From Chapter VII., The Pythagoreans
138. The Pythagorean School
We know further that Philolaos wrote on "numbers"; for Speusippos followed him in the account he gave of the Pythagorean theories on that subject.11 It is probable that he busied himself mainly with arithmetic, and we can hardly doubt that his geometry was of the primitive type described in an earlier chapter. Eurytos was his disciple, and we have seen (§ 47) that his views were still very crude.
We also know now that Philolaos wrote on medicine,12 and that, while apparently influenced by the theories of the Sicilian school, he opposed them from the Pythagorean standpoint. In particular, he said that our bodies were composed only of the warm, and did not participate in the cold. It was only after birth that the cold was introduced by respiration. The connexion of this with the old Pythagorean theory is clear. Just as the Fire in the macrocosm draws in and limits the cold dark breath which surrounds the world (§ 53), so do our bodies inhale cold breath from outside. Philolaos made bile, blood, and phlegm the causes of disease; and, in accordance with this theory, he had to deny that the phlegm was cold, as the Sicilian school held. Its etymology proved it to be warm. We shall see that it was probably this preoccupation with the medicine of the Sicilian school that gave rise to some of the most striking developments of later Pythagoreanism.
1. Iambl. V. Pyth. 251. The ultimate authority for all this is Timaios. There is no need to alter the MS. reading Ἀρχύτου to Ἀρχίππου (as Diels does after Beckmann). We are dealing with a later generation, and the sentence opens with of οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ τῶν Πυθαγορείων, i.e. those other than Archippos and Lysis, who have been dealt with in the preceding section.
2. For Philolaos, see Plato, Phaed. 61 d 7; e 7; and for Lysis, Aristoxenos in Iambl. V. Pyth. 250 (R. P. 59 b).
3. Diog. viii. 79-83 (R. P. 61). Aristoxenos himself came from Taras. The story of Damon and Phintias (told by Aristoxenos) belongs to this time.
4. Diog. viii, 46 (R. P. 62).
5. The whole mise en scène of the Phaedo presupposes this, and it is quite incredible that Plato should have misrepresented the matter. Simmias and Kebes were a little younger than Plato and he could hardly have ventured to introduce them as disciples of Sokrates if they had not in fact been so. Xenophon too (Mem. i. 2. 48) includes Simmias and Kebes in his list of genuine disciples of Sokrates, and in another place (iii. 11, 7) he tells us that they had been attracted from Thebes by Sokrates and never left his side.
6. See Aristoxenos ap. Val. Max. viii. 13, ext. 3 ; and Souidas s.v.
7. See below, §§ 150-152.
8. Plato, Phaed. 61 d 6.
9. This appears to follow from the remark of Simmias in Phaed. 64 b. The whole passage would be pointless if the words φιλόσοφος, φιλοσοφεῖν, φιλοσοφία had not in some way become familiar to the ordinary Theban of the fifth century. Now Herakleides Pontikos made Pythagoras invent the word, and expound it in a conversation with Leon, tyrant of Sikyon or Phleious. Cf. Diog. i. 12 (R. P. 3), viii. 8; Cic. Tusc. v. 3. 8. Cf. also the remark of Alkidamas quoted by Arist. Rhet. B, 23. 1398 b i8, Θήβησιν ἅμα οἱ προστάται φιλόσοφοι ἐγένοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνησεν ἡ πόλις.
10. For reasons which will appear, I do not attach importance in this connexion to Philolaos, fr. 14 Diels=23 Mullach (R. P. 89), but it does seem likely that the μυθολογῶν κομψὸς ἀνήρ of Gorg. 493 a 5 (R. P. 89 b) is responsible for the whole theory there given. He is certainly, in any case, the author of the τετρημένος πίθος, which implies the same general view. Now he is called ἴσως Σικελός τις ἢ Ἰταλικός, which means he was an Italian; for the Σικελός τις is merely an allusion to the Σικελὸς κομψὸς ἀνὴρ ποτὶ τὰν ματέρ' ἔφα of Timokreon. We do not know of any Italian from whom Socrates could have learnt these views except Philolaos or one of his associates.
11. See above, Chap. II. p. 102, n. 2.
12. It is a good illustration of the defective character of our tradition (Introd. p. 26) that this was quite unknown till the publication of the extracts from Menon's Iatrika contained in the Anonymus Londinensis. See Diels in Hermes, xxviii. pp. 417 sqq.
Created for Peithô's Web from Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition (1920). London: A & C Black Ltd. Burnet's footnotes have been converted to chapter endnotes. Greek unicode text entered with Peithô's Younicoder.
Web design by Larry Clark and RSBoyes (Agathon). Peithô's Web gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Anthony Beavers in the creation of this web edition of Burnet. Please send comments to: