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Pythagoras - Iamblichus's Life - Tetractys



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Iamblichus – Life of Pythagoras [translated by Thomas Taylor]

The beginning is the half of the whole

Which is an apothegm of Pythagoras himself and in this and others of a similar nature, the most divine Pythagoras has concealed the sparks of truth; depositing as in a treasury for those who are capable of being enkindled by them and with a certain brevity of diction, an extension of theory most ample and difficult to be comprehended, as in the following hemistitch:

All things accord in number

Which he very frequently uttered to all his disciples….  Or in the word cosmos or by Jupiter in the word philosophy or in the so much celebrated word tetractys.

All these and many other inventions of like kind were devised by Pythagoras for the benefit and amendment of his associates; and they were considered by those that understood them to be so venerable, and so much the progeny of divine inspiration, that the following was adopted as an oath by those that dwelt together in common auditory:

I swear by him who the tetractys found
And to our race revealed; the cause and root
And fount of ever flowing nature

This therefore was the form of his wisdom which is so admirable.

The source of the experience


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