Biting the Snake that Bites You: Pythagoras as Prophet

Apollonios Paradoxographer, Wonder 6

“Pythagoras the son of Mnêsarkhos was present among these men, and first he was toiling over learning and arithmetic and later he did not condemn the omen reading of Pherecydes.

For also in Metapontios when a ship was approaching carrying a cargo and there were people nearby praying for it to arrive safe because of its cargo, he stood and said this, “this ship will appear to you, like a corpse carrying a body”

And again in Kaulônia, as Aristotle says when he is writing about this, he says many other things, and in Turrênia, he says he bit the deadly snake who was biting him and killed him. He also foretold the strife that occurred among the Pythagoreans. For this reason he went to Metapontios and was seen by no one.

And after crossing the river near Kosa with others he heard a great voice beyond human ability: “Hello, Pythagoras.” And those present became very frightened. He also once appeared both in Kroton and Metapontios in the same day and hour.

While he was seated once in the theater, he stretched out and showed to those who were seated that his own thigh was gold. There are other impossible stories about him too. But we should stop the account about him because we don’t want to write only about him.”

6 Τούτοις δὲ ἐπιγενόμενος Πυθαγόρας, Μνησάρχου υἱός, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον διεπονεῖτο περὶ τὰ μαθήματα καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμούς, ὕστερον δέ ποτε καὶ τῆς Φερεκύδου τερατοποιίας οὐκ ἀπέστη.

 καὶ γὰρ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ πλοίου εἰσερχομένου φορτίον ἔχοντος καὶ τῶν παρατυχόντων εὐχομένων σωστὸν ἐκεῖνο κατελθεῖν διὰ τὸν φόρτον, ἑστῶτα τοῦτον εἰπεῖν «νεκρὸν τοίνυν φανήσεται ὑμῖν σῶμα ἄγον τὸ πλοῖον τοῦτο.»

πάλιν δ’ ἐν Καυλωνίᾳ, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης <…..> γράφων περὶ αὐτοῦ πολλὰ μὲν καὶ ἄλλα λέγει, καὶ τὸν ἐν Τυρρηνίᾳ, φησίν, δάκνοντα θανάσιμον ὄφιν αὐτὸς δάκνων ἀπέκτεινεν. καὶ τὴν γινομένην δὲ στάσιν τοῖς Πυθαγορείοις προειπεῖν. διὸ καὶ εἰς Μεταπόντιον ἀπῇρεν ὑπὸ μηδενὸς θεωρηθείς.

καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ κατὰ Κόσαν ποταμοῦ διαβαίνων σὺν ἄλλοις ἤκουσε φωνὴν μεγάλην ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον «Πυθαγόρα, χαῖρε.» τοὺς δὲ παρόντας περιδεεῖς γενέσθαι.  ἐφάνη δέ ποτε καὶ ἐν Κρότωνι καὶ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ὥρᾳ.

ἐν θεάτρῳ δὲ καθήμενός ποτε ἐξανίστατο, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης, καὶ τὸν ἴδιον μηρὸν παρέφηνε τοῖς καθημένοις ὡς χρυσοῦν. λέγεται δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἄλλα τινὰ παράδοξα. ἡμεῖς δὲ μὴ βουλόμενοι μεταγραφέων ἔργον ποιεῖν αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον καταπαύσομεν.


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