Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
32. Ionia and the West 34. Orphicism

From Chapter II., Science and Religion

33. The Delian Religion
The revival was not, however, a mere recrudescence of the old Aegean religion, but was profoundly influenced by the diffusion of certain ideas originating in what was then the far North. The temple legend of Delos is certainly ancient, and it connects the worship of Apollo with the Hyperboreans, who were thought of as living on the banks of the Danube.3 The "holy things wrapped in straw," which were passed on from people to people till they reached Delos by way of the head of the Adriatic, Dodona, and the Malian Gulf,4 bear witness to a real connexion between the Danubian and Aegean civilisations at an early date, and it is natural to associate this with the coming of the Achaians. The stories of Abaris the Hyperborean5 and Aristeas of Prokonnesos6 belong to the same religious movement and prove that it was based on a view of the soul which was new; so far as we can see, in the Aegean. Now the connexion of Pythagoras with Delos is well attested, and it is certain that he founded his society in cities which gloried in the Achaian name. If the Delian religion was really Achaian, we have a clue to certain things in the life of Pythagoras which are otherwise puzzling. We shall come back to these later.7

Burnet's Notes


3. Pindar, Ol. iii. 14-16.

4. Herod. iv. 33. Cf. Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, iv. pp. 99 sqq.

5. Herod. iv. 36.

6. Ibid. iv.13-15.

7. I have discussed the origin of the Pythagorist religion in the Encyctopaedia of Religion and Ethics (sv. Pythagoras) rather more fully than would be appropriate here.

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