Pythagoras


Not only did this Greek philosopher study mathematics, but also science and religion teacher. Pythagoras, this multi-talented philosopher, was born in 575 B.C. and died in 495 BC) evolved a school of thought that accepted the transmigration of souls and established number as the principle in the universe. Pythagoras created the well-know and popular mathematical formula known as the Pythagorean Theorem.


Born on the island of Samos, Pythagoras was the son of Mnesarchus. He fled to southern Italy to escape the tyranny of Polycrates, who came to power about 538 B.C., and he is said to have traveled to Egypt and Babylon. He and his followers became politically powerful in Croton in southern Italy, where Pythagoras had established a school for his newly formed sect. It is probable that the Pythagoreans took positions in the local government in order to lead men to the pure life which their teachings set forth. Eventually, however, a rival faction launched an attack on the Pythagoreans at a gathering of the sect, and the group was almost completely annihilated. Pythagoras either had been banished from Croton or had left voluntarily shortly before this attack. He died in Metapontum early in the 5th century.


Pythagoras and his followers were important for their contributions to both religion and science. His religious teachings were based on the doctrine of metempsychosis, which told that the soul was immortal and was intended to a cycle of rebirths until it could liberate itself from the cycle through the purity of its life. A number of principles were drawn up as sacred rules by which initiates life. Pythagoras’ desire was to find the mathematical harmonies of all things. The study of odd, even, prime and square numbers were among numerous mathematical investigations of the Pythagoreans. This helped them develop a basic understanding of mathematics and geometry to build their Pythagorean Theorem.