization of the whole and the universe.

***

God fashioned man in a way such as to declare, not through the want of power or deliberate choice, that man is incapable of impulsion to beauty of conduct. In man was implanted a principle such as to combine the possible with the desirable; so that while man is the cause of power and of the possession of good, God causes reasonable impulse and incitation. So God made man tend to heaven, gave him an intellective power, implanted in him a sight called Intellect, which is capable of beholding God. For without God, it is impossible to discover what is best and most beautiful; and without Intellect we cannot see God, since every mortal nature's establishment implies a progressive loss of [immortal] Intellect. It is not God, however, who effected this, but generation, and that impulse of the soul which lacks deliberate choice.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:45 am

POLUS:

ON JUSTICE


I THINK THAT JUSTICE which subsists among men may be called the mother and nurse of the other virtues. Without it no man can be temperate, brave, or prudent. In conjunction with elegance it is the harmony and peace of the whole soul. This virtue's strength will become more manifest if we compare it to the other habits. They have a partial utility, and refer to one thing only, while this refers to a multitude and to whole systems. It conducts the whole world-government and is called providence, harmony, and Dike by the decrees of a certain genus of Gods. In a city it is justly called peace, and equitable legislation. In a house, it is the concord between husband and wife, the kindliness of the servant towards his master, and the anxious care of the master for his servant. In the body, likewise, which to all animals is the first and dearest thing, it is the health and wholeness of each part. In the soul it is the wisdom that depends from science and justice. As therefore this virtue disciplines and saves both the whole and parts of everything, mutually tuning and familiarizing all things, it surely deserves, by universal consensus, to be called the mother and nurse of all things.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:45 am

STHENIDAS THE LOCRIAN:

ON A KINGDOM


A KING SHOULD BE a wise man; thus will he be honored in the same manner as the supreme divinity, whose imitator he will be. As the Supreme is by nature the first king and potentate, so will a king be by birth and imitation. As the former rules in the universe and in the whole of things, so does the latter in the earth. While the former governs all things eternally and has a never-failing life, possessing all wisdom in himself, so the latter acquires science through time. But a king will imitate the First God in the most excellent manner if he acquires magnanimity, gravity, the restriction of his wants to but few things, and to his subjects exhibits a paternal disposition.

For it is because of this especially that the First God is called the father of both Gods and men, because he is mild to everything that is subject to him and never ceases to govern with providential regard. Nor is he satisfied with being the Maker of all things, but he is the nourisher and preceptor of everything beautiful, and the legislator to all things equally. Such also ought to be a king who on earth rules over men.

Nothing is beautiful that lacks a director or ruler. Again, no king or ruler can exist without wisdom and science. He therefore who is both a sage and a king will be an imitator and legitimate minister of God.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:46 am

ECPHANTUS THE CROTONIAN:

ON KINGS


MANY ARGUMENTS apparently prove that every being's nature is adapted to the world and the things it contains. Every animal thus conspiring [in union and consent] and having such an organization of its parts, through the attractive flux of the universe around it, effects the general ornamentation of the world and the peculiar permanence of everything it contains. Hence it is called the kosmos and is the most perfect living thing.

When we study its parts we find them many and naturally different: First, a being who is the best, both from its native alliance to the world, and in its particular divinity [containing the stars called planets, forming the first and greatest series]. Second is the nature of the divinities, in the sublunary region, where bodies move in a straight line. Third, in the earth and with us, the best being is man, of whom the most divine is a king, surpassing other men in his general being. While his body resembles that of other men, being made of the same physical matter, he was molded by the best sculptors who used him as the archetype. Hence, in a certain respect, a king is one and alone, being the production of the supernal king with whom he is always familiar, being beheld by his subjects in his kingdom as in a splendid light.

A kingdom has been said to resemble an eagle, the most excellent of winged animals, who undazzled stares at the sun. A kingdom is also similar to the sun, because it is divine, and because its exceeding splendor cannot be seen without difficulty, except by piercing eyes that are genuine. For the numerous splendors that surround it, and the dark vertigos it produces in those that gaze at it, as if they had ascended into some foreign altitude, demonstrates that their eyes are spurious. Those however who can safely arrive thither, on account of their familiarity or alliance therewith, can use it properly.

A kingdom, therefore, is something pure, genuine, uncorrupted, and because of its preeminence, divine and difficult of access. He who is established therein should naturally be most pure and lucid in his soul, that by his personal stains he may not obscure so splendid an institution, as some persons defile the most sacred places, and the impure pollute those they meet. But a king, who associates with men should be undefiled, realizing how much more divine than other things are both himself and his prerogatives; and from the divine exemplar of which he is an image, he should treat both himself and his subjects worthily.

When other men are delinquents, their most holy purification causes them to imitate their rulers, whether laws or kings. But kings who cannot on earth find anything better than their own nature to imitate should not waste time in seeking any model other or lower than God himself. No one would long search for the world, seeing that he exists in it, as a part of it; so the governor of others should not ignore him by whom he also is governed. Being ruled is the supreme ornament, inasmuch as there is nothing rulerless in the universe.

A king's manners should also be the inspiration of his government. Thus its beauty will immediately shine forth, since he who imitates God through virtue will surely be dear to him who he imitates, and much more dear will he be to his subjects. No one who is beloved by the divinity will be hated by men, since neither do the stars nor the whole world hate God. For if they hated their ruler and leader they would never obey him. But it is because he governs properly that human affairs are properly governed. The earthly king, therefore, should not be deficient in any of the virtues distinctive of the heavenly ruler.

Now as an earthly king is something foreign and external, inasmuch as he descends to men from the heavens, so likewise his virtues may be considered as works of God and descending upon him from divinity. You will find this true if you study out the whole thing from the beginning.

An earthly king obtains possession of his subjects by an agreement which is the first essential. The truth of this may be gathered from the state of affairs produced by the destruction of the usual unanimity among citizens, which indeed is much inferior to a divine and royal nature. Such natures are not oppressed by any such poverty but, conforming to intellect, they supply the wants of others, assisting them in common, being perfect in virtue. But the friendship existing in a city, and possessing a certain common end, imitates the concord of the universe. No city could be inhabited without an institution of magistrates. To effect this, however, and to preserve the city, there is a necessity of laws, a political domination, a governor and the governed. All this happens for the general good, for unanimity and the consent of the people in harmony with organic efficiency. Likewise, he who governs according to virtue is called a king, and is so in reality, since he possesses the same friendship and communion with his subjects as divinity possesses with the world and its contained natures. All benevolence, however, ought to be exerted in the first place, indeed, by the king towards his subjects; second, by the subjects towards the king; and this benevolence should be similar to that of a parent towards his child, or a shepherd towards his flock, and of the law towards the law-abiding.

For there is one virtue pertaining to the government and to the life of men. No one should through indigence solicit the assistance of others when he is able to supply himself with what nature requires. Though [in the city] there is a certain community of goods, yet everyone should live so as to be self-sufficient, which requires the aid of no others in his passage through life. If therefore it is necessary to lead an active life, it is evident that a king, though he should also consume other things, will nevertheless be self-sufficient. For he will have friends through his own virtue, and in using these, he will not use them by any virtue other than that by which he regulates his own life. For he must follow a virtue of this kind since he cannot procure anything more excellent. God, indeed, needing neither ministers nor servants, nor employing any mandate, and neither crowning nor proclaiming those that are obedient to him, or disgracing those that are disobedient, thus administers so great an empire. In a manner to me appearing most worthy of imitation, he instills into all things a most zealous desire to participate in his nature. As he is good, the most easy possible communication thereof is his only work. Those who imitate him find that this imitation enables them to accomplish everything else better. Indeed the imitation of God is the self-sufficiency of everything else, for there is an identity, and no difference between the virtues that make things acceptable to God, and those that imitate him; and is not our earthly king in a similar manner self-sufficient? By assimilating himself to one, and that the most excellent nature, he will beneficently endeavor to assimilate all his subjects to himself.

Such kings, however, as towards their subjects use violence and compulsion, entirely destroy in every individual of the community a readiness to imitate himself. Without benevolence no assimilation is possible, since benevolence particularly effaces fear. It is indeed much to be desired that human nature should not be in want of persuasion, which is the relic of human depravity, of which the temporal being called man is not destitute. Persuasion, indeed, is akin to necessity inasmuch as it is chiefly used on persons flying from necessity. But persuasion is needless with beings such as spontaneously seek the beautiful and the good.

Again, a king alone is capable of effecting this human perfection, that through imitation of the excellent man may pursue propriety and loveliness, and that those who are corrupted as if by intoxication, and who have fallen into an ignorance of the good by a bad education, may be strengthened by the king's eloquence, may have their diseased minds healed, their depravity's dazedness expelled, and may become mindful of an intimate associate, whose influence may persuade them. Though originating from undesirable seeds, yet [this royal influence] is the source of a certain good to inhabitants of this terrestrial realm, where language supplies our deficiencies in our mutual converse.

***

He who has a sacred and divine conception of things will in reality be a king. Persuaded by this, he will be the cause of all good, but of no evil. Evidently, as he is fitted for society, he will become just. For communion or association consists in equality, and in its distribution. Justice indeed precedes, but communion participates. For it is impossible for a man to be unjust and yet distribute equality, or that we should distribute equality, and yet not be adapted to association.

How is it possible that he who is self-sufficient should not be continent? For sumptuousness is the mother of incontinence, and this of wanton insolence, and from this an innumerable host of ills. But self-sufficiency is not mastered by sumptuousness, nor by any of its derivative evils, but itself being a principle, it leads all things, and is not led by any. To govern is the province of God, and also of a king, on which account indeed he is called self-sufficient; so to both it pertains not to be governed by anyone.

Evidently, these things cannot be effected without prudence, and it is manifest that the world's intellectual prudence is God. For the world reveals graceful design which would be impossible without prudence. Nor is it possible for a king without prudence to possess these virtues -- I mean justice, continence, sociability and kindred virtues.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:47 am

PEMPELUS: ON PARENTS [1]

NEITHER DIVINITY nor anyone possessing the least wisdom will ever advise anyone to neglect his parents. Hence we cannot have any statue or temple which will be considered by divinity as more precious than our fathers and grandfathers when grown feeble with age. For he who honors his parents by gifts will be recompensed by God, for without this the divinities will not pay any attention to the prayers of such parents for their children. Our parents' and progenitors' images should by us be considered much more venerable and divine than any inanimate images. For our parents, who are divine images that are animated, when they are continually adorned and worthily honored by us, pray for us, and implore the Gods to bestow on us the most excellent gifts, and do the contrary when we despise them, neither of which occurs with inanimate images. Hence he who behaves worthily towards his parents and progenitors, and other kindred, will possess the most worthy of all statues, and the best calculated to endear him to divinity. Every intelligent person, therefore, should honor and venerate his parents, and should dread their execrations and unfavorable prayers, knowing that many of them take effect.

Nature having disposed the matter thus, prudent and modest men will consider their living aged progenitors a treasure, to the extremity of life; and if they die before the children have arrived there, the latter will be longing for them. Moreover, progenitors will be terrible in the extreme to their depraved or stupid offspring. The profane person who is deaf to these considerations will by all intelligent persons be considered as odious to both Gods and men.

_______________

Notes:

1. Cf. Plato, Laws, Book II.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:48 am

PHYNTIS, DAUGHTER OF CALLICRATES:

ON WOMAN'S TEMPERANCE


A WOMAN OUGHT TO BE WHOLLY GOOD AND MODEST; but she will never be a character of this kind without virtue, which renders precious whatever contains it. The eye's virtue is sight, the ear's hearing. A horse's virtue makes it good, while the virtue of man or woman makes them worthy. A woman's principal virtue is temperance, by means of which she will be able to honor and love her husband.

Some, perhaps, may not think that it becomes a woman to philosophize, any more than it is suitable for her to ride on horseback, or to harangue in public. But I think that while there are certain employments specialized to each sex, that there are some common to both man and woman. Male avocations are to lead an army, to govern, and to harangue in public. Female avocations are to guard the house, to stay at home, to receive and minister to her husband. Her particular virtues are fortitude, justice and prudence. Both husband and wife should achieve the virtues of the body and the soul; for as bodily health is beneficial to both, so also is health of the soul. The bodily virtues, however, are health, strength, vigor of sensation, and beauty. With respect to the virtues, also, some are peculiarly suitable to men, and some to women. Fortitude and prudence regard the man more than they do the woman both on account of the bodily habits and the power of the soul, but temperance peculiarly belongs to the woman.

It would be well to know the number and quality of the things through which this virtue is acquirable by women. I think that they are five. First, temperance comes through the sanctity and piety of the marriage bed. Second, through body-adornments; third, through trips outside the house. Fourth, through refraining from celebrating the rites and mysteries of the Mother of the Gods [i.e., Cybele]. Fifth, in being cautious and moderate in sacrifices to the divinities. Of these, however, the greatest and most comprehensive cause of temperance is undefiledness of the marriage bed and to have connexion with none but her husband.

By such lawlessness she acts unjustly toward the Gods who preside over nativities, changing them from genuine to spurious assistants to her family and kindred. In the second place, she acts unjustly towards the Gods who preside over Nature, by whom she and all her kindred solemnly swore that she would lawfully associate with her husband in the association of life and the procreation of children. Third, she injures her country in not observing its decrees. It is frivolous and unpardonable, for the sake of pleasure and wayward insolence, to offend in a matter where the crime is so great that the greatest punishment, death, is ordained. All such insolent conduct ends in death. Besides, for this offence there has been discovered no purifying remedy which might turn such guilt into purity beloved by divinity, for God is most averse to the pardoning of this crime. The best indication of a woman's chastity towards her husband is her children's resemblance to their father. This suffices about the marriage bed.

As to body-ornaments, a woman's garments should be white and simple and not superfluous. They will be so if they are neither transparent nor variegated, nor woven from silk, inexpensive, and white. This will prevent excess ornamentation, luxury, and superfluity of clothes, and will avoid the imitation of depravity by others. Neither gold nor emeralds should ornament her body for they are very expensive and exhibit pride and arrogance toward the vulgar. Besides, a city governed by good laws and well organized should adjust all its interests in an equable legislation, which therefore would expel from the city the jewelers who make such things.

A woman should, besides, illuminate her face, not by powder or rouge, but by the natural glow from the towel, adorning herself with modesty rather than by art. Thus she will reflect honor both on herself and her husband.

The lower class of women should chiefly go out of their houses to sacrifice to the municipal tutelary divinity for the welfare of her husband and her kindred. Neither should a woman go out from her house at dawn or dusk, but openly when the forum is full of people, accompanied by one or at the most two servants, to see something or to shop.

As to sacrifices of the Gods, they should be frugal and suited to her ability; she should abstain from celebration of the rites and the Cybelean sacrifice performed at home, for the municipal law forbids them to women. Moreover, these rites lead to intoxication and insanity. A family mistress, presiding over domestic affairs, should be temperate and undefiled.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:48 am

A FRAGMENT OF CLINIAS

EVERY VIRTUE IS PERFECTED, as was shown in the beginning, by reason, deliberate choice, and power. Each of these, however, is by itself not a part of virtue, but its cause. Such, therefore, as have the intellective and gnostic part of virtue [i.e., the contemplative virtues], are called skillful and intelligent; but such as have its ethical and preparatory parts are called useful and equitable. Since, however, man is naturally adapted to act unjustly from exciting causes, these are three: the love of pleasure of corporeal enjoyments, avarice in the accumulation of wealth, and ambition in surpassing equals or fellows. Now it is possible to oppose to these such things as procure fear, shame, or desire in men: fear through the laws, shame through the Gods, and desire through the energies of reason. Hence youth should be taught from the very first to honor the Gods and the laws. Following these, every human work and every kind of human life, by the participation of sanctity and piety, will sail prosperously over the sea [of generation].
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:51 am

SELECT SENTENCES OF SEXTUS THE PYTHAGOREAN

SHORT ETHICAL SAYINGS were quite popular among the Pythagoreans and the Sentences of Sextus were popular in Christian circles as well. It is possible that the Sentences were compiled in Alexandria in the second century of the common era, since the earliest mention of them is found in the writings of the church father Origin; however, any guess concerning the specific date and locale of their compilation is merely speculation.

For the Greek text and translation of all 451 Sentences, see The Sentences of Sextus, edited and translated by Richard A. Edwards and Robert A. Wild, Chico, CA. Scholars Press, 1981.

THE SENTENCES OF SEXTUS

1. To neglect things of the smallest consequence is not the least thing in human life.

2. The sage and the despiser of wealth most resemble God.

3. Do not investigate the name of God because you will not find it. For everything called by a name receives its appellation from that which is more worthy than itself, so that it is one person that calls and another that hears. Who is it, therefore, who has given a name to God? The word "God" is not a name of his, but an indication of what we conceive of him.

4. God is a light incapable of receiving its opposite.

5. You have in yourself something similar to God, and therefore use yourself as the temple of God, on account of that which in you resembles God.

6. Honor God above all things that he may rule over you.

7. Whatever you honor above all things, that which you so honor will have dominion over you.

8. The greatest honor which can be paid to God is to know and imitate him.

9. There is not anything, indeed, which wholly resembles God; nevertheless, the imitation of him as much as possible by an inferior nature is grateful to him.

10. God, indeed, is not in want of anything, but the wise man is in want of God alone. He, therefore, who is in want of but few things, and those necessary, emulates him who is in want of nothing.

11. Endeavor to be great in the estimation of divinity, but among men avoid envy.

12. The sage whose estimation with men was but small while he was living will be renowned when he is dead.

13. Consider lost all the time in which you do not think of divinity.

14.A good intellect is the choir of divinity.

15. A bad intellect is the choir of evil spirits.

16. Honor that which is just on this very account that it is just.

17. You will not be concealed from divinity when you act unjustly, nor even when you think of acting so.

18. The foundation of piety is continence, but the summit of piety is to love God.

19. Wish that what is expedient and not what is pleasing may happen to you.

20. Such as you wish your neighbor to be to you, such also be to your neighbors.

21. That which God gives you none can take away.

22. Neither do nor even think of that which you are unwilling God should know.

23. Before you do anything think of God, that his light may precede your energies.

24. The soul is illuminated by the recollection of God.

25. The use of animal food is indifferent, but it is more rational to abstain from it.

26. God is not the author of any evil.

27. You should not possess more than the use of the body requires.

28. Possess those things that no one can take away from you.

29. Bear that which is necessary, as it is necessary.

30. Ask God of things such as it is worthy of God to bestow.

31.The reason that is in you is the light of your life.

32. Ask from God those things that you cannot receive from man.

33. Wish that those things which labor ought to precede may be possessed by you after labor.

34. Be not anxious to please the multitude.

35.It is not proper to despise those things of which we shall be in want after the dissolution of the body.

36. Do not ask of divinity that which, when you have obtained, you cannot perpetually possess.

37. Accustom your soul after [it has conceived all that is great of] divinity, to conceive something great of itself.

38.Esteem precious nothing which a bad man can take from you.

39. He is dear to divinity who considers those things alone precious which are esteemed to be so by divinity.

40. Everything superfluous is hostile.

41. He who loves that which is not expedient will not love that which is expedient.

42. The intellect of the sage is always with divinity.

43.God dwells in the intellect of the wise man.

44.The wise man is always similar to himself.

45. Every desire is insatiable and therefore is always in want.

46.The knowledge and imitation of divinity are alone sufficient to beatitude.

47. Use lying as poison.

48.Nothing is so peculiar to wisdom as truth.

49. When you preside over men remember that divinity presides over you also.

50. Be persuaded that the end of life is to live conformably to divinity.

51.Depraved affections are the beginnings of sorrows.

52. An evil disposition is the disease of the soul, but injustice and impiety is the death of it.

53. Use all men in a way such as if, after God, you were the common curator
of all things.

54. He who uses mankind badly uses himself badly.

55. Wish that you may be able to benefit your enemies.

56.Endure all things in order that you may live conformably to God.

57. By honoring a wise man you will honor yourself.

58.In all your actions keep God before your eyes.

59.You may refuse matrimony in order to live in incessant presence with God. If, however, you know how to fight and are willing to, take a wife and beget children.

60. To live, indeed, is not in our power; but to live rightly is.

61. Be unwilling to entertain accusations against a man studious of wisdom.

62. If you wish to live successfully, you will have to avoid much in which you will come out only second-best.

63. Sweet to you should be any cup that quenches thirst.

64.Fly from intoxication as you would from insanity.

65. No good originates from the body.

66. Estimate that you are suffering a great punishment when you obtain the object of corporeal desire; for desire will never be satisfied with the attainments of any such objects.

67. Invoke God as a witness to whatever you do.

68. The bad man does not think that there is a Providence.

69. Assert that the true man is he in you who possesses wisdom.

70. The wise man participates in God.

71. Wherever that which in you is wise resides, there also is your true good.

72. That which is not harmful to the soul does not harm the man.

73. He who unjustly expels from his body a wise man, by his iniquity confers a benefit on his victim; for he is thus liberated from his bonds.

74. Only through ignorance of his soul is a man saddened by fear of death.

75. You will not possess intellect till you understand that you have it.

76. Realize that your body is the garment of your soul and then you will preserve it pure.

77. Impure daimons let not the impure soul escape them.

78.Not to every man speak of God.

79. There is danger, and no negligible one, to speak of God even the things that are true.

80.A true assertion about God is an assertion of God.

81. You should not dare to speak of God to the multitude.

82. He who does not worship God does not know him.

83. He who is worthy of God is also a God among men.

84. It is better to have nothing than to possess much and impart it to no one.

85. He who thinks that there is a God, and that he protects nothing, is no better than he who does not believe that there is a God.

86. He best honors God who makes his intellect as like God as possible.

87. He who injures none has none to fear.

88. No one who looks down to the earth is wise.

89. To lie is to deceive, and be deceived.

90. Recognize what God is, and that in you which recognizes God.

91.It is not death, but a bad life, which destroys the soul.

92. If you know him by whom you were made, you would know yourself.

93. It is not possible for a man to live conformably to divinity unless he acts modestly, well and justly.

94. Divine wisdom is true science.

95.You should not dare to speak of God to an impure soul.

96. The wise man follows God, and God follows the soul of the wise man.

97. A king rejoices in those he governs, and therefore God rejoices in the wise man. He who governs likewise is inseparable from those he governs; and therefore God is inseparable from the soul of the wise man, which he defends and governs.

98. The wise man is governed by God, and on this account is blessed.

99. A scientific knowledge of God causes a man to use but few words.

100. To use many words in speaking of God obscures the subject.

101. The man who possesses a knowledge of God will not be very ambitious.

102. The erudite, chaste and wise soul is the prophet of the truth of God.

103. Accustom yourself always to look to the Divinity.

104. A wise intellect is the mirror of God.
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Re: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:52 am

SELECT PYTHAGOREAN SENTENCES

1. From the Exhortation to Philosophy of Iamblichus


105. As we live through soul, it must be said that by the virtue of this we do live well; just as because we see through the eyes, we see well through their virtues.

106. It must not be thought that gold can be injured by rust, or virtue by baseness.

107. We should betake ourselves to virtue as to an inviolable temple, so that we may not be exposed to any ignoble insolence of soul with respect to our communion with, and continuance in life.

108. We should confide in virtue as in a chaste wife, but trust to fortune as an inconstant mistress.

109. It is better that virtue should be received accompanied by poverty, than wealth with violence; and frugality with health, than voracity with disease.

110. An overabundance of food is harmful to the body, but the body is preserved when the soul is disposed in a becoming manner.

111. It is as dangerous to give power to a depraved man as it is to give a sword to a madman.

112. As it is better for a part of the body that contains purulent decay to be burned than to continue as it is, thus also is it better for a depraved man to die than to continue to live.

113. The theorems of philosophy are to be enjoyed as much as possible, as if they were ambrosia and nectar. For the resultant pleasure is genuine, incorruptible and divine. They are also capable of producing magnanimity, and though they cannot make us eternal, yet they enable us to obtain a scientific knowledge of eternal natures.

114. If vigor of sensation is, as it is, considered to be desirable, so much more strenuously should we endeavor to obtain prudence; for it is, as it were, the sensitive vigor of the practical intellect, which we contain. And as through the former we are not deceived in sensible perceptions, so through the latter we avoid false reasonings in practical affairs.

115. We shall properly venerate Divinity if we purify our intellect from vice as from a stain.

116. A temple should, indeed, be adorned with gifts, but the soul with disciplines.

117. As the lesser mysteries are to be delivered before the greater. thus also discipline must precede philosophy.

118. The fruits of the earth, indeed, appear annually, but the fruits of philosophy ripen at all seasons.

119.As he who wishes the best fruit must pay most attention to the land, so must the greatest attention be paid to the soul if it is to produce fruits worthy of its nature.

2. From Stobaeus

120. Do not even think of doing what ought not to be done.

121. Choose rather to be strong in soul than in body.

122. Be sure that laborious things contribute to virtue more than do pleasurable things.

123. Every passion of the soul is most hostile to its salvation.

124. Pythagoras said that it is most difficult simultaneously to walk in many paths of life.

125.Pythagoras said that we must choose the best life, for custom will make it pleasant. Wealth is a weak anchor, glory still weaker, and similarly with the body, dominion, and honor. Which anchors are strong? Prudence, magnanimity and fortitude; these can be shaken by no tempest. This is the law of God: that virtue is the only thing strong, all else is a trifle.

126. All the parts of human life, just as those of a statue, should be beautiful.

127. As a statue stands immovable on its pedestal, so should stand a man on his deliberate choice, if he is worthy.

128. Incense is for the Gods, but praise for good men.

129. Men unfairly accused of acting unjustly should be defended, while those who excel should be praised.

130. It is not the sumptuous adornment of the horse that earns him praise, but rather the nature of the horse himself; nor is the man worthy merely because he owns great wealth, but rather because his soul is generous.

131. When the wise man opens his mouth the beauties of his soul present themselves to view as the statues in a temple.

132. Remind yourself that all men assert wisdom is the greatest good, but that there are few who strenuously endeavor to obtain this greatest good. -- Pythagoras.

133. Be sober, and remember to be disposed to believe, for these are the nerves of wisdom. -- Epicharmus.

134. It is better to live lying on the grass, confiding in divinity and yourself, than to lie on a golden bed with perturbation.

135. You will not be in want of anything, which is in the power of Fortune to give or take away. -- Pythagoras.

136. Despise all those things which you will not want when liberated from the body; and exercising yourself in those things of which you will be in want when liberated from the body, be sure to invoke the Gods to become your helpers. Pythagoras.

137. It is as impossible to conceal fire in a garment as a base deviation from rectitude in time. -- Demophilus, rather than Socrates.

138. Wind increases fire, but custom increases love. -- Demophilus, rather than Socrates.

139. Only those are dear to divinity who are hostile to injustice. -- Democritus or Demophilus.

140. Bodily necessities are easily procured by anybody without labor or molestation; but those things whose attainment demands effort and trouble are objects of desire not to the body, but to depraved opinion. -- Aristoxenus the Pythagorean.

141. Thus spoke Pythagoras of desire: This passion is various, laborious and very multiform. Of desires, however, some are acquired and artificial, while others are inborn. Desire is a certain tendency and impulse of the soul, and an appetite of fullness, or presence of sense, or of an emptiness and absence of it, and of non-perception. The three best known kinds of depraved desire are the improper, the unproportionate, and the unseasonable. For desire is either immediately indecorous, troublesome or illiberal; or if not absolutely so, it is improperly vehement and persistent. Or, in the third place, it is impelled at an improper time, or towards improper objects. -- Aristoxenus.

142. Pythagoras said: Endeavor not to conceal your errors by words, but to remedy them by reproofs.

143. Pythagoras said: It is not so difficult to err, as not to reprove him who errs.

144. As a bodily disease cannot be healed, if it is concealed or praised, thus also can neither a remedy be applied to a diseased soul which is badly guarded and protected. -- Pythagoras.

145. The grace of freedom of speech, like beauty in season, is productive of great delight.

146. To have a blunt sword is as improper as to use ineffectual freedom of speech.

147. Neither is the sun to be taken from the world, nor freedom of speech from erudition.

148. As one who is clothed with a cheap robe may have a good habit of body, thus also may he whose life is poor possess freedom of speech.

149. Pythagoras said: Prefer those that reprove to those that flatter; but avoid flatterers as much as enemies.

150. The life of the avaricious resembles a funeral banquet. For though it has all desirable elements no one rejoices.

151. Pythagoras said: Acquire continence as the greatest strength and wealth.

152. "Not frequently man from man," is one of the exhortations of Pythagoras, by which obscurely he signifies that it is not proper frequently to engage sexual connections.

153. Pythagoras said: A slave to his passions cannot possibly be free.

154. Pythagoras said that intoxication is the preparation for insanity.

155. On being asked how a wine-lover might be cured of intoxication Pythagoras said, "If he frequently considers what were his actions during intoxication."

156. Pythagoras said that unless you had something better than silence to say, you had better keep silence.

157. Pythagoras said that rather than utter an idle word you had better throw a stone in vain.

158. Pythagoras said, "Say not few things in many words, but much in few words."

159. Epicharmus said, "To men genius is a divinity, either good or evil."

160. On being asked how a man ought to behave towards his country when it had acted unjustly towards him, Pythagoras said, "As to a mother."

161. Traveling teaches a man frugality and self-sufficiency. The sweetest remedies for hunger and weariness are bread made of milk and flour, on a bed of grass. -- Attributed to Democritus, but probably Democrates or Demophilus.

162.Every land is equally suitable as a residence for the wise man; the worthy soul's fatherland is the whole world. Ibid.

163. Pythagoras said that into cities enter first, luxury; then being glutted; then lascivious insolence; and last, destruction.

164. Pythagoras said that the best city was that which contained the worthiest man.

165. "You should do those things that you judge to be beautiful, though in doing them you should lack renown, for the rabble is a bad judge of a good thing. Wherefore despise the reprehension of those whose praise you despise." -- Pythagoras.

166. Pythagoras said that "Those who do not punish bad men are really wishing that good men be injured."

167. Pythagoras said, "Not without a bridle can a horse be governed, and no less riches without prudence."

168. The prosperous man who is vain is no better than the driver of a race on a slippery road. -- Attributed to Socrates, but probably Democrates or Demophilus.

169. There is not any gate of wealth so secure which the opportunity of Fortune may not open. -- Attributed to Democritus, but probably Democrates or Demophilus.

170. The unrestrained grief of a torpid soul may be expelled by reasoning. -- Democrates, not Democritus.

171. Poverty should be born with equanimity by a wise man. -- Democrates, not Democritus.

172. Pythagoras said: Spare your life, lest you consume it with sorrow and care.

173. Favorinus, in speaking of old age, said, "Nor will I be silent as to this particular, that both to Plato and Pythagoras it appeared that old age was not to be considered with reference to an egress from the present life, but to the beginning of a blessed one."

3. From Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, Book 3.

174. Philolaus said that the ancient theologians and priests testified that the soul is united to the body as through a certain punishment, and that it is buried in this body as a sepulchre.

175. Pythagoras said that "Whatever we see when awake is death, and when asleep is a dream."
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