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Amanda's Essay

1251 words - 6 pages

Pythagoras was a mathematician who has influenced the math culture until this day. His studies in math are more noted than his contributions to philosophy as well as religion. Due to the fact Pythagoras lived between roughly 520-495 bc there is very little information about him. In fact his exact birthday and death date are mainly estimations based on other historical events. Whatever we know about him is information learned after his death. Most of his writings were not published so we do not have many of his personal notes. Pythagoras is popularly known for his ligating the Pythagorean theorem used in geometry.
It is reported that Pythagoras was born anywhere ...view middle of the document...

While in Egypt Pythagoras was taken held as a prisoner during a war and was taken to Babylon (School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland, 1999). After becoming a free man he moved back to Samos where Polycrates had died. After Samos, Pythagoras settled in Crotone in southern Italy where he shared his new beliefs that he gained in Egypt (BBC History, 2013).
While in Crotone, he opened a school where he taught about religion and philosophy (Math Open Reference, 2009). Those who went to his school and followed his practices were known as The Pythagoreans; they lived amongst one another in a secretive society(Math Open Reference, 2009, p). Pythagoras was their leader and their values were, “ the secrecy of the Egyptian priests, their refusal to eat beans, their refusal to wear even cloths made from animal skins, and their striving for purity”(School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland, 1999). Amongst the Pythagoreans they were separated into two two different categories. The mathematikoi lived as vegetarians and did not have personal possessions while the other group were called the acousmatics. (Math Open Reference, 2009). Acousmatics were not expected to live as vegetarians and were allowed personal items. BBC History describes the pythagoreans to be a “ moral elite who strove to perfect their physical form in this life in order to gain immortality in the next” They believed in their lifestyle in order to be”morally pure and to be free of the base of nature” (BBC History, 2013). This school and society that Pythagoras created is where most of his theories and discoveries were made, along side his people (Math Open Reference, 2009). According to Math Open Reference The Pythagoreans worked as a community so it makes it difficult to distinct what Pythagoras came up on his own. Within the mathematikoi they had these beliefs
(1) that at its deepest level, reality is mathematical in nature,
(2) that philosophy can be used for spiritual purification,
(3) that the soul can rise to union with the divine,
(4) that certain symbols have a mystical significance, and
(5) that all brothers of the order should observe strict loyalty and secrecy (School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland, 1999).

The separate beliefs that the Pythagoreans gave Pythagoras the main credit for the following,
The sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles.
The theorem of Pythagoras - for a right-angled triangle the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. The Babylonians understood this 1000 years earlier, but Pythagoras proved it.
Constructing figures of a given area and geometrical algebra. For example they...

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