The Golden Verses / The advice of the Pythagoreans

First of all, honour the gods according to the traditional customs /
and in fitting reverence honour the oath. Offer to the daimons what is theirs,/
honour thy parents and the inner circle of thy family,/
and of the others make a friend of him who most distinguishes himself
through the love of a friend./
Use gentle words and useful actions. / 5
Hate not thy friend because of a small offence,/
and try that as long) as thou canst. Ability is close to ananke. /

Make moderate use of the following things: /
First of meat, then of half-hearted deeds, of violence, /
and also of anger. Be not unjust with others / 10
and not when thou art alone. And be ashamed most of all for thyself. /
Let justice guide thee in word and deed, /
do not grow used to behaving in a loveless manner,
But understand that all of us are destined to die. /

Possessions a man gains on one occasion, on another loses them, /15
bear the portion of sorrows that come to man through divine decision
and the part allotted to thee and be not unwilling.
Thou shalt heal as far as thou canst, and remember:

Men encounter many harmful and wholesome words, /
which should not make thee afraid and which thou shouldst not let oppress thee./

When lies are told about thee, /
keep thyself calm. What I tell thee will be fulfilled: /
Let nobody convince thee nor persuade with deeds /
to do, yea, not even to say what is not for thy best. /

Seek advice (from others) before acting, so as to avoid foolishness. / 25
Speaking and doing foolish things is the work of a man without understanding. /
And do those things which are not a burden to thee later. /
Doing is better than subtle theorising, but learn all the things
of which thou hast need. And thou shalt have a joyful life. /

Do not neglect the health of thy body, / 30
and be moderate in thy use of drink and food und sport.
I call moderate that which later has no ill effects. /
Make it thy habit to take only clean and untouched foodstuffs. /

Take care to avoid doing what has hidden pains in it. /
Do not overspend at the wrong time. Learn what is beautiful / 35
and do not behave like a slave. Moderation in everything is best. /
Do that which does thee no harm, pray before acting. /

Let not sleep descent on thy soft eyelids
before thou hast examined every single work of the day: /
Where was I lacking? What have I done? Which duty have I not fulfilled? / 40
Start at the beginning, and if thou hast done something/
cowardly, be dismayed by it; rejoice at what was useful. /

Do that, practise that, that thou must love.

That will bring thee onto the divine path of virtue.

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Commentary Griechischer Urtext Tondokument
The well-known “Golden Verses” are regarded as Pythagoras’' rules for life and have been the subject of commentaries countless times over the centuries. The koinonia also knows them, but in a different form and under the title “Advice from the Pythagoreans ".

There are 44 verses. And even those 44 –though they are written in faultless Greek hexameters are not totally in agreement with the traditional “Golden Verses”.


The “Advice” is therefore a text with content that has important differences from the version of “Golden Verses” that has been known till now.

The title reveals that: the text does not go directly right back to Pythagoras, but is a versified collection of life experiences dating from a later period. And they are not commandments that absolutely must be observed, but rather "symbolai" (counsels) that could make many things in life easier.

The translation is only a rough draft and has to be worked on. A thorough commentary will follow.

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