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Pythagoras. By Lindsey Hagen. Preface.

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By Lindsey Hagen


Pythagoras wrote nothing, and no one else wrote about him during his time; during first centuries BC he was seen as a divine figure found in Greek tradition, including Plato and Aristotle's “mature ideas”. A number of treaties were, however, forged in his name. Whether they were by his hand or not is unknown. The following is speculation . . .

his beginnings
His beginnings . . .
  • Born in 570 BC to father Mnesarchus, a

merchant from Tyre, and mother Pythais

  • His early years were spent on the

island of Samos of the coast of present day

Turkey (showed right), although he did much traveling with his father to the different ports on

the mediterranean

  • At the age of forty, he moved to Croton in southern Italy escaping the tyranny of

Polycrates, ruler of Asia Minor around 535 BC. The majority of his infamy would be staged

at this time.

his contributions
His contributions . . .
  • Of course, there is the Pythagorean Theorem:


but even more interestingly related is the theory of the golden ratio

explained in the short clip here

his conclusion
His conclusion . . .
  • During Pythagoras’s travels and life of research, he acquired a group of

followers labeled as “Pythagoreans.” They continued his work and

expounded upon his ideas. As one can imagine, controversy developed in

various places, violence was also a result of a dispute.

  • To escape the destructiveness, Pythagoras fled to Metapontum where he died in 490 BC

The popular image is that Pythagoras was a mathematician and scientist. However his influence on Plato and Aristotle suggest that his renown was based “1. as an expert on the fate of the soul after death, who thought that the soul was immortal and went through a series of reincarnations 2. as an expert on religious ritual 3. as a wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold and who could be two places at the same time 4. as the founder of a strict was of life that emphasized dietary restrictions, religious ritual, and rigorous self discipline.”

  • The Stafford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • University of St Andrews