Pythagoras of Samos (born between 580 and 572 BC, died between 500 and 490 BC) was an Ionian Greek mathematician and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism.
Pythagoras is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist;
however some have questioned the scope of his contributions to mathematics and
natural philosophy. Herodotus referred to him as "the most able philosopher
among the Greeks". His name led him to be associated with Pythian Apollo;
Aristippus explained his name by saying, "He spoke (agor-) the truth no less
than did the Pythian (Pyth-)," and Iamblichus tells the story that the Pythia
prophesied that his pregnant mother would give birth to a man supremely
beautiful, wise, and beneficial to humankind.
Pythagoras is best known for the Pythagorean theorem, which bears his name. Known as "the father of numbers", Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religious teaching in the late 6th century BC. Because legend and obfuscation cloud his work even more than with the other pre-Socratics, one can say little with confidence about his life and teachings. We do know that Pythagoras and his students believed that everything was related to mathematics and that numbers were the ultimate reality and, through mathematics, everything could be predicted and measured in rhythmic patterns or cycles. According to Iamblichus of Chalcis, Pythagoras once said that "number is the ruler of forms and ideas and the cause of gods and daemons."
Pythagoras was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom, and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato. Unfortunately, very little is known about Pythagoras because none of his writings have survived. Many of the accomplishments credited to Pythagoras may actually have been accomplishments of his colleagues and successors..
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