Rome: Pythagorean Theorem Essay

Submitted By sydney_1515
Words: 653
Pages: 3

Pythagoras is a name familiar to most students of mathematics. His Pythagorean Theorem is learned early in the study of Algebra and Geometry and is said to be one of the “cornerstones” for all of math. However, very little is known about this man. What is known comes mostly from his students and followers. In fact, it seems that he was much more than a teacher of mathematics. His contributions reach beyond, influencing philosophers for centuries to follow. Pythagoras was born in Samos, Greece. His father was a merchant by the name of Mnesarchus and his mother’s name was Pythais. He had two brothers, although some sources say that he had three. He had a school in Samos called the Semicircle, but his teaching was not popular. The government officials did not like him, and he eventually left. At age forty, Pythagoras moved to the city of Croton in southern Italy. At the Italian School of Philosophy, he had a group of friends or followers. Most of his work was done in Croton. Unfortunately, Pythagoras wrote nothing (or at least there are no surviving documents from his time). His students and the societies in which he taught kept strict codes of secrecy. Today, Pythagoras is most remembered in terms of science and math. In his day, however, his philosophy was most important to his followers and students, not necessarily math. It is said that he was an expert on the fate of the soul after death, an authority in religious rituals, and a “wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold and who could be two places at the same time,” (Huffman, 1). He lived a strict lifestyle, including diet, religion, and self discipline. Pythagoras is given credit for a very detailed view of the universe. Huffman spends more time presenting this role of cosmologist than his role as mathematician. For example, the soul is immortal. In fact, the soul and body are completely separate. The soul may move to a new body should the first one die. This belief is that of reincarnation. Pythagorus believed that the soul can leave one body and enter another, including animals. One of his claims is that he remembered who he had been in previous lives. Pythagorus did not eat animals because of this belief--it would be wrong to eat someone you may have known. Another idea attributed to Pythagoras is Harmony of the Spheres, which is the musical ordering of the planets. Two camps of followers formed, one for those interested in math and the other for people interested in religion. Pythagoras was clearly not just engrossed in math.