By Franz Valery Marie Cumont
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Additional resources for After Life in Roman Paganism: Lectures Delivered at Yale University on the Silliman Foundation
133. Lecture III, pp. 73, 81; VII, p. 181s. Cic, Tusc, I, 13, 24, Lecture VI, p. 151. HISTORICAL I N T R O D U C T I O N 27 vicious man to a gulf into which he falls. A metrical epitaph, found at Pisaurum (Pesaro), hints covertly at the ideas of the school. This commemorates a child who, in spite of his youth, had learnt the dogmas of Pythagoras and read " t h e pious verses of Homer" as well as the philosophers, and had studied in Euclid the sacred science of numbers. His soul, runs the inscription, 70 "goes forward through the gloomy stars of deep Tartarus towards the waters of Acheron/ 9 a sentence which can be under stood only on the supposition that Tartarus and Acheron had for the author a figurative meaning and lay in the depths not of the earth hut of the sky.
58 But the first to give new life to the Pythagorean school, which had died in Italy centuries before, was, according to Cicero, his friend, the senator Nigidius Figulus, a curious representative of the scientific religiosity which characterised the sect. This Roman magistrate, a man of singular erudition, was bitten with all the occult sciences. A grammarian, a naturalist and a theolo gian, he was also an astrologer and magician and, on occasion, a wonder worker. He did not confine himself to theory but gathered about him a club of the initiate, of whom we cannot say whether they were most attracted by scientific curiosity, by austere morals or hy mystic practices.
20 A F T E R L I F E I N ROMAN PAGANISM survivors liked to think that he who had gone had not entirely perished as long as his remembrance subsisted in the hearts of those who had cherished him and the minds of those who had learnt his praises. In some way, he rose from the grave in the image made of him by the successors of those who had known him. Epicurus himself stipulated in his will that the day of his birth should be commemorated every month, 67 and under the Roman Empire his disciples were still piously celebrating this recurring feast.
After Life in Roman Paganism: Lectures Delivered at Yale University on the Silliman Foundation by Franz Valery Marie Cumont