Pythagoras Born between 530-569 B.C. Pythagoras of Samos is described as the first “pure mathematician.” Pythagoras’ father was Mnesarchus of Tyre and Pythais of Samos. Mnesarchus was a merchant who was granted citizenship after he brought corn to Samos during a famine. The citizenship was an act of gratitude. There are accounts that Pythagoras traveled widely with his father, even back to his father’s home, Tyre and Italy.
During these travels Pythagoras was educated by Chaldaeans and learned scholars in Syria. Little is known about Pythagoras’ physical attributes because of the large number of fictitious descriptions. The only description that is taken as fact is a birthmark that Pythagoras had on his thigh. Pythagoras had three brothers. I well educated young man Pythagoras played the lyre.
This musical education later contributed to Pythagoras doctrines and mathematical studies Pythagoras had many teachers but one of the most important of those teachers was Pherekydes who is described by many to be “the teacher of Pythagoras.” Between the ages of 18 and 20 Pythagoras studied under Anaximander and he contributes that his astronomy was the natural development of Anaximander’s. In about 535 BC Pythagoras traveled to Egypt, a few years before Polycrates took over his home town of Samos. While in Egypt Pythagoras visited many temples and entered into the priesthood at Diopolis. Pythagoras would use the customs that he learned at Diopolis in the founding of his philosophical society. Till the day he died he would practice the secrecy of Egyptian priests and strive for purity. After Persia invaded Egypt in 525 BC Pythagoras was taken in captivity and brought to Babylonia.
In 520, after the death of Cambyses II and Polycrates, Pythagoras returned home to Samos. There is no explanation for the release of Pythagoras from Babylonia or any evidence that the death of Polycrates and his return were connected. Darius of Persia had taken control of Samos at this time. After founding a school in Samos, Pythagoras left for southern Italy (518 BC). Pythagoras founded a school of religion and philosophy in Croton. Followers known as the mathematiki surrounded Pythagoras. The mathematiki lived at the school, had no possessions and were vegetarians. Pythagoras himself taught the mathematiki.
Both women and men were permitted to become members of the Society. The outer circle of the society was known as the akousmatics, these people lived in there own houses and only came to the Society by day The Society practiced utter secrecy and communalism, making it hard to distinguish Pythagoras’s work from that of his followers. This makes Pythagoras’ actual work unknown. Pythagoras believed that everything was and is numbers. He is famous for his geometry thermo (A2 + B2 = C2 or the Pythagorean Therom). Although the Babylonians knew this almost 1000 years earlier Pythagoras may have been the first to prove it.
. Pythagoras argued that there were three times of men, common to the three classes of strangers who come to the Olympic games. The lowest are those who by and sell, then those who compete and finally the best of all are those who simply watch. Pythagoras is the originator of numerology or the use of numbers to tell the future. His work influenced other great philosophers such as Plato and the doctrine of the tripartite soul.
Pythagoras’s teacher, Pherekydes died in Delos in 513 BC. The was society destroyed by a neighboring factor but Pythagoras fled to Metapontium . It is said that he returned to rebuild and the society thrived and split into different fractions. The society was later destroyed and suppressed after becoming political in nature. The exact year of Pythagoras’ death or the cause of death is unknown.