Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 1-2

The Early Life of Pythagoras

by Iamblichus Icon
5 minutes  • 967 words
Table of contents

All men of sound understandings call on divinity when entering any philosophic discussion.

Chapter 2: The Early Days

Ancæus dwelt in Samos in Cephallenia and was begot by Jupiter.

He surpassed the rest of the Cephallenians in wisdom and renown.

He was ordered by the Pythian oracle to form and lead a colony from Arcadia and Thessaly. He took with him some of the inhabitants of Athens, Epidaurus, and Chalcis to make the island, which they called Melamphyllos, habitable. On that island would be founded the city of Samos.

The oracle given to him, was:

Ancæus, colonise the islan d of Samos instead of Same, then call it Phyllas.

But that a colony was collected from these places, is not only indicated by the honors and sacrifices of the Gods, transferred into those regions together with the inhabitants, but also by the kindred families that dwell there, and the associations of the Samians with each other.

Mnesarchus and Pythaïs were the parents of Pythagoras. They descended from the family and alliance of Ancæus. A Samian poet says, that Pythagoras was the son of Apollo:

Pythaïs, fairest of the Samian tribe, Bore from th’embraces of the God of day Renown’d Pythagoras, the friend of Jove.

Mnesarchus came to Delphi to sell merchandize, with his wife not yet apparently pregnant.

  • He asked the oracle of his voyage to Syria.

The Pythian oracle predicted that:

  • his voyage would be lucrative and most conformable to his wishes
  • his 4 wife was now pregnant and would have a son surpassing in beauty and wisdom all that ever lived, and who would be of the greatest advantage to the human race in every thing pertaining to the life of man.

But, when considered with himself, that the God, without being interrogated concerning his son, had informed him by an oracle, that he would possess an illustrious prerogative, and a gift truly divine, he

Mnesarchus immediately changed the name of his wife from Parthenis to Pythaïs.

His child was soon born at Sidon in Phœnicia. Mnesarchus named him Pythagoras as predicted to him by the Pythian Apollo.

; signifying by this appellation, that such an offspring was . For we must not regard the assertions of

Epimenides, Eudoxus, and Xenocrates suspected that Apollo at that time was connected with Parthenis and caused her to be pregnant. They say that this led to the birth of Pythagoras. This is wrong.

Pythagoras’ soul was sent to mankind from Apollo, either:

  • as an attendant on Apollo, or
  • co-arranged with him in another more familiar way

This may be inferred from:

  • his birth, and
  • the all-various wisdom of his soul

His father Mnesarchus returned from Syria to Samos with great wealth, collected from a prosperous navigation.

  • He then built a temple to Apollo, with the inscription of Pythius.
  • He took care to have his son nourished with various and the best disciplines, by:
    • Creophilus, then
    • Pherecydes the Syrian, then
    • almost all those who presided over sacred concerns

Mnesarchus earnestly recommended Pythagoras to them, that he might be instructed in divine concerns.

His father died when he was still a youth. His aspect was most venerable, and his habits most temperate, that he was even reverenced by elderly men. He caught the attention of all those who saw and heard him speak.

Hence, people reasonably asserted that he was the son of a God.

But he being corroborated by renown of this kind, by the education which he had received from his infancy, and by his natural deiform appearance, in a still greater degree evinced that he deserved his present prerogatives. He was also adorned by piety and disciplines, by a mode of living transcendency good, by firmness of soul, and by a body in due subjection to the mandates of reason.

In all his words and actions, he discovered an inimitable quiet and serenity, not being subdued at any time by anger, or laughter, or emulation, or contention, or any other perturbation or precipitation of conduct; but he dwelt at Samos like some beneficent dæmon. Hence, while he was yet a youth, his great renown having reached Thales at Miletus, and Bias at Priene, men illustrious for their wisdom, it also extended to the neighbouring cities. To all which we may add, that the youth was every where celebrated as the long-haired Samian, and was reverenced by the multitude as one under the influence of divine inspiration.

After turning 18, he departed privately by night with Hermodamas Creophilus, the grandson of the former host, friend, and preceptor of Homer the poet, to Pherecydes, Anaximander the natural philosopher, and Thales at Miletus. This was the time when the tyranny of Policrates first appeared. He foresaw that under such a government his studies might be obstructed.

He likewise alternately associated with each of these philosophers that they all loved him, admired his natural endowments, and made him a partaker of their doctrines. After Thales had gladly admitted him to his intimate confidence, he admired the great difference between him and other young men, whom Pythagoras left far behind in every accomplishment.

Besides this, Thales increased the reputation Pythagoras had already acquired, by communicating to him such disciplines as he was able to impart= and, apologizing for his old age, and the imbecility of his body, he exhorted him to sail into Egypt, and associate with the Memphian and Diospolitan[10] priests.

He confessed that his own reputation for wisdom, was derived from the instructions of these priests; but that he was neither naturally, nor by exercise, endued with those excellent prerogatives, which were so visibly displayed in the person of Pythagoras.

Thales gladly announced to him, from all these circumstances, that he would become the wisest and most divine of all men, if he associated with these Egyptian priests.

Any Comments? Post them below!