Pythagoras as Magus Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein (Notes synthesized principally from E.M. Butler, The Myth of the Magus (New York: Cambridge University Press, Canto Edition, 1993.) Pythagoras, like many other famous men whose acts seem larger than life, was said to be the subject of a prophecy before he was born. The mythos surrounding him proclaimed he was the actual son of the god Apollo. He experienced a transcendental initiation; descended to the underworld; traveled widely; became the founder and leader of a secret society; was the object of a major conflict and persecution; and suffered a violent and mysterious end, followed in some stories by a glorious resurrection and ascension like others of his ilk. To be sure, very little is actually known about this wonder worker, because he refused to allow any of his teachings to be written down. However, he gets the credit for having actually been the origin of the geometry later attributed to Euclid, and he is said to have been the first Greek to propound the concept of reincarnation, or transmigration of the soul. He was supposed to have worked miracles, particularly with animals, taming a bear, charming an eagle, catching and dismissing venomous serpents; convincing an ox to change its behavior; and saving fishes from dying on dry land—all suggesting his connection to and sympathy with the natural world. He was also supposed to have been a healer; a wonder worker with music and charms; a charismatic speaker; and a prophet. He did what none had done before him, and prophesied with numbers. And he was, all without writing anything down, one of the greatest thinkers of his time, as well as an influence on all who came after. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily