of Samos{570-490BC}

The Indigenous Nativity & Philosphical Foundations
of that which is deemed Classical Western Science
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Autumn of 1996

The Ancient Greeks and Nature

It should be recalled that the foundations of the classical physical sciences, mathematics and geometries can be traced back to the ancient Greek philsophers and sages whose recorded wisdoms and writings were rediscovered after the Dark Ages, and upon whose philosophies and sciences the emerging western civilisation sought to rebuild knowledge "anew".

This article examines the translated historical literature specifically concerning the Pythagoras, one of the earliest of the ancient Greeks, by way of very brief summarisation of the extensive researched work of the classicist WKC Guthrie.

The following series of notes are drawn from my review of the book:
"A History of Greek Philosophy", Volume I: The Earlier PreSocratics and the Pythagoreans
- by W.K.C. GUTHRIE (Published 1962)

I have made no attempt to make the following account coherent at this stage, except for a brief index, for its purpose is largely reference material for further research and development concerning my own understanding of nature as outlined in such articles as:

Therefore, in these annotations and collection of ancient quotations from over two thousand five hundred years ago, being a resource to myself, I can appreciate the possiblity that this reference itself may be a resource to others. In the spirit of global communications and the furtherance of the age of information, I have therefore placed these notes on the web, for benefit of the students of Life ......

In an Age where terrestrial nativity is being examined with increasing sensitivity, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples of all lands are being recognised as fundamental in the ontology of planetary affairs, it is fitting to re-examine the very foundations of the generic (post-dark-age) western culture which has been the basis of educational reforms and guidelines for the archetypal approaches to intellectual and natural thinking for the last few hundred years.

Do not forget that all living beings are a native of the terrestrial planetary system, and this has been so since the beginning.

Some of the mathematical and geometrical theorems of Pythagoras are employed at the axiomatic level in the derivation of both the Special and General Relativity, and in that of Quantum Mechanics. In recognition of the fundamental importance of these works, it should be quite clear that further consideration should naturally be given to other areas in which Pythagoras expressed his "opinion of the world and cosmos" ...

Such material is that which I have attempted to place herein.


PRF Brown
BCSLS {Freshwater}
Mountain Man Graphics,
Newport Beach, Australia


  • born Samos 570 - 490 bc, moved from the tyrany of Polycrates (538) to Croton, Southern Italy.

  • fled the rebellion of the Italians against his "order of Pythagoreans" which scattered back to Greece & elsewhere

  • introduced "philosophy" as a way of life, also travelled widely.

  • When asked 'What is philosophy?' by a ruler, he reportedly gave the following answer:

  • an inscription on the temple of Apollo: "Nothing too much, observe limit"

  • Linked ... the immortality of the soul ... link to the divine ... divine fragment or spark.

  • THE COSMOS: In the ancient definition was - The World and its inherent Order".

  • philosophy is conformity with the divine - to follow God.

    The Pythagorean Mathematics of Nature:
    "HARMONY" ... a summary by Aristotle.

    Further notes by Guthrie ...

  • There is a numerical, proportional structure of the concordant notes of the scale.
  • the infinite variet and quality of sound is reduced to order by the exact and simple law of ratio in quantity.

    [Page 245]

    The Ten Pythagorean Principles

    Aristotle writes that others of this same school [Pythagoreanism] say there are 10 principles ...



    Also known as the table of the Opposites

    at restmoving

    Of the principles, Pythagoras said that the monad was God and the good, the true nature of the One, Mind itself; but the indefinite Dyad is a "daimon" and evil, concerned with material plurality. [Aet.1.7.8.dox.302]

    There is additional reference in this text by Guthrie concerning the parallels which may obviously be observed between this Pythagorean table of principles, and the outlining in the eastern lands of ancient China, concerning the TAO, and the complimentary natures of the principles of "Ying and Yang"

    These are listed as follows: Sunshine/light - darkness/shadow, masculinity - femininity, activity - passivity, heat-cold, dryness - wetness, hardness - softness, odd - even.

    It is rumoured that Pythagoras journeyed and studied amoung the Magi and Chaldeans, and with Zaroaster.

    Delineation of the point (1), the line (2), the triangle (3) and the pyramid (4). Outline of the "Fluxion Theory" whereby a moving point generates the line, the moving line generates the surface, and the moving surface - the solid figures.

    The Five Pythagorean Solid Figures


    From the account of Theoprastus [Aetius II,6,5,DK,44,a15]:

    There being five solid figures, called the mathematical solids, Pythagoras says that ...

    [Page 271]

    The Fifth Element of Nature

  • Notes from Guthrie: The truth is that the emergence of a fifth element in Greek thought was a gradual process. In bare outline, a common conception of the universe seems to have been shared by most religious and philosophical thinkers in the centuries before Plato. The cosmos, a sphere bounded by the sky, contains the conflicting "opposites" (ie: primarily the hot/the cold, the wet/the dry) which became (via Empedocles) the four root substances earth, water, air and fire.

  • The mutually destructive nature of these elements ensures that the creatures compounded of them shall be mortal. But this cosmic sphere is not the whole of existence. It floats in a circumambient substance of indefinite extent. This "surrounding" was of a pure and higher nature, everlasting, alive, and intelligent - in fact - divine.

  • Xenocrates, a student of Plato - himself educated in accordance to the Pythagorean thought, comments upon writings from Aristotle ...

  • On the life of Plato, Xenocrates writes:

    [Page 272]

    Reference to the "Counter-Earth"

    Referenced from writings by Aristotle on the Pythagoreans ... Aetius III,II,3 (DK,44a,17)

  • Pythagoreans held that the cosmos "Breathed in" from the Infinite Breath outside it: the "aither"
  • Pythagoras derived the world from the fire and the fifth element"

    The Harmony of the Spheres

    From the writings of Aristotle [DeCaelo - 290b,12ff] ...

    [Page 317]

    Pythagoras and the Nature of the Soul

    From the writings of Plato [Republic 431ff] ...

  • The soul is both an attunement or "harmonia" and also immortal.

  • The soul was of the natue of air, or breathed in with air - pneuma - the "breath-soul".

  • 'The soul is a kind of harmony, for harmony is a blend of contraries, and the body is compounded out of contraries" - Aristotle on the recorded beliefs of Pythagoras.

  • "The ancient theological writers and prophets also bear witness that the soul is yoked to the body as a punishment, and buried in it as in a tomb". - [Philolaus - Clem Alex Strom]

  • Pythagoras taught of the transmigration of the soul - man/plant/animal - and post-humous rewards for the good. It is recorded that he remembered his past lives as Aethalides (son of Hermes, whence the gift of memory), Euphobus (from the Homer epics), Hermotimus and Pyrrus (a Delian fisherman) before his birth as Pythagoras.

    Ancient insight of Heliocentricity?

    Pythagoras maintained that the fire was at the center of the cosmos. Very little if anything is known directly of his teachings due to the seclusion of his practice, the five year vow of silence required by initiates to his order. Information concerning Pythagoras is largely second hand, and the nature of the original doctrine may well be unknown, as the order scattered to many different locations after 545 bc.

    Scattered remnants however, tell an interesting story:


    The following text was written well over 2,000 years ago by Aristotle ...

    It remains to speak of the earth, of its position, of the question whether it is at rest or in motion, and of its shape.

  • I. As to its position there is some difference of opinion. Most people-all, in fact, who regard the whole heaven as finite-say it lies at the centre. But the Italian philosophers known as Pythagoreans take the contrary view. At the centre, they say, is fire, and the earth is one of the stars, creating night and day by its circular motion about the centre. They further construct another earth in opposition to ours to which they give the name counterearth. In all this they are not seeking for theories and causes to account for observed facts, but rather forcing their observations and trying to accommodate them to certain theories and opinions of their own. But there are many others who would agree that it is wrong to give the earth the central position, looking for confirmation rather to theory than to the facts of observation. Their view is that the most precious place befits the most precious thing: but fire, they say, is more precious than earth, and the limit than the intermediate, and the circumference and the centre are limits. Reasoning on this basis they take the view that it is not earth that lies at the centre of the sphere, but rather fire.

    The Pythagoreans have a further reason. They hold that the most important part of the world, which is the centre, should be most strictly guarded, and name it, or rather the fire which occupies that place, the 'Guardhouse of Zeus', as if the word 'centre' were quite unequivocal, and the centre of the mathematical figure were always the same with that of the thing or the natural centre.

    But it is better to conceive of the case of the whole heaven as analogous to that of animals, in which the centre of the animal and that of the body are different. For this reason they have no need to be so disturbed about the world, or to call in a guard for its centre: rather let them look for the centre in the other sense and tell us what it is like and where nature has set it. That centre will be something primary and precious; but to the mere position we should give the last place rather than the first. For the middle is what is defined, and what defines it is the limit, and that which contains or limits is more precious than that which is limited, see ing that the latter is the matter and the former the essence of the system.

  • II. As to the position of the earth, then, this is the view which some advance, and the views advanced concerning its rest or motion are similar. For here too there is no general agreement. All who deny that the earth lies at the centre think that it revolves about the centre, and not the earth only but, as we said before, the counter-earth as well.

    Some of them even consider it possible that there are several bodies so moving, which are invisible to us owing to the interposition of the earth. This, they say, accounts for the fact that eclipses of the moon are more frequent than eclipses of the sun: for in addition to the earth each of these moving bodies can obstruct it. Indeed, as in any case the surface of the earth is not actually a centre but distant from it a full hemisphere, there is no more difficulty, they think, in accounting for the observed facts on their view that we do not dwell at the centre, than on the common view that the earth is in the middle. Even as it is, there is nothing in the observations to suggest that we are removed from the centre by half the diameter of the earth. Others, again, say that the earth, which lies at the centre, is 'rolled', and thus in motion, about the axis of the whole heaven, So it stands written in the Timaeus.

    Other Quotes ...

    Pythagoras used to say that he had received as a gift from Mercury the perpetual transmigration of his soul, so that it was constantly transmigrating and passing into all sorts of plants or animals.

    He calls drunkenness an expression identical with ruin.

    Among what he called his precepts were such as these: Do not stir the fire with a sword. Do not sit down on a bushel. Do not devour thy heart.

    In the time of Pythagoras that proverbial phrase "Ipse dixit" was introduced into ordinary life.

    For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.

    Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.

    Further References

    PYTHAGOREAN MOSAIC: A short exposition of the musical mathematics of Pythagoras, including complete instructions on approximating the classical Greek modes on modern chromatic instruments by Don Berry.

    SCHOOL OF PYTHAGORAS: A very comprehensive site of book reviews relating to the subject matter of Pythagorean teachings, reference to OnLine Bookstores and other substantial resources. Texts reviewed include The Secret Power of Music by David Tame, Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock, Initiation by Elizabeth Haich, The Third Ear by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, Music: Physician for Times to Come edited by Don Campbell, The Healing Energies of Music by Hal A. Lingerman, Healing Sounds: The Power of Harmonics by Jonathan Goldman, The World is Sound Nada Brahma by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, The Divine Proportion by H. E. Huntley, The Power of Limits by Gyorgy Doczi, Sacred Geometry by Robert Lawlor, Homage to Pythagoras edited by Christopher Bamford, Music and the Power of Sound by Alain Danielou, The Reflexive Universe by Arthur Young, The Myth of Invariance by Ernest G. McClain, The Pythagorean Plato by Ernest G. McClain, Sacred Science by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz and The Temple of Man by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (2 volumes).

    PLATONIC SOLIDS: Some Random Thoughts about the Occult Correspondences of the Platonic Solids and Their Symmetries by Anders Sandberg in Sweden.

    THE OCTAVE OF ENERGY: An article by Robert Anton Wilson, which examines the broad spectrum of reality and concerns the the work of Dr Timothy Leary. The article concludes with the comment: It will be seen by the thoughtful reader that this emerging synthesis evades entirely the usual dichotomy of 'spiritual' versus 'material,' being purely geometric-energetic. It is thus in the same philosophical category as the unitary systems of the East (Zen, Taoism, Vedanta, etc.) and outside the dualisms of Greek logicand Christian thology. Any attempt to describe this octave as 'mystical' or as 'materialistic' misses the real point of Leary's work."

    FURTHER NOTES: Some further notes on Greek Philosophy much in the point form of the above, but better organised.

    METAPHYSICAL REVIEW: The following text is from the July 1994 Metaphysical Review, an extensive and well researched publication which has been active on the net for quite some time. I have duplicated the text hereunder to provide an immediate review of content:

    PYTHAGOREAN SOURCEBOOK: The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library - Compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, this link leads to a review of this resource book, and options for purchase.



    of Samos{570-490BC}

    The Indigenous Nativity & Philosphical Foundations
    of that which is deemed Classical Western Science
    Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Autumn of 1996