Pherecydes of Syros - Influence


Pherecydes' "Pentemychos" was thought to have contained a mystical esoteric teaching, treated allegorically. One ancient commentator said that:

Also, Pherecydes, the man of Syros, talks of recesses and pits and caves and doors and gates, and through these speaks in riddles of becomings and deceases of souls.

A comparatively large number of sources say Pherecydes was the first to teach the eternality and transmigration (metampsychosis) of human souls. Both Cicero and Augustine thought of him having given the first teaching of the "immortality of the soul". It is not surprising that some considered Pherecydes to have been the teacher of Pythagoras. That he was the first to teach such a thing is doubtful, but that he was among the first and that he did profess this teaching is certain. Hermann S. Schibli concludes that Pherecydes "included in his book at least a rudimentary treatment of the immortality of the soul, its wanderings in the underworld, and the reasons for the soul’s incarnations".

Pherecydes was occasionally counted among the Seven Sages of Greece. A sun-dial ("helio-tropion"), supposedly made by Pherecydes, was said by Diogenes Laërtius to be "preserved on the island of Syros."

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