DEATH OF PYTHAGORAS
Pythagoras died in this manner. When he was sitting with some of his companions in Milo's house, some of those whom he did not think worthy of admission into it, was by envy excited to set fire to it. But some say that the people of Crotona themselves did this, being afraid lest he might aspire to the tyranny. Pythagoras was caught as he was trying to escape; and coming to a place full of beans, he stopped there, saying that it was better to be caught than to trample on the beans, and better to be slain than to speak; and so he was murdered by those who were pursuing him. In this way also, most of his companions were slain; being about forty in number; but that a very few did escape, among whom were Archippus of Tarentum, and Lysis, whom I have mentioned before.
But Dicaearchus states that Pythagoras died later, having escaped as far as the temple of the Muses at Metapontum, where he died of starvation, after forty days. Heraclides, in his abridgment of the Life of Satyrus, says that after he had buried Pherecydes at Delos, he returned to Italy, and there finding a superb banquet prepared at the house of Milo, of Crotona, he left that city or Metapontum, where, not wishing any longer to live, he put an end to his life by starvation. But Hermippus says that when there was war between the Agrigentiries and the Syracusans, Pythagoras, with his usual companions, joined the Agrigentine army, which was put to flight. Coming up against a field of beans, instead of crossing it, he ran around it, and so was slain by the Syracusans; and that the rest, about thirty-five in number, were burned at Tarentum, where they were trying to excite a sedition in the state against the principal magistrates.
Hermippus also relates another story about Pythagoras. When in Italy, he made a subterranean apartment, and charged his mother to write an account of everything that took place, marking the time of each on a tablet, then sending them down to him until he came up again. His mother did so. Then after a certain time Pythagoras came up again, lean, and reduced to a skeleton; he came into the public assembly, and said that he had arrived from the shades below, and then he recited to them all that had happened to them in the meanwhile. Being charmed with what he told them, they believed that Pythagoras was a divine being, so they wept and lamented, and even entrusted to him their wives, as likely to learn some good from him; and they took upon themselves the name of Pythagoreans. Thus far Hermippus.