Pythagoras and His Theorems
Pythagoras is a key figure in the development of mathematics, especially in geometry. Unfortunately, there is very little that is known about his mathematical achievements. There are no traces of Pythagoras’s writings. The things that are known were eventually written by the society known as the Order of the Pythagoreans, which he was the leader of. The Order of the Pythagoreans followed a code of secrecy which leaves the actual achievements of Pythagoras himself a complete mystery.
Pythagoras was born in Samos, Ionia around 569 B.C. His father was a merchant from Tyre and is thought to have brought corn to Samos during a time of famine so he was granted citizenship of Samos. Pythagoras’s mother was Pythais and was a Samos native. Pythagoras spent a lot of time during his childhood traveling with his father. His father took him to Tyre where Pythagoras was educated by the Chaldaeans and the educated men of Syria.
It is believed that Pythagoras was introduced to mathematics by two philosophers, Thales and Anaximander. Although Thales was an old man by the time Pythagoras me him, he imprinted a strong impression on Pythagoras and struck his interest in mathematics and astronomy. Anaximander gave many lectures that Pythagoras attended and many of Anaximander’s ideas had a great impact of Pythagoras’s views.
In 535 B.C., Pythagoras took Thales’s advice and traveled to Egypt. Many of Pythagoras’s beliefs reflect the customs he saw while in Egypt. These customs would later help shape the way his followers in the society would think and act. A few of the customs he adopted were secrecy, refusing to wear clothing that was made of any type of animal skin, refusing to eat beans and the feeling of needing to be pure. Pythagoras also learned more about geometry from the Egyptians.
In 529 B.C. Pythagoras settled in Cotana and began lecturing on mathematics and philosophy. Most of the people who attended the lectures were...