Ancient Greek History

All About Pythagoras – Philosopher and Mathematician

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When most of us think about Pythagoras, we inevitably think about the theorem that bears his name. The Pythagorean Theorem is a staple of geometry classes all over the world, since it is one of the principal components of Euclidean geometry. However, there is much more to his contributions than that, including those in both philosophy and mathematics. Here’s a look at who Pythagoras was and what he is most known for:

Information About Pythagoras

It is important to note that what we know about Pythagoras is derived from indirect sources. He never actually wrote about his own life in any form that has survived. In fact, some historians and scholars are even in doubt as to his real identity. Despite that, there are scholars who do accept his existence and they recognize that he was likely born in 570 B.C. in Samos and he died in 495 B.C. when he was around 75 years old in Metapontum. It is thought that even though he was born in Samos, he was an avid traveler and went to places such as other places in Ancient Greece, Egypt, and even India. In 530 B.C., it is believed that he moved to Magna Graecia, where it looks like he may have started a school. He moved back to Samos ten years after that in 520 B.C.

Fields of Study and Contributions

Despite the fact that we don’t know much about him, his contributions were numerous. Besides making contributions by himself, it also appears as if he was associated with the Pythagoreans, who are credited for both their beliefs and their overall strides in the field of mathematics.

In fact, the information associated with both Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans are all still important today. Besides influencing people like Plato, Euclid and later on Copernicus and even Isaac Newton. They all believed that numbers form the backbone of reality. He is also considered a pre-Socratic philosopher. Here’s a closer look at his contributions:

  • Pythagorean Theorem. He is given credit for discovering this mathematical principal that is taught in geometry classes throughout the world. Since nothing that he’s written has survived, however, there is no way to really know if he did discover this.
  • Music Theories. His contributions to music are strictly theory. It is said that he discovered that musical notes could be translated to musical formulas.
  • Tetractys. Pythagoras is also said to have been the inventor of this triangular construction. This is a triangular construction of four rows that adds up to a certain number.

It is true that not much is known about Pythagoras’s life since nothing that he actually wrote has survived. However, other writers of the time period did know about him and has referenced him in his work. Besides knowing when he was born and when he died, some information is known about his contributions and philosophies.


Wikipedia – Pythagoras

Wikipedia – Pythagorean theorem

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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