Pythagoras Biography – The Story of the Mathematician Inventor of the Pythagorean Theorem

Sunday, May 12th, 2019 - Biography

Profile and Biography of Pythagoras. At school when studying mathematics we heard the name Pythagoras theorem which was one of the contributions of Pythagoras. He is one of the figures with a considerable contribution to the world of mathematics. Biography Pythagorean

Pythagoras biography

In the biography of Pythagoras, it is known that he was born on the Aegean island in the East of Samos, Greece in 570 BC. His mother, Pythias, was a native of the island while his father, Mnesarchus, was a jewel merchant from Tire (Lebanon). Pythagoras also had two or three siblings.


Pythagoras spent most of his childhood in the Samos islands. When he grew up, he began to accompany his father in trading.


His father Mnesarchus had brought Pythagoras to Tire. There he studied under scholars from Syria. There is also the possibility that he visited Italy with his father when trading.


Pythagoras then studied extensively under different teachers. He studied poetry, read Homer’s poetry and played lute music. In addition to learning from scholars in Syria, he also studied under the guidance of scholars at Chaldea. The Pherecydes of Syros was also one of the early teachers of Pythagoras where he studied philosophy.


Study in Thales

In Pythagoras biography, it is known that at the age of eighteen, Pythagoras went to the city of Miletus to meet Thales who was a mathematician and astronomer.


Although at that time Thales was too old to teach, the meeting was quite fruitful. From that meeting, Pythagoras’s interest arose in science, mathematics, and astronomy.


Pythagoras also studied with one of Thales’s students named Anaximander. Pythagoras’s works further show a striking resemblance to Anaximander’s works.


Go to Egypt

Both theories of astronomy and geometry appear to have developed naturally from the theories of older philosophers.

In 535 BC, Pythagoras left for Egypt to study at the advice of Thales. However, in another opinion, Pythagoras went to Egypt to escape the tyranny of Polycrates, the ruler of Samos at that time.


Pythagoras lived in Egypt for almost ten years. After completing the religious rites or customs needed there, Pythagoras then entered the Diospolis temple and was accepted as a priest there.


There is also the opinion that for several years Pythagoras studied under the guidance of an Egyptian priest named Oenuphis of Heliopolis. In 525 BC, Emperor Cambyses II of Persia conquered Egypt. Pythagoras was captured and taken as a prisoner to the Babylonian or Babylonian territory.


In Babylon, Pythagoras quickly adapted or connected with Persian priests known as an assembly. Pythagoras also began to study mathematics and music under their guidance.


Return to Samos

In 522 BC, Cambyses II of Persia died in mysterious circumstances and also Polycrates, the tyrannical ruler of Samos at that time was also killed. This event made the opportunity for Pythagoras to return to Samos and then he did in 520 BC.


Established The Semicircle School

In the Pythagorean biography it is known that upon his return to Samos, Pythagoras opened a school called The Semicircle. However, the teaching method is different and this is interesting for some people.


At the same time, the Samos leaders at that time wanted Pythagoras to be involved with the city government but which did not appeal to Pythagoras.


Moving to Italy

In 518 BC, Pythagoras moved his school to Croton in southern Italy. Some opinions say that he went there to study law and lived there. It was on Croton that he began teaching and he quickly gathered a group of followers.


Furthermore, he founded an association that was open to men and women. This developed into a religious philosophy school that had a great political influence.


Pythagorean followers

The Pythagoreans were called the Pythagoreans and were divided into two peoples. Some of them who live and work in school is known as mathematicians or students. And others who live outside of school are known as acousmatic or listeners.


Pythagoras is a teacher or master of both sects or sections. Students or mathematicians whose followers must live their lives according to the rules, for example, what they eat, wear or even say.




They do not have personal belongings and follow a strict vegetarian lifestyle. Conversely, acousmatic are permitted to own private property and eat non-vegetarian food.


They also attend school only during the day.

Pythagoras’s schools practice strict secrecy not only about their rituals but also about what is taught.


Therefore, even though it made an extraordinary contribution to mathematics but it was difficult to distinguish between the works of Pythagoras and his followers.


Pythagoras Contributions in Mathematics

However, Pythagoras’s contribution to mathematics is best remembered for his concept of numbers. Pythagoras believes that everything can be reduced to numbers and these numbers have their own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.


For Pythagoras, the number 10 is the most complete number because it consists of the first four digits (1 + 2 + 3 + 4) and when written in point notation, they form a triangle.


He also believed that geometry was the highest form of mathematical studies with which one could explain the physical world. Pythagoras’s beliefs stemmed from his observations of mathematics, music, and astronomy.


For example, he noticed that vibrating strings produce harmonic tones only when the ratio between the length of the string is an integer. He then realized that this ratio could be extended to other instruments.


He also propagates that the soul is eternal. At death, someone will take a new form and thus move from person to person and even lower animals through a series of reincarnations to become pure and purification can be done through music and mathematics.


Pythagoras himself is a good musician and can play a lyre instrument like a harp well. He is also a person who believes in mysticism, he also argues that certain symbols have mystical significance and that interactions between opposites are important features of the world.


In Astronomy, Pythagoras also taught that the Earth is a ball in the center of the cosmos. He argues that all other planets and stars are balls because the ball is the most perfect solid figure.


Pythagorean Theorem

Pythagoras is the most famous mathematical figure in his geometrical concept. He first proved the Pythagorean theorem, namely the amount of the square at the foot of a right triangle equal to the area of ​​the square in the hypothesis.


A right triangle is a triangle that has a right angle, its legs are two sides that form a right angle, and the hypotenuse is the third side facing the right angle. In the picture below, a and b are the legs of a right triangle and c is a hypothesis


Although the theorem referred to has been discovered by Babylonians, Pythagoras was the first person to prove it.


Married Theano

Pythagoras is known to marry a woman named Theano, his first student in Croton. He wrote a treatise called ‘On Virtue’. However, some say that he is not his wife, but only a student.


According to various opinions, Pythagoras and Theano had a son named Telauges, and three daughters named Damo, Arignote, and Myia. Their second daughter Arignote is a famous scholar. Their third daughter, Myia, is said to have married a famous wrestler, Milo of Croton.


It was further stated that Milo was a Pythagorean colleague and saved Pythagoras’ life when he was hit by the roof ruins.


Pythagoras also has many enemies. One of his enemies incited the masses to fight the Pythagorean followers and set fire to the place where they lived.


Pythagoras’ death

However, Pythagoras managed to escape. He then went to Metapontum and according to some people there, Pythagoras starved to death. But some other opinions say that Pythagoras was trapped in the conflict between Agrigentum and Syracusans and was later killed by Syracusans.


Whatever the cause of his death, according to most accounts he died in 495 BC. ‘The Pythagorean Theorem’ or ‘Pythagorean Theorem’ remains Pythagoras’s most important legacy to the world of mathematics to date.

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