Ἦν δὲ καὶ ἄλλο εἶδος τῶν συμβόλων τοιοῦτον· “ζυγὸν μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν”, τουτέστι μὴ πλεονεκτεῖν. “μὴ τὸ πῦρ τῇ μαχαίρᾳ σκαλεύειν”, ὅπερ ἦν μὴ τὸν ἀνοιδοῦντα καὶ ὀργιζόμενον κινεῖν λόγοις παρατεθηγμένοις. “στέφανόν τε μὴ τίλλειν”, τουτέστι τοὺς νόμους μὴ λυμαίνεσθαι· στέφανοι γὰρ πόλεων οὗτοι. πάλιν δʼ οὖ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα· “μὴ καρδίαν ἐσθίειν”, οἷον μὴ λυπεῖν ἑαυτὸν ἀνίαις. “μηδʼ ἐπὶ χοίνικος καθέζεσθαι”, οἷον μὴ ἀργὸν ζῆν. “μηδʼ ἀποδημοῦντα ἐπιστρέφεσθαι”, τουτέστι μὴ ἔχεσθαι τοῦ βίου τούτου ἀποθνήσκοντα. “τάς τε λεωφόρους μὴ βαδίζειν, διʼ οὗ ταῖς τῶν πολλῶν ἕπεσθαι γνώμαις ἐκώλυεν, τὰς δὲ τῶν ὀλίγων καὶ πεπαιδευμένων μεταθεῖν. “μηδὲ χελιδόνας ἐν οἰκίᾳ δέχεσθαι”, τουτέστι λάλους ἀνθρώπους καὶ περὶ γλῶτταν ἀκρατεῖς ὁμωροφίους μὴ ποιεῖσθαι. “φορτίον δὲ συνανατιθέναι μὲν τοῖς βαστάζουσι, συγκαθαιρεῖν δὲ μή”, διʼ οὗ παρῄνει μηδενὶ πρὸς ῥᾳστώνην, ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἀρετὴν συμπράττειν. “θεῶν τʼ εἰκόνας ἐν δακτυλίοις μὴ φορεῖν”, τουτέστι τὴν περὶ θεῶν δόξαν καὶ λόγον πρόχειρον μηδὲ φανερὸν ἔχειν μηδὲ εἰς πολλοὺς φέρειν. “σπονδάς τε ποιεῖσθαι τοῖς θεοῖς κατὰ τὸ οὖς τῶν ἐκπωμάτων”· ἐντεῦθεν γὰρ ᾐνίττετο τιμᾶν τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ ὑμνεῖν τῆ μουσικῇ· αὕτη γὰρ διὰ ὤτων χωρεῖ. μὴ ἐσθίειν ὅσα μὴ θέμις, γένεσιν, αὔξησιν, ἀρχήν, τελευτήν, μηδʼ ἐξ ὧν ἡ πρώτη τῶν πάντων ὑπόθεσίς γίνεται.
(Porphyrius, Vita Pythagorae 42)

He had also another kind of symbol, such as, pass not over a balance; that is, Shun avarice. Poke not the fire with a sword, that is, we ought not to excite a man full of fire and anger with sharp language. Pluck not a crown, meant not to violate the laws, which are the crowns of cities. Eat not the heart, signified not to afflict ourselves with sorrows. Do not sit upon a [pack]-measure, meant, do not live ignobly. On starting a journey, do not turn back, meant, that this life should not be regretted, when near the bourne of death. Do not walk in the public way, meant, to avoid the opinions of the multitude, adopting those of the learned and the few. Receive not swallows into your house, meant, not to admit under the same roof garrulous and intemperate men. Help a man to take up a burden, but not to lay it down, meant, to encourage no one to be indolent, but to apply oneself to labor and virtue. Do not carry the images of the Gods in rings, signified that one should not at once to the vulgar reveal one’s opinions about the Gods, or discourse about them. Offer libations to the Gods, just to the ears of the cup, meant, that we ought to worship and celebrate the Gods with music, for that penetrates through the ears. Do not eat those things that are unlawful, sexual or increase, beginning nor end, nor the first basis of all things.
(tr. Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie)

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