Geographical sites:

  • Syros (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #590067)
    Pleiades_icon Syros Ins. island Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 60 A5 Syros Ins.


Text #8715

Cicero. On Old Age. On Friendship. On Divination
[Cic. Div. 1.50.112. Translated by W. A. Falconer. Harvard University Press. 1923 p. 345]

Not even Pherecydes, the famous teacher of Pythagoras, will be considered a prophet because he predicted an earthquake from the appearance of some water drawn from an unfailing well.

Text #8716

Cicero. On Old Age. On Friendship. On Divination
[Cic. Div. 2.13.31. Translated by W. A. Falconer. Harvard University Press. 1923 p. 405]

Equally amusing is your story about Pherecydes, who, after looking at some water just drawn from a well, foretold an earthquake. It would be presumptuous enough, I think, for natural philosophers to attempt to explain the cause of an earthquake after it had happened; but can they actually tell, from looking at fresh water, that an earthquake is going to happen? Such nonsense is often heard in the schools, but one does not have to believe everything one hears.

Text #8720

Pliny. Natural History. Series: Natural History. Vol. 1
[Plin. Nat. 2.81. Translated by H. Rackham. Harvard University Press. 1967. (10 Vols.) p. 323]

Also another conjecture is attributed to Pherecydes the teacher of Pythagoras, this also inspired: he is said to have foretold to his fellow-citizens an earthquake, of which he had obtained a premonition in drawing water from a well.

Text #8714

Diogenes Laertius. Lives of Eminent Philosophers. Vol. 1
[DL. 1.116. Translated by R. D. Hicks. Harvard University Press. 1959. (2 Vols.) p. 123]

And as he was drinking water which had been drawn up from a well he predicted that on the third day there would be an earthquake; which came to pass.

Text #8717

"", in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, edited by Smith, William
[p. 258]

Pherecydes of Syros lived during the 6th century and was the teacher of Pythagoras. The most important subject which he is said to have taught was the doctrine of the Metempsycosis. According to later writers, after drinking from a well, he predicted an earthquake that happened 3 days later. There is some difference respecting his date. The Suda places him in the time of Alyattes, king of Lydia (619–560 BC), Diogenes Laertius in the 59th Olympiad (544-541 BC). The date of Diogenes seems more probable, since Cicero makes him a contemporary of Servius Tullius (578–535 BC).

Text #9103

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

For the confusion/conflation of this earthquake with the Spartan earthquake of 464, see {Text #9090},{Text #1800}and {Text #9102}.

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