Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher, but also a great mathematician. As its name suggests, he was the one who founded the Pythagorean brotherhood. Originally this brotherhood was based on religious beliefs. However, its principles influenced other prominent Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. It was namely, these principles that laid the foundation of what we call Western rational philosophy.
Some Facts about Pythagoras’ Life
Pythagoras was born around 570 BCE and died about 500 BCE. He spent his childhood and early years on an island called Samos, which today is situated off the coast of Turkey. Around 532, he was forced to run away from Greece in order to escape from the tyrannical rule of Samos. This is how he ended up in the southern parts of Italy, where he founded his academy of ethics and politics.
We don’t know whether Pythagoras wrote anything, but even if he did, unfortunately, not even one of his writings has survived to nowadays. Moreover, none of his contemporaries wrote down any of his thoughts. So it is not easy to distinguish Pythagoras’s works from the ones of his students. This fact made Pythagoras one of the most controversial philosophers of his time.
During the first years of BCE, Pythagoras was presented as a semi-divine character. People at that time even contributed to Pythagoras works that clearly belonged to Plato or Aristotle.
Major Works and Discoveries Contributed to Pythagoras
The theory that indeed belonged to Pythagoras was the one of the functional significance of numbers in music and the whole objective world. There are two other discoveries that are contributed to him. The first one is the theory which states that the diagonal and the side of a square are incommensurable. The other one, of course, is the Pythagorean Theorem related to right triangles.
However, these two were most certainly developed by his disciples from the Pythagorean School. Nowadays, people, who have researched on Pythagoras and his works believe that his discoveries were a result of some mystical wisdom which was granted to him and they were not a consequence of scientific scholarship.
Even though Pythagoras was a great mathematician and scientist, nowadays, he is more known for his philosophical views. He believed that the soul is immortal and that it has its own fate after the death of the body. According to him, the soul goes through a number of reincarnations. Pythagoras was also considered to be a religious ritual expert.
Another thing he was famous for is that he was the founder of a specific way of life, which promoted religious rituals, self-discipline, and dietary constrictions. Some more mystical theories describe him as a wonder-maker who could be present at two different places at the same time and whose thigh was made of gold.
There is also some evidence which claims that according to Pythagoras, the cosmos was formed based on certain moral principles and numerical relationships. Later on, it was proved that Pythagoras’s cosmos was examined in more detail and then further developed scientifically and mathematically by his disciples.