Chapters 10-11

The Policies for Boys and Women

by Iamblichus Icon

Pythagoras advised the boys to neither revile any one, nor take vengeance on those that reviled.

He likewise exhorted them to pay diligent attention to learning, which derives its appellation from their age.

He added, that it was easy for a modest youth to preserve probity through the whole of life; but that it was difficult for one to accomplish this, who was not naturally well disposed at that age; or rather it is impossible that he who begins his course from a bad impulse, should run well to the end.

He observed that boys were most dear to divinity. Hence, in times of great drought, they were sent by cities to implore rain from the Gods, in consequence of the persuasion that divinity is especially attentive to children; though such as are permitted to be continually conversant with sacred ceremonies, scarcely obtain purification in perfection.

From this cause also, the most philanthropic of the Gods, Apollo and Love, are universally represented in pictures as having the age of boys.

Some of the games in which the conquerors are crowned, were instituted on account of boys; the Pythian, indeed, in consequence of the serpent Python being slain by a boy; but the Nemean and Isthmian, on account of the death of Archemorus and Melicerta.

While the city of Crotona was building, Apollo promised to the founder, that he would give him a progeny, if he brought a colony into Italy; from which inferring that Apollo providentially attended to the propagation of them, and that all the Gods paid attention to every age, they ought to render themselves worthy of their friendship.

He added, that they should exercise themselves in hearing, in order that they may be able to speak. And farther still, that as soon as they have entered into the path in which they intend to proceed to old age, they should follow the steps of those that preceded them, and never contradict those that are older than themselves.

For thus hereafter, they will justly think it right that neither should they be injured by their juniors. On account of these exhortations, it must be confessed that he deserved not to be called by his own name, but that all men should denominate him divine.

Chapter 11: Policies for Women

But to the women he is said to have discoursed concerning sacrifices as follows=

In the first place indeed, as they would wish that another person who intended to pray for them, should be worthy and good, because the Gods attend to such as these;

thus also it is requisite that they should in the highest degree esteem equity and modesty, in order that the Gods may be readily disposed to hear their prayers.

Next, they should offer to the Gods such things as they have produced with their own hands, and should bring them to the altars without the assistance of servants, such as cakes, honey-combs, and frankincense.

But they should not worship divinity with blood and dead bodies, nor offer many things at one time, as if they never meant to sacrifice again.

With respect also to their association with men, he exhorted them to consider that their parents granted to the female nature, that they should love their husbands in a greater degree than those who were the sources of their existence. That in consequence of this, they would do well either not to oppose their husbands, or to think that they have then vanquished, when they submit to them.

In the same assembly, Pythagoras observed that it is holy for a woman, after having been connected with her husband, to perform sacred rites on the same day.

But that this is never holy, after she has been connected with any other man.

He also exhorted the women to use words of good omen through the whole of life, and to endeavor that others may predict good things of them.

He likewise admonished them not to destroy popular renown, nor to blame the writers of fables, who surveying the justice of women, from their accommodating others with garments and ornaments, without a witness, when it is necessary for some other person to use them, and that neither litigation nor contradiction are produced from this confidence,—have feigned, that three women used but one eye in common, on account of the facility of their communion with each other.

He farther observed, that he who is called the wisest of all others, and who gave arrangement to the human voice, and in short, was the inventor of names, whether he was a God or a dæmon, or a certain divine man,[13] perceiving 37 that the genus of women is most adapted to piety, gave to each of their ages the appellation of some God.

Hence he called an unmarried woman Core, i. e. Proserpine; but a bride, Nympha; the woman who has brought forth children, Mater; and a grandmother, according to the Doric dialect, Maia. In conformity to which also, the oracles in Dodona and at Delphi, are unfolded in to light through a woman.

But through this praise pertaining to piety, Pythagoras is said to have produced so great a change in female attire, that the women no longer dared to clothe themselves with costly garments, but consecrated many myriads of their vestments in the temple of Juno.

The effect also of this discourse is said to have been such, that about the region of the Crotonians the fidelity of the husband to the wife was universally celebrated; [imitating in this respect] Ulysses, who would not receive immortality from Calypso, on condition that he should abandon Penelope. Pythagoras therefore also observed, that it remained for the women to exhibit their probity to their husbands, in order that they might be equally celebrated with Ulysses.

Through the above-mentioned discourses, Pythagoras obtained great honor and esteem, both in the city of the Crotonians and throughout Italy.


No comments yet. Post a comment in the form at the bottom.

Latest Articles

How to Fix Ukraine
How to Fix Ukraine
The Age of the Universe
The Age of the Universe
Material Superphysics
The End of Capitalism (and Marxism)
The End of Capitalism (and Marxism)
The Elastic Theory of Gravity
The Elastic Theory of Gravity
Material Superphysics

Latest Simplifications

Nova Organum by Francis Bacon
Nova Organum by Francis Bacon
The Analects by Confucius
The Analects by Confucius
The Quran by The Prophet Mohammad
The Quran by The Prophet Mohammad

All Superphysics principles in our books

The Simplified Series

Developing a new science and the systems that use that science isn't easy. Please help Superphysics develop its theories and systems faster by donating via GCash