Metamorphoses - Denis Feeney, Ovid, David Raeburn

Pythagoras was a vegetarian?

I did not know that.

According to Ovid, he was the first. Not a claim seem realistic, but that is neither here nor there.  I’m more intrigued by the fact that Ovid actually includes that particular discussion in a narrative about Pythagoras, when I suppose there are plenty of other stories about Pythagoras whose, in Ovid’s words,

“mind came close to the Gods,

remote as they are in the heavens above; what nature debarred

to human vision he saw with the eyes of the spirit within him.

All that this insight, backed by untiring effort, discovered,

he wanted to share with others. His audiences listened in wondering

silence while he explained how the universe first began,

discoursed at length upon causes, defined what Nature and God were,

showed how the snow was formed and what was the source of the lightning;

whether the winds or Jupiter thundered from clouds in collision;

the reason for earthquakes, the laws which govern the stars in their courses,

and all the secrets of nature.

Fascinating stuff.


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