absent from Epirus six years. In 273 he invaded Macedonia, chiefly for the purpose of getting money and plunder to reward his soldiers, and soon became master of it. He was next persuaded to make war upon Sparta, which offered a desperate resistance to him, so that he was obliged to abandon it for the time and take up his winter quarters in Laconia. Meantime he was invited to Argos by Aristeas, the head of one faction there, as Aristippus was of the other. On his march thither the Spartans under Areus molested him greatly; and his son Ptolemy, who had been left behind to oppose Areus, was slain, which caused the father to turn back and slay the man who had killed him. By night Aristeas admitted Pyrrhus within Argos; on which the Argives sent to Antigonus, and Areus also arrived with a body of Spartans. At daybreak, Pyrrhus seeing the danger of his situation, wished to get out of the city; but in making the attempt, assisted by one of his sons, he was killed by an old woman, who hurled down upon him a huge tile from her house roof. Thus died Pyrrhus, 273 B.C. He was the greatest general of antiquity, next to Hannibal. As a man and king he contrasts favourably with the monarchs of antiquity. Ambitious he was, and fond of glory; but his temper and disposition were generous. Had he been able to make a right use of victory, he might have been exceedingly powerful; but he became restlessly intent on new conquests as soon as he had succeeded in that he was engaged in.—S. D.
PYTHAGORAS was born in the island of Samos about 584 B.C. His life, as it has been transmitted to us, is for the most part fabulous. It was first drawn up in the early centuries of the christian era by the Alexandrian philosophers Porphyry and Jamblichus, and was designed to counteract the influence and the pretensions of the new religion, by ascribing to the man whom it depicted powers equally extraordinary with those possessed by the Saviour of mankind. The authentic particulars of his life are but scanty. During his early manhood he lived under the dominion of Polycrates, the ruler of the island of Samos. It is of this ruler that Herodotus relates an anecdote curiously illustrative of the superstitious feelings and simple manners of these times. The good fortune of Polycrates had for long been so uninterrupted that his friend Amasis, king of Egypt, took alarm, and counselled him to disarm the jealousy of the gods by sacrificing something which was most dear to him. Polycrates threw into the sea a ring which he prized very highly. A few days afterwards a fish was caught and taken for sale to the palace. On being cut open the ring was found in its stomach, and restored to its owner; whereupon Amasis renounced the friendship of Polycrates as of one doomed to perish miserably, a prediction which was verified in the sequel. Ovid informs us that the tyranny of Polycrates drove Pythagoras from Samos; but it is uncertain whether personal ill usage, or a mere dislike to arbitrary government, was the cause of his self-imposed banishment. He travelled for some time in the Peloponnesus; and it was here, in conversation with Leon the ruler of Phlius, that he invented and applied to himself the term "philosopher." Hitherto the Greek sages had been styled "wise men;" now, and henceforward, they adopted the humbler title of " lovers of wisdom."—(Cicero Tusc. Disp., v. 3.) It is probable that Pythagoras continued his travels into Egypt, and that he derived from the Egyptian priests his conception of the society which he afterwards organized, and which is known as the Pythagorean bond or league. This society was moral and educational, and to some extent political. It bore the impress of a priestly or monkish order. Uniformity and strictness were its groundwork. Before admittance to the order the members had to go through a probation of five years, during which time they had to keep silence, or at least indulge in no idle or unprofitable talk. Their clothing, their food, their occupation, their rising up and their lying down, all were determined by rule. Each hour had its allotted work. Homer and Hesiod were learned by heart. Music and gymnastics were continually practised. It was thought that constant occupation of any kind was a better check on our evil inclinations than any mere struggling against them. These truths seem now-a-days sufficiently trite; but in those early times it was a great matter to bring men to a common understanding, and to the acknowledgment and observance of certain universal rules. This was an essential step in their civilization. Pythagoras settled down at Crotona, one of those Greek colonial settlements in Southern Italy which at this time far surpassed any city in the mother country in literature, opulence, and refinement. Here he expounded his philosophy, and established the society of which mention has been made. It exercised, as was to be expected, great influence on the morals and manners of the inhabitants of Crotona; but it also excited much jealousy and opposition. Its aristocratical, and somewhat exclusive character, was inconsistent with the citizen-life of the Greeks. People dislike those who either are or pretend to be better than their neighbours; and hence the Pythagorean league became unpopular, particularly with the democratical party at Crotona. Commotions arose. Pythagoras was either killed in one of these insurrections, or, by another account, he starved himself to death at Metapontum, 504 B.C.
The Pythagorean philosophy has come down to us under two manifestations, an earlier and a later. Under both forms its data are very meagre and obscure. Pythagoras left no writings behind him, and in the hands of his later admirers his doctrines degenerated into a mystical symbolism which is utterly incomprehensible. The earlier form of the philosophy, in so far as it is extant, is preserved in the fragments of Philolaus, a contemporary of Socrates, and in a few short notices by Aristotle. For the later form Sextus Empiricus, who lived in the first half of the third century, a.c., may be referred to. Aristotle lays down the general principle of the Pythagoreans in the following terms—"Number, according to them, is the essence of all things; and the organization of the universe, in its various determinations, is a harmonious system of numbers and their relations." It seems at first sight a marvellous piece of foolishness that a philosopher should ascribe to empty unsubstantial number a higher degree of reality than he allows to the bright and solid objects which constitute the universe of matter. The apparent paradox is resolved when we consider the kind of truth which the philosopher is in quest of. He is not searching for truth as it presents itself to intellects constituted in a particular way, furnished, for example, with such senses as ours. If that were what he was in quest of, he would very soon find what he wanted in the solid earth and the glowing skies. But that is not what he is in quest of. He is seeking for truth as it presents itself to intellect universally—that is, to intellect not provided with human senses. And this being his aim, he conceives that such truth is to be found in the category of number, while it is not to be found in stocks and stones, and chairs and tables—for these are true only to some minds, that is, to minds with human senses; but the other is true to all minds, whatever senses they may have, and whether they have any senses at all or not. Slightly changed, the line of Pope might be taken as their motto by the Pythagoreans—
" We think in numbers, for the numbers come."
They come whether we will or not. Whatever we think,think of under some form either of unity or multiplicity. This explanation seems to relieve the Pythagorean principle from all tincture of absurdity, and to render it intelligible if not convincing. Admit that truth and reality are rather to be found in what is true for all minds than in what is true for some minds; and admit further that number is true for all minds, and that material things are not true for all minds (but only for minds with senses); and what more is required to prove that truth and reality are rather to be found in number than in material things. The whole confusion and misapprehension with which the Pythagorean and Platonic, and many other systems, have at all periods been overlaid, have their origin in an oversight as to the kind of truth which philosophy aims at apprehending. Philosophers themselves have seldom or never explained the nature of the end which they had in view, even when they were most intently bent on its attainment. Hence they seem to run themselves into absurdities; and hence their readers are bewildered or repelled. But let it be borne in mind that the end which philosophy pursues is the truth as it exists for intellect universal, and not for intellect particular; for intellect unmodified, and not for intellect modified; for intellect whether with senses like ours, or with senses totally different; and the apparent paradoxes of the Pythagorean, and other ancient philosophies, will be changed generally into articles of intelligible belief, and will stand out for the most part as grand and unquestionable verities.—J. F. F.