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Headword: Πυθαγόρας
Adler number: pi,3122
Translated headword: Pythagoras
Vetting Status: high
of Ephesus. After having conspiratorially destroyed the regime called that of the Basilidae,[1] he emerged as a very harsh tyrant. To the people and the [sc.] wider masses[2] he seemed to be -- and was -- a source of gratification, simultaneously buoying up their hopes with promises while distributing to them only meagre profits; at any rate, for those who enjoyed prestige and power he was completely unendurable, since he plundered and confiscated their properties. But he also did not hesitate to punish innocent people in the harshest ways and to have them killed without the slightest mercy; for his madness reached such a point; and his passion for money [was] limitless; and he was very susceptible to slanders leveled against the people close to him. That would have been sufficient for him to perish in the worst way on earth, but besides, he also showed disrespect for religion. At any rate, very many of the previously-mentioned people, whom he moved against, he killed in the temples. However he did not dare to take by force the daughter of one of these men, who had sought refuge in the sanctuary, but he had her put under constant surveillance and exhausted her to the point that [sc. only] by hanging herself did the girl escape from hunger. Accordingly what followed was a community-wide plague and food-shortage; and Pythagoras, very concerned for himself, sent to Delphi and sought a solution of the misfortunes. [The Pythia] declared that he should erect a temple and take care of [burying] the dead.[3] He lived before the Persian [king] Cyrus,[4] as Baton records.
Greek Original:
Πυθαγόρας, Ἐφέσιος, καταλύσας δι' ἐπιβουλῆς τὴν τῶν Βασιλιδῶν καλουμένην ἀρχὴν ἀνεφάνη τε τύραννος πικρότατος, καὶ τῷ μὲν δήμῳ καὶ τῇ πληθύϊ ἦν τε καὶ ἐδόκει κεχαρισμένος, ἅμα τὰ μὲν αὐτοὺς ἐπελπίζων ὑποσχέσεσι, τὰ δὲ ὑποσπείρων αὐτοῖς ὀλίγα κέρδη: τούς γε μὴν ἐν ἀξιώσει τε καὶ δυνάμει περισυλῶν καὶ δημεύων φορητὸς οὐδαμὰ οὐδαμῆ ἦν. καὶ κολάσαι δὲ πικρότατα οὐκ ἂν ὤκνησε καὶ ἀφειδέστατα ἀποκτεῖναι οὐδὲν ἀδικοῦντας: ἐξελύττησε γὰρ εἰς ταῦτα: ἔρως τε χρημάτων ἄμετρος: καὶ διαβολαῖς ταῖς ἐς τοὺς πλησίους ἐκριπισθῆναι κουφότατος ἦν. ἀπέχρησε μὲν οὖν καὶ ταῦτα ἂν κάκιστα ἀνθρώπων ἀπολέσαι αὐτόν, ἤδη δὲ καὶ τοῦ θείου κατεφρόνει. τῶν γοῦν προειρημένων, οἷς ἐπέθετο, παμπόλλους ἐν τοῖς ναοῖς ἀπέκτεινεν, ἑνὸς δὲ τὴν θυγατέρα καταφυγούσαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν ἀναστῆσαι μὲν αὐτὴν βιαίως οὐκ ἐτόλμησε, συνεχῆ δὲ φυλακὴν ἐπιστήσας ἐξετρύχωσεν ἄρα ἐς τοσοῦτον, ὡς βρόχῳ τὴν κόρην τὸν λιμὸν ἀποδρᾶναι. οὐκοῦν ἠκολούθησε δημοσίᾳ νόσος καὶ τροφῶν ἀπορία, καὶ σαλεύων ὑπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ ὁ Πυθαγόρας εἰς Δελφοὺς ἀπέστειλε καὶ ᾔτει λύσιν τῶν κακῶν. ἡ δὲ ἔφη νεὼν ἀναστῆσαι καὶ κηδεῦσαι τοὺς νεκρούς. ἦν δὲ πρὸ Κύρου τοῦ Πέρσου, ὥς φησι Βάτων.
This individual is known only from the present passage, which is Aelian fr. 51a Domingo-Forasté (fr. 48 Hercher, lines 1-23); see also alpha 2085, alpha 3109, etc.
Its ultimate source, named at the end, is the Hellenistic historian Baton of Sinope, FGrH 268; this is F3, from his work On the Tyrants in Ephesus (title in Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 7.289C [7.33 Kaibel]).
[1] Aristotle, Politics 1305b19 appears to mention an oligarchic regime of this name in early Erythrae. Jacoby rejects suggestions that Pythagoras himself came from there (rather than from Ephesus). Perhaps, instead, it is Aristotle's text (actually transmitted as ἐν ῥύθραις ) which needs emendation; but more probably such a name, with its regal overtones, was not confined to one place.
[2] This distinction is not totally clear.
[3] This consultation is Q82 in J. Fontenrose, The Delphic Oracle (Berkeley 1978), with comment at pp.76-77 there. 'Probably the new temple is meant to be that of Artemis Ephesia, built in the sixth century'(F.).
[4] kappa 2777, kappa 2778.
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; ethics; food; geography; historiography; history; medicine; politics; religion; women
Translated by: Antonella Ippolito on 5 December 2005@23:20:07.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation) on 6 December 2005@21:02:02.
David Whitehead (changes to translation; modified and augmented notes; added more keywords) on 7 December 2005@04:06:50.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 7 December 2005@22:11:26.
David Whitehead (further typos) on 8 December 2005@02:57:14.
Catharine Roth (updated reference) on 24 March 2012@00:57:42.
David Whitehead (added missing note number; other tweaking) on 8 June 2012@03:23:27.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 23 June 2013@02:01:34.
David Whitehead on 23 October 2013@07:57:47.
David Whitehead (expanded a ref) on 15 January 2015@10:40:25.


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