Paper on Pythagoras

This essay has a total of 1648 words and 9 pages.


Pythagoras of Samos is a man who was more than just a mathematician. A Greek philosopher,
founder of the Pythagorean brotherhood, he was an extremely important political figure for
his time. He invented vegetarianism and created one of the first secret organizations. Not
much is known about his mathematical achievements because he never wrote anything down. It
is unsure where his views end and his disciple's views began. He influenced Plato and
Aristotle and made contributions to the development of mathematics and western philosophy.

Details of Pythagoras's life stem from early biographies and there are conflicting reports
of his birth date and death. It is clear that his father's name was Mnesarchus and his
mother's name was Pythais. Mnesarchus was a merchant who originated from Tyre and who is
thought that his father was seen as a hero to the village for bringing food to the people
during a famine. It is said that he was granted citizenship to Samos instantly for his
great effort. Pythagoras traveled to many places with his father and was taught by a group
called the Chaldaeans and intelligent men of Syria.

Pythagoras's childhood was most likely spent learning to play the lyre, learning poetry
and reciting Homer. His physical appearance is unknown except for a scar he might have had
on his thigh. Among his teachers there were three men that influenced him the most
Pherekydes, Thales, and Anaximander. Thales might have been the most influential to
Pythagoras' formulation of a mathematical following. He did not teach him very much on
other subjects but peaked his interest in math and astronomy. Anaximander was Thales'
pupil. He gave lectures on geometry and cosmology and these ideas influenced Pythagoras as

During his time in Egypt, Pythagoras spent time with priests and visiting temples. He also
became a priest at the temple Diopolis. He was so intrigued by the traditions of the
Egyptians that he incorporated the secrecy of the priesthood, the refusal to eat beans,
and the refusal to wear clothes made from animal skins into his methods of teaching. While
in Egypt, Pythagoras was captured and taken to Babylon. In prison, Pythagoras learned
about sacred rites and mystical worships of the gods from the Magoi. He also reached the
pinnacle of perfection in arithmetic and music and the other mathematical sciences taught
by the Babylonians.

Pythagoras returned to Samos to find two rulers dead and the town in political turmoil.
Pythagoras created his first school in the city of Samos. It was called the ‘semicircle'
of Pythagoras because this is where the citizens held meeting s on goodness and justice.
It was only fitting that they have these discussions there because it was this man who
made it his business to be interested in these subjects. Outside the city he had a private
cave that he called home to all of his philosophical teaching and mathematical research.
Pythagoras left Samos for a number of reasons; the Samians were rude to him and not
interested in his new symbolic method of teaching, and the citizens wanted him to be a
vital part in the town's public affairs and he wanted nothing more than not to be a part
of that. Ultimately, he used the non-acceptance excuse to get away and move to a small
town named Croton located in southern Italy.

Living comfortably in Croton, Pythagoras founded the school he was known for. This
philosophical and religious Society consisted of two circles inner being the most devout
and outer given less restriction. Pythagoras was at the head of the Society and the inner
circle was named the mathematikoi. The mathematikoi lived permanently within the society,
had no

personal possessions and were vegetarians. They were taught directly by Pythagoras and
were meant to obey strict rules. "The beliefs that Pythagoras held were:

(1) That at its deepest level, reality is mathematical in nature,
(2) That philosophy can be used for spiritual purification,
(3) That the soul can rise to union with the divine,
(4) That certain symbols have a mystical significance, and
(5) That all brothers of the order should observe strict loyalty and secrecy."(

Men and women were allowed to enter the Society and actually several women Pythagoreans
became famous philosophers. The Pythagoreans believed in the idea of immortality and in
the transmigration of souls. The outer circle of the Society was known as the akousmatics.
They were allowed to live in their own houses, possessions, and not required to be
vegetarians. They did however come to the Society every day.

It is hard to say which ideas that came from the Society were the complete works of
Pythagoras or his followers. Pythagoras was interested in the principles of mathematics,
the concept of number, the concept of a triangle or mathematical figure and the abstract
idea of a proof. Pythagoras believed that any relation could be reduced to a number
relation. He thought that things are numbers and that the whole universe is a scale and a

Pythagoras was a prominent musician and made notable advancements to the mathematical
theory of music. He looked at whole numbers and ratios and recognized that these

ratios could be applied to other instruments. He also studied the properties of numbers
for example even and odd numbers, triangular, perfect numbers, and prime and square
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