Book: Numbers Their Occult Power And Mystic Virtues by William Wynn WestcottPythagoras, one of the greatest philosophers of ancient Europe, was the son of Mnesarchus,an engraver. He was born about the year 580 B.C.,either at Samos, an island in the Aegean Sea, or, as some say, at Sidon in Phoenicia. Very little is known of his early life, beyond the fact that he won prizes for feats of agility at the Olympic Games. Having attained manhood and feeling dissatisfied with the amount of knowledge to be gained at home, he left his native land and spent many years in travel, visiting in turn most of the great centers of Learning.
History narrates that his pilgrimage in search of wisdom extended to Egypt, Hindostan, Persia, Crete and Palestine, and that he gathered from each country fresh stores of information, and succeeded in becoming well acquainted with the Esoteric Wisdom as well as with the popular exoteric knowledge of each.
The school of Pythagoras has several peculiar characteristics. Every new member was obliged to pass a period of five years of contemplation in perfect silence; the members held everything in common, and rejected animal food; they were believers in the doctrine of metempsychosis, and were inspired with an ardent and implicit faith in their founder and teacher.
No person was permitted to commit to writing any tenet, or secret doctrine, and, so far as is known, no pupil ever broke the rule until after his death and the dispersion of the school.
The most striking peculiarities of his doctrines are dependent on the mathematical conceptions, numerical ideas and impersonations upon which his philosophy was founded.
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