A true literal translation by the initiated Arturo Reghini of the most controversial Pythagoras Golden Verses. You will see how the antecedent interpretations might have been poetically religious correct.
This article is taken from the chapter V of “Sacred Numbers in Masonic Pythagorean Tradition” ( original italian title ” I Numeri Sacri nella Tradizione Pitagorica Massonica”) 1947, by Arturo Reghini. The chapter is on the number three, and how important this number was considered by Pythagoras, to an extent that even his last two golden verses are meant to be somewhat threefold practiced.
Reghini takes the opportunity to point how both incorrect and “sanitized” were the version, from the original Greek, of many among contemporary scholars and hermetists. This paragraph is so important, in my opinion, that I decided to remove it from the main article (1) and present it alone:
“………….In the golden verses we find another important distinction in three categories. The first three verses contain the precept of a threefold worship: first at the immortal Gods, then the Ogre-Orc and in order the Indiat heroes (2). Since this precept is also found in Iamblichus and in a Timaeus of Tauromenia extract, Delatte considers this as an ancient element used by the late golden verses compiler. Likewise, the golden verses rule of considering three times before going to sleep every act of the day is already in Porphyrius and is therefore, according to Delatte, an ancient Pythagorean precept. The three reappeared a third time, as expected, in the golden verses and precisely in the last verse. So it pythagorically appears three times in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of this Pythagorean excerpt. The last two lines of the golden verses are:
That’s to say literally: “If you, left the body, will come to the free ether will be imperishable, immortal god, not be killed. As one can see, the emphasis is on number three. We report these two verses in the text for two reasons: because of their importance since this is the Pythagorean palingenesis, or Great Work, and the fact that in general they have been poorly translated, not enough the knowledge of the Greek language to understand the precise meaning of Pythagoras technical and ambiguous expressions. The translations of Fabre d’Olivet, of Chaignet reported by Kremmerz, and even that of Delatte, are incorrect. Delatte, negligently, translates: “If you come, after death, to the free ether highness”. Now, to translate ἀπολεἱψαῚ όῷμα with “after death” is equivalent to restrict so arbitrary all the words meaning because these two words mean literally: “having abandoned the body”, without specifying when, how and why, and if ever with a sense of activity, that is, having put the body to side, having conquered and not suffered the abandonment. And since we know that the primary purpose of the Pythagorean disciple set out to achieve with every effort was the liberation from the body constraints, and not the passive and inert waiting for death or grace, it is clear that when translating we should at least leave the two words the broad sense they have in the original, though from the whole context it results obvious they allude to that abandonment of the body achieved by the “ritual voluntary separation ” and not to the detachment that gives death to all men and animals, without need for aid, even despite all contrary efforts. Also the famous French Pythagorean Fabre d’Olivet arbitrarily translates: “en laissant sur le corps regner intelligence” leaving the intelligence to reign over the body (3), and recently an Italian author faithfully follows him.”
- You can find the main article at Arturo Reghini Sacred Pythagorean Numbers 12 ;
- The word “Orc-Ogre” is usually translated with an oath. On another hand it is also synonymous with Hades; and in this way the triad to honor is a homogeneous triad, composed of the superior Gods, heroes or demi-gods and the underworld or inferior Gods;
- Fabre d’Olivet, Les vers dorés, pag. 402; e cfr. Alessio Luigi, Pitagora, Milano, 1940. Siouville (A. Siouville, Les Vers dorés de Pithagore, 1913), translates: laissant ici bas le corps (leaving here down the body), rather correct translation, reported by Wirth, Le livre du Maître, 103;