The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Pythagoras

PYTHAGORAS.

iStob. Eel. Phys. p. 206 ; wore teal Sidvoiai rives ical TrccOrj ovk t(j>3 t'j/mv etVti', Arist. Etli. End. ii. 8) ; man's soul being a possession of the gods, con­fined at present, by way of chastisement, in the body, as a species of prison, from which he has no right to free himself by suicide (Plat. Pliaed. p. 61 ; Cic. de Sen. 20). With the idea of divine influence was closely connected that of the influence of daemons and heroes (Diog. Laert. viii. 32). Great importance was attached to the influence of music in controlling the force of the passions (Plut. de Is. et Os. p. 384 ; Porph. Vit. Pytli. 30 ; Iambi. 64). Self-examination was strongly insisted on (Cic. de Sen. 11). Virtue was regarded as a kind of harmony or health of the soul (Diog. Lae'rt. viii. 33). Precepts for the practice of virtue were ex­pressed in various obscure, symbolical forms, many of which, though with the admixture of much that is of later origin, have come down to us in the so-called VE7T7] xPvff°i and elsewhere (Brandis, /. c. p. 498, note 9). The transmigration of souls was viewed apparently in the light of a process of pu­rification. Souls under the dominion of sensuality either passed into the bodies of animals, or, if in­curable, were thrust down into Tartarus, to meet with expiation, or condign punishment. The pure were exalted to higher modes of life, and at last attained to incorporeal existence (Arist. de An. i. 2, 3 ; Herod, ii. 123 ; Diog. Lae'rt. viii. 31 ; Lo-beck, Aglaoph. p. 893. What we find in Plato, Phaedr. p. 248, b., and in Pindar, Thren. fr. 4, Olymp. ii. 68, is probably in the main Pythagorean). As regards the fruits of this system of training or belief, it is interesting to remark, that wherever we have notices of distinguished Pythagoreans, we usually hear of them as men of great uprightness, conscientiousness, and self-restraint, and as capable of devoted and enduring friendship. [See archy-tas ; cleinias ; damon ; phintias.]

For some account of the very extensive literature connected with Pythagoras, &c., the reader is re­ferred to Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i, pp. 750—804. The best of the modern authorities have been al­ready repeatedly referred to.

Besides a Samian pugilist of the name of Py­thagoras, who gained a victory in 01. 48, and who has been frequently identified with the philosopher, Fabriciiis (1. c. p. 776, &c.) enumerates about twenty more individuals of the same name, who are, however, not worth inserting. [C. P. M.]

PYTHAGORAS (HvOaySpas), artists. 1. Of Rhegium, one of the most celebrated statuaries of Greece. Pausanias, who calls him " excellent in the plastic art, if any other was so," gives the following as his artistic genealogy (vi. 4. § 2. s. 4) —

Syadras and Chartas of Sparta.

Eucheirus of Corinth. Clearchus of Rhegium.

Pythagoras of Rhegium.

His precise date is difficult to fix. In Pliny's list he is placed at 01. 87 (b. c. 432) with Ageladas, Gallon, Polycletus, Myron, Scopas, and others. (H.N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.) How little dependence is to be placed on Pliny's chronological groups of artists, we have had occasion more than once to notice, and the very names now mentioned furnish a suf-vql. in.

625

PYTHAGORAS.

ficient proof. It is indeed possible, as Sillig pro­poses, to apply the statement of Pliny to Py­thagoras of Samos ; but, as Pliny does not say which of the two artists he refers to, it is natural to suppose that he means the more distinguished one. We are inclined to believe that Pliny's reason for placing Pythagoras at this date was the circumstance which he afterwards mentions (ft c. §4), that Pythagoras was in part contemporary with Myron, whose true date was 01. 87. The genealogy quoted above from Pausanias affords us no assistance, as the dates of the other artists in it depend on that of Pythagoras.

Most of the modern writers on ancient art attempt to determine the date of Pj^thagoras by his statues of Olympic victors. This test is, how­ever, not a certain one ; for there are several instances of such statues not having been made until a considerable time after the victory. Still, at a period when art was flourishing, and "when the making of these statues formed one of its most important branches, the presumption is that an Olympic victor would not be allowed to remain long without the honour of a statue ; and therefore the date of the victory may be taken as a guide to that of the artist, where there is no de­cisive evidence to the contrary. Now, in the case of Pythagoras, one of his most celebrated works was the statue of the Olympic victor Astylus of Croton, who conquered in the single and double foot-race in three successive Olympiads, and on the last two of these occasions he caused himself to be proclaimed as a Syracusan? in order to gratify Hiero. (Paus. vi. 13. § 1.) Now, supposing (as is natural) that this was during the time that Hiero was king (b, c. 478—467, 01. 75. 3—78. 2), the last victory of Astylus must have been either in 01. 77, or 01. 78 ; or, even if we admit that Hiero was not yet king, and place the last victory of Astylus in 01. 75 (Muller, Dorier, Chron. tab.), the earliest date at which we should be compelled to place Pythagoras would be about b. c. 480, and, comparing this with Pliny's date, we should have b. c. 480—430 as the time during which he flourished. This result agrees very well with the indications furnished by his other statues of Olympic victors, by his contest with Myron, and by the statements respecting the character of his art.

According to Diogenes Lae'rtius (viii. 47), Py­thagoras was the first who paid special attention to order and proportion in his art ; and Pliny states that he was the first who expressed with care and accuracy the muscles and veins and hair (Plin. /. c. § 4). Hence it would seem that he was the chief representative of that school of improved development in statuary, which preceded the schools of perfect art which were established at Athens and at Argos respectively by Pheidias and Polycleitus ; and that, while Ageladas was pre­paring the way for this perfection of art in Greece Proper, another school was growing up in Magna Graecia, which attained to its highest fame in Pythagoras ; who, in his statues of athletes, prac­tised those very principles of art, as applied to the human figure, which Polycleitus brought to per­fection ; and who lived long enough to gain a vic­tory over one of the most celebrated masters of the ^new Attic school, namely Myron.

The most important works of Pythagoras, as has just been intimated, appear to have been his statues of athletes. Unfortunately, the passage in

s s

Pages
About | First

623

624

625
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.