The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, by Fabre d'Olivet, , at sacred-texts.com
Pythagoras considered man under three principal modifications, like the Universe; and this is why he gave to man the name of the microcosm or the small world. a Nothing was more common among the ancient nations than to compare the Universe to a grand man, and man, to a small Universe. b The Universe, considered as a grand and animated All, composed of intelligence, soul and body, was called Pan or Phanes. c d Man, or microcosm, was composed
in the same way but in an inverse manner, of body, soul, and intelligence; and each of these three parts was, in its turn, considered under three modifications, so that the ternary ruling in the whole ruled equally in the least of its subdivisions. Each ternary, from that which embraced Immensity, to that which constituted the weakest individual was, according to Pythagoras, included in an absolute or relative Unity, and formed thus, as I have already said, the Quaternary or Sacred Tetrad of the Pythagoreans. This Quaternary was universal or particular. Pythagoras was not, however, the inventor of this doctrine: it was spread from China to the depths of Scandinavia. a One finds it likewise expressed in the oracles of Zoroaster. b
Thus, according to this doctrine, Man, considered as a relative unity contained in the absolute Unity of the Grand All, presents himself as the universal ternary, under three principal modifications, of body, soul, and spirit or intelligence. The soul, considered as the seat of the passions, is presented in its turn, under the three faculties of the rational, irascible or appetent soul. Now, in the opinion of Pythagoras, the vice of the appetent faculty of the soul is intemperance or avarice; that of the irascible faculty is cowardice; and that of the rational faculty is folly. The vice which reaches these three faculties is injustice. In order to avoid these vices, the philosopher commends four principal virtues to his disciples: temperance for the appetent faculty, courage for the irascible faculty, prudence for the rational faculty, and for these three faculties together,
justice, which he regards as the most perfect virtue of the soul. a I say the soul, because the body and the intelligence, being equally developed by means of three faculties instinctive or spiritual, as well as the soul, were susceptible of the vices and the virtues which were peculiar to them.
161:a Vitâ Pythag.; Photius, Bibl. Cod., 259.
161:b Kircher, dip., t. i., p. 411; Edda Island Fabl.; Macrob., Saturn., l. i., c. 20.
161:c Plotin, Ennead., iii., l. 2; Euseb., Præp. Evan., l. iii., c. 9; Macrob., Somn. Schip., l. ii., c. 12; Marc. Aurell., l. iv., c. 34.
161:d Pan, in Greek πᾶν, signifies the All, and Phanes is derived from the Phnician word אנש (ânesh), man, preceded by the emphatic article פ (ph). It must be observed that these two names spring from the same root אן (ân), which, figuratively, expresses the sphere of activity, and literally, the limitation of the being, its body, its capacity. Hence אני (âni), me, and אניה (aniha), a vessel.
162:a Mém. concern. les Chinois, t. ii., p. 174 et suiv.; Edda Island; Beau-sobre, Hist. du Manich., t. ii., p. 784; Bhme, De la triple Vie de lHomme, c. ix., § 35 et suiv.
162:b Πάντι εν Κόσμῳ τριὰς·ῆς Μονὰς ἄρχει.
163:a Hiérocl., Aurea Carmin., v. 14.