COMMUNITY AND CHASTITY
What Pythagoras said to the youths in the Gymnasium, these reported to their elders. Hereupon these latter, a thousand strong, called him into the senate-house, praised him for what he had said to their sons, and desired him to unfold to the public administration any thoughts advantageous to the Crotonians, which he might have.
His first advice was to build a temple to the Muses, which would preserve the already existing concord. He observed to them that all of these divinities were grouped together by their common name, that they subsisted only in conjunction with each other, that they specially rejoiced in social honors, and that (in spite of all changes) the choir of the Muses subsisted always one and the same. They comprehended symphony, harmony, rhythm, and all things breeding concord. Not only to beautiful theorems does their power extend, but to the general symphonius harmony.
(Justice) was the next desideratum. Their common country was not to be victimized selfishly, but to be received as a common deposit from the multitude of citizens. They should therefore govern it in a manner such that, as an hereditary possession they might transmit it into their posterity. This could best be effected if the members of the administration realised their equality with the citizens, with the only supereminence of justice. It is from the common recognition that justice is required in every place, that were created the fables that Themis seated in the same order with Jupiter, and that Dice, or rightness, is seated by Pluto, and that Law is established in all cities, so that whoever is unjust in things required of him by his position in society, may concurrently appear unjust towards the whole world. Moreover, senators should not make use of any of the Gods for the purpose of an oath, inasmuch as their language should be such as to make them credible even without any oaths.
As to their domestic affairs, their government should be the object of deliberate choice. They should show genuine affection to their own offspring, remembering that these, from among all animals, were the only ones who could appreciate this affection. Their associations with their partners in life, their wives, should be such as to be mindful that while other compacts are engraved in tables and pillars, the uxorial ones are incarnated in children. They should moreover make an effort to win the affection of their children, not merely in a natural, involuntary manner, but through deliberate choice, which alone merits beneficence.
He further besought them to avoid connexion with any but their wives; lest, angered by their husbands' neglect and vice, these should not get even by adulterating the race. They should also consider that they received their wives from the Vestal hearth with libations, and brought them home in the presence of the Gods themselves as suppliants would have done. Also that by orderly conduct and temperance they should become model not only for their family, but also for their community.
Again, they should minimize public vice, lest offenders indulge in secret sins to escape the punishment of the laws, but should, rather be impelled to justice from reverence for beauty and propriety. Procrastination also was to be ended inasmuch as opportuneness was the best part of any deed. The separation of parents from their children Pythagoras considered the greatest of evils. While he who is able to discern what is advantageous to himself may be considered the best man, next to him in excellence should be ranked he who can see the utility in what happens to others; while the worst man was he who waited till he himself was afflicted before under standing where true advantage lies. Seekers of honor might well imitate racers, who do not injure their antagonists, but limit themselves to trying to achieve the victory themselves. Administrators of public affairs should not betray offense at being contradicted, but on the other hand benefit the tractable. Seekers of true glory should strive really to become what they wished to seem; for counsel is not as sacred as praise, the former being useful only among men, while the latter mostly referred to the divinities.
In closing, he reminded those that their city happened to have been founded by Hercules, at a time when, having been injured by Lacinius, he drove the oxen through Italy; when, rendering assistance to Croton by night, mistaking him for an enemy he slew him unintentionally. Wherefore Hercules promised that a city should be built over the sepulchre of Croton and from him derive the name Crotona, thus endowing him with immortality. Therefore, said Pythagoras to the rulers of the city, these should justly render thanks for the benefits they had received.
The Crotonians, on hearing his words built a temple to the Muses, and drove away their concubines, and requested Pythagoras to address the young men in the temple of Pyhian Apollo, and the women in the temple of Juno.