Policies for the Senators

September 25, 2015

Afterwards, a thousand men having called Pythagoras into the senate-house, and praised him for what he had said to their sons. They wanted him, if he had any thing advantageous to say to the Crotonians, to unfold it to those who were the leaders of the administration.

He was also the first that advised them to build a temple to the Muses, in order that they might preserve the existing concord.

For he observed that all these divinities were called by one common name, [the Muses,] that they subsisted in conjunction with each other, especially rejoiced in common honors, and in short, that there was always one and the same choir of the Muses.

He also observed, that they comprehended in themselves symphony, harmony, rythm, and all things which procure concord.

They also evince that their power does not alone extend to the most beautiful theorems, but likewise to the symphony and harmony of things. In the next place, he said it was necessary they should apprehend that they received their country from the multitude of the citizens, as a common deposit. Hence, it was requisite they should so govern it, that they might faithfully transmit it to their posterity, as an hereditary possession. And that this would firmly be effected, if they were equal in all things to the citizens, and surpassed them in nothing else than justice.

For men knowing that every place requires justice, have asserted in fables that Themis has the same order with Jupiter, that Dice, i. e. justice, is seated by Pluto, and that Law is established in cities; in order that he who does not act justly in things which his rank in society requires him to perform, may at the same time appear to be unjust towards the whole world.

He added, it was proper that the senators should not make use of any of the Gods for the purpose of an oath, but that their language should be such as to render them worthy of belief even without oaths.

Likewise, that they should so manage their own domestic affairs, as to make the government of them the object of their deliberate choice. That they should also be genuinely disposed towards their own offspring, as being the only animals that have a sensation of this conception.

That they should so associate with a wife the companion of life, as to be mindful that other compacts are engraved in tables and pillars, but those with wives are inserted in children. That they should likewise endeavour to be beloved by their offspring, not through nature, of which they were not the causes, but through deliberate choice= for this is voluntary beneficence.

He further observed:

  • that they should be careful not to have connexion with any but their wives, in order that the wives may not bastardize the race through the neglect and vicious conduct of the husbands.
  • that they should also consider, that they received their wives from the Vestal hearth with libations, and brought them home as if they 31 were suppliants, in the presence of the Gods themselves.
  • that by orderly conduct and temperance, they should become examples both to their own families, and to the city in which they live.
  • that they should take care to prevent every one from acting viciously, lest offenders not fearing the punishment of the laws, should be concealed; and reverencing beautiful and worthy manners, they should be impelled to justice.

He also exhorted them to expel sluggishness from all their actions. Opportunity was the only good in every action.

But he defined the divulsion of parents and children from each other, to be the greatest of injuries. And said, that he should be considered as the most excellent man, who is able to foresee what will be advantageous to himself; but that he ranks as the next in excellence, who understands what is useful from things which happen to others.

But that he is the worst of men who waits for the perception of what is best, till he is himself afflicted. He likewise said, that those who wish to be honored, will not err if they imitate those that are crowned in the course= for these do not injure their antagonists, but are alone desirous that they themselves may obtain the victory.

Thus also it is fit that those who engage in the administration of public affairs, should not be offended with those that contradict them, but should benefit such as are obedient to them.

He likewise exhorted every one who aspired 32 after true glory, to be such in reality as he wished to appear to be to others= for counsel is not so sacred a thing as praise; since the former is only useful among men, but the latter is for the most part referred to the Gods.

After all this he added, that their city happened to be founded by Hercules, at that time when he drove the oxen through Italy, having been injured by Lacinius; and when giving assistance by night to Croton, he slew him through ignorance, conceiving him to be an enemy.

After which, Hercules promised that a city should be built about the sepulchre of Croton, and should be called from him Crotona, when he himself became a partaker of immortality. Hence Pythagoras said, it was fit that they should justly return thanks for the benefit they had received. But the Crotonians, on hearing this, built a temple to the Muses, and dismissed the harlots which they were accustomed to have. They also requested Pythagoras to discourse to the boys in the temple of Pythian Apollo, and to the women in the temple of Juno.


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