The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Pythagoras: the mysterious personality, his reverence for religion and the famous theorem

04 May 2014 / 15:05:30  GRReporter
9605 reads

Mathematics, like philosophy, is a science which can change everything in the lives of people dealing with them. Both the mysterious world of numbers and the vast universe of philosophical ideas can "arrest" those who indulge in them. One of the typical examples is Pythagoras, a man who combined these two sciences and left a unique work behind, as well as a myth about his personality.

Before he became known for his exceptional mathematical talent, Pythagoras was already known in the small community of Samos, where he was born. His eloquence and candour with which he expressed his innovative ideas, as well as his great openness won him the respect of elders and his teachers. Considering his uniqueness, Thales took on the mathematical education of Pythagoras, who became his best student.

After providing him with all his knowledge, Thales told Pythagoras to travel to Egypt in order to consult with priests who could make him "closer to gods and wiser than all men." At the age of 18, in a tyrannical regime, limiting his innovative ideas and the expansion of his knowledge, Pythagoras left for Egypt.

Vicissitudes during the trip, plus all his knowledge, strengthened his personality. His gift in terms of religion turned into adoration, and his mathematical talent resulted in a great love for astronomy and geometry. Egyptian priests met him with disbelief and engaged him in their lifestyle, religion and learning, which were much tougher than the Greek ones. Pythagoras’s passion to learn combined with his skills quickly erased all the priests’ doubts.

Upon his return to Samos, he founded a school and tried to pass on his knowledge. After a few years, he moved to southern Italy in order to find new students. In parallel, he established a mysterious religious and political brotherhood about which there was not much information, and which caused a lot of reactions.

Even in his lectures, Pythagoras made his mystical temperament visible. He did not let any student take notes, forbade them from asking more questions and did not allow any part of his great work to be kept in writing – not even his famous Pythagorean Theorem, about which there is no specific information.

It is not yet known whether Pythagoras discovered his famous theorem alone or with the help of someone else. The simple sentence saying that "the square of the hypotenuse in every right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides" was completely proven just before the Babylonians did the same.

But while his school was one of the most famous of the era, despite his global fame, Pythagoras’s particular character made him a lot of enemies. His political and religious presence surely contributed to this, too. As a result of antipathies, his school was destroyed by his opponents. His attempts to combine numbers with everything else on the planet, as well as his mysticism, led to his expulsion from Italy.

During the last years of his life, Pythagoras continued teaching while travelling. His fame, however, created new problems. Nevertheless, no one can deny his great contribution to mathematics and philosophy.

Tags: Pythagoras mathematics philosophy Pythagorean Theorem religion
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus