The Truth about Pythagoreans

Aristophon, fr.9 (The Pythagorean, from Athenaeus, 4.161f)

“Dear Gods! Do we believe that the ancient Pythagoreans,
–the real Pythagoreans, I mean–were willingly filthy,
that they happily wore rough robes?
I don’t think that any of this is true.
Instead, because they had nothing, by necessity
they discovered a noble pretext for their poverty
and established rules suitable for poor men.
But if you offer them fish or meat
And they don’t nearly eat their fingers too,
I’ll let you hang me ten times.”

πρὸς τῶν θεῶν, οἰόμεθα τοὺς πάλαι ποτὲ
τοὺς Πυθαγοριστὰς γινομένους ὄντως ῥυπᾶν
ἑκόντας ἢ φορεῖν τρίβωνας ἡδέως;
οὐκ ἔστι τούτων οὐδέν, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ·
ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἀνάγκης, οὐκ ἔχοντες οὐδὲ ἕν,
τῆς εὐτελείας πρόφασιν εὑρόντες καλὴν
ὅρους ἔπηξαν τοῖς πένησι χρησίμους.
ἐπεὶ παράθες αὐτοῖσιν ἰχθῦς ἢ κρέας,
κἂν μὴ κατεσθίωσι καὶ τοὺς δακτύλους,
ἐθέλω κρέμασθαι δεκάκις.

Image result for pythagoreans

Aristophon the Comic poet (late 4th BCE), not to be confused with the earlier Attic orator from Azenia or the painter from Thasos.

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