PYTHAGORIC LIFE by IAMBLICHUS (VII)


( BEING  CONTINUED FROM  10/08/13)

CHAP. XVI.
THIS  adaptation therefore of souls was procured by him through music. But another purification of the
dianoetic part,’ and at the same time of the whole soul.
through all-various studies, was effected by him as follows : He conceived generally that labor should be
employed about disciplines and studies, and ordained like a legislator, trials of the most various nature,
punishments, and restraints by fire and sword, for  friendship, Pythagoras is acknowledged to have been
the inventor and legislator. And, in short, he was the  cause to his disciples of the most appropriate converse
with the Gods, both when they were awake and when  asleep; a thing which never takes place in a soul disturbed
by anger, or pain, or pleasure, or, by Jupiter,by any other base desize, or defiled by ignorance, which
is more unholy and noxious than all these. By all these  inventions, therefore, he divinely healed and purified
the soul, resuscitated and saved its divine part, and  conducted to the intelligible its divine eye, which, as
Plato savs, is better worth saving than ten thousand t’ corporeal eyes; for by looking through this alone, when
it is strengthened and clarified by appropriate aids, the  truth pertaining to all beings is perceived. Referring
therefore to this, Pythagoras purified the dianoetic  power of the soul. Such-also was the form with him
of erudition, and these were the things to which he  directed his view.

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CHAP. XVIII.
AFTER this we must narrate how, when he had  admitted certain persons to be his disciples, he distributed
them into different classes according to their  respective merits. For it was not fit that all of them
should equally participate of the same things, as they were naturally dissimilar; nor was it indeed right that  some should participate of all the most honorable  auditions, but others of none, or should not at all  partake of them. For this would be uncommunicative  and unjust. While therefore he imparted a convenient  portion of his discourses to each, he benefited as much
as possible all of them, and preserved the proportion of justice, by making each a partaker of the auditions
according to his desert. Hence, in conformity to this  method, he called some of them Pythagoreans, but
others Pythagorists ; just as we denominate some men  Attics, but others Atticists. Having therefore thus
aptly divided their names, some of them he considered  to be genuine, but he ordained that others should show
themselves to be the emulators of these. He ordered  therefore that with the Pythagoreans possessions should
be shared in common, and that they should always live  together ; but that each of the others should possess his
o& apart from the rest, and that assembling  together in the same place, they should mutually be at
leisure for the same pursuits. And thus each of these  modes was derived from Pythagoras, and transmitted
to his successors. Again, .there were also with the  Pythagoreans two forms of philosophy; for there were
likewise two genera of those that pursued it, the Acusmatici,and the Mathematici. Of these however the
mathematicia are acknowledged to be Pythagoreans by the rest ; but the Mathematici do not admit that the
Acusmatici are so, or that they derived their instruction  from Pythagoras, but from Hippasus. And with respect
to Hippasus, some say that he was a Crotonian, but  others a Metapontine. But the philosophy of the
Acusmatici consists in auditions unaccompanied with  demonstrations and a reasoning process; because it
merely orders a thing to be done in a certain way, and  that they should endeavour to preserve such other
things as were said by him, as so many divine dogmas.
They however profess that they will not speak of them,and that they are not to be spoken of; but they conceive those of their sect to be the best furnished with wisdom, who retained what they had heard more than others. But all these auditions are divided into three species. For some of them indeed signify what a thing is; others what it especially is; but others, what ought,
or what ought not, to be done. The auditions therefore which signify what a thing is, are such as,

What are the islands of the blessed? The sun and moon.
What is the oracle at Delphi? The tetractys.

What is harmony? That in which the Syrens subsist1? But the auditions which signify what a thing especially is,are such as, What is the most just thing ? ?to sacrifice.
What is the wisest thing? number.2 But the next to this in wisdom, is that which gives names to things.
What is the wisest of the things that are with us,[i.e. which pertain to human concerns]? Medicine.
What is the most beautiful? Harmony.

What is the most powerful? Mental decision.

what is the most  excellent? Felicity.

What is that which is most truly asserted? That men are depraved. Hence they say
that Pythagoras praised the Salaminian poet Hippodomas,because he sings:

Tell, 0 ye Gods! the source from whence you came,
Say whence, 0 men! thus evil you became ?

These therefore, and such as these, are the auditions of this kind. For each of these shows what a thing
especially is. This however is the same with what is chled the wisdom of the seven wise men. For they
investigated, not what is simply good, but what is especially so; nor what is difficult, but what is most
difficult; viz. for a man to know himself. Nor did  they investigate what is easy, but what is most easy;
viz. to do what you are accustomed to do. For it seems that such auditions as the above, are conformable
but posterior in time to such wisdom as that of the A seven wise men; since they were prior to Pythagoras.
The auditions likewise, respecting what should or should not be done, were such as; hat-it is necessary to beget
children. For it is necessary to leave those that may worship the Gods after us. That it is requisite to put  the shoe on the right foot first. That it is not proper to walk in the puplic ways, nor to dip in a sprinkling  vessel, nor to be washed in a bath. For in all these it
is immanifest, whether those who use them are pure.
Others also of this kind are the following: Do not  assist a man in laying a burden down; for it is not
proper to be the cause of not laboring; but assist him  in taking it up.

 

 

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(TO BE CONTINUED)

TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK.
BY THOMAS TAYLOR.
Approach ye genuine philosophic few,The Pythagoric Life belongs to you :
But far, far off ye vulgar herd profane ;

For Wisdom’s voice is heard by you in vain :
And you, Mind’s lowest link, and darksome end,Good Rulers, Customs, Laws, alone can mend.

PUBLISHED 1818 IN LONDON

About sooteris kyritsis

Job title: (f)PHELLOW OF SOPHIA Profession: RESEARCHER Company: ANTHROOPISMOS Favorite quote: "ITS TIME FOR KOSMOPOLITANS(=HELLINES) TO FLY IN SPACE." Interested in: Activity Partners, Friends Fashion: Classic Humor: Friendly Places lived: EN THE HIGHLANDS OF KOSMOS THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF AMENTHE
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