Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"... then yonder sun strings these worlds to himself on a thread. Now that thread is the same as the [solar] wind; and that wind is the same as this Vikarnî: thus when he lays down the latter, then yonder sun strings to himself these worlds on a thread." -- Yajnavalkya, gymnosophist, Satapatha Brahmana, 1st millenium B.C.
"Most people -- all, in fact, who regard the whole heaven as finite -- say it [the Earth] 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 [wandering] stars, creating night and day by its circular motion about the centre." -- Aristotle, philosopher, On The Heavens, 350 B.C.
"And some people, (of whom Satyrus is one,) say that he [Plato] sent a commission to Sicily to Dion, to buy him three books of Pythagoras from Philolaus for a hundred minae; for they say that he was in very easy circumstances, having received from Dionysius more than eighty talents [$1.6 million in 2004], as Onetor also asserts in his treatise which is entitled, Whether a Wise Man Ought to Acquire Gains." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"And as he [Pythagoras] was a young man, and devoted to learning, he quitted his country, and got initiated into all the Grecian and barbarian sacred mysteries. Accordingly, he went to Egypt, on which occasion Polycrates gave him a letter of introduction to Amasis; and he learnt the Egyptian language, as Antipho tells us, in his treatise on those men who have been conspicuous for virtue, and he associated with the Chaldeans and with the Magi [i.e. scientists]." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"Now, some people say that Pythagoras did not leave behind him a single book; but they talk foolishly; for Heraclitus, the natural philosopher, speaks plainly enough of him, saying, 'Pythagoras, the Son of Mnesarchus, was the most learned of all men in history; and having selected from these writings, he thus formed his own wisdom and extensive learning, and mischievous art.' And he speaks thus, because Pythagoras, in the beginning of his treatise on Natural Philosophy, writes in the following manner: 'By the air which I breathe, and by the water which I drink, I will not endure to be blamed on account of this discourse.'" -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"... until the time of Philolaus, there were no doctrines of Pythagoras ever divulged; and he [Philolaus] was the first [Greek] person who published the three celebrated books which Plato wrote to have purchased for him for a hundred minae." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"Philolaus was a native of Crotona, and a pupil of Pythagoras, it was from him that Plato wrote to Dion to take care and purchase the books of Pythagoras." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"He [Philolaus] wrote one book, which Hermippus reports, on the authority of some unknown writer, that Plato the philosopher purchased when he was in Sicily (having come thither to the court of Dionysius), of the relations of Philolaus, for forty Alexandrian minae of silver; and that from this book he copied his Timaeus." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"Demetrius, in his treatise on people of the same name, says that he [Philolaus] was the first of the Pythagoreans who wrote a treatise on Natural Philosophy...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century
"Monsieur Newton croit avoir decouvert assez clairement que les Anciens comme Pythagore, Platon, &c, avoient toutes les demonstrations qu'il donne du veritable Systeme du Monde...." -- Nicolas Fatio de Duiller, mathematician, February 5th 1691/2
"This [heliocentrism] was the philosophy taught of old by Philolaus, Aristarchus of Samos, Plato in his riper years, the whole sect of Pythagoreans, and that wisest king of the Romans, Numa Pompilius." -- Isaac Newton, mathematician, 1694
"This question of measurement is only one example of Newton's faith in the prisca sapientia of Ancient Egypt. He was also convinced that atomic theory, heliocentricity and gravitation had been known there [See McGuire and Rattansi (1966, p. 110)]." -- Martin Bernal, historian, 1987
"There's a tradition of scholarship that was very popular in the Renaissance called the prisca sapientia, the primal wisdom. It claimed that there was a secret wisdom that was first trasmitted by an archetypal figure--say, for example, Moses--and then passed down through the line of successors, usually including Pythagoras, Plato, and so forth, and that this wisdom was really the ultimate tool for understanding the universe. Newton clearly believed that." -- Bill Newman, historian, November 15th 2005