Gymnosophists etc.

mhcrxlc at mhcrxlc at
Wed May 15 05:56:33 UTC 1996

John Richards writes:

>I was under the impression that it was generally agreed that the idea of
>transmigration came into Greek (particularly Pythagorean) thought via
>the Orphics, and that they, in turn had picked it up from Persian
>sources. Bidez certainly seems to think so, but I am not too sure on
>what evidence.

Pheracydes is early sixth century i.e. before Cyrus the Great's conquest of
Lydia and Babylonia. Persian influence is not plausible at this early date.

Also, we have very little reliable evidence as to Persian thought in this
period. A pity, really, because if we did, then it would be a natural
source for some of the ideas found in both Greece and India.

Lance Cousins

Email: mhcrxlc at

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