Pythagoras facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Marble bust of a man with a long, pointed beard, wearing a tainia, a kind of ancient Greek headcovering in this case resembling a turban. The face is somewhat gaunt and has prominent, but thin, eyebrows, which seem halfway fixed into a scowl. The ends of his mustache are long a trail halfway down the length of his beard to about where the bottom of his chin would be if we could see it. None of the hair on his head is visible, since it is completely covered by the tainia.
Bust of Pythagoras of Samos in the
Capitoline Museums, Rome
Born c. 570 BC
Died c. 495 BC (aged around 75)
either Croton or Metapontum
Era Ancient Greek philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Pythagoreanism
Main interests
Notable ideas
  • Communalism
  • Metempsychosis
  • Musica universalis

Attributed ideas:

Pythagoras of Samos was a famous Greek mathematician and philosopher (c. 570 – c. 495 BC). He is known best for the proof of the important Pythagorean theorem, which is about right triangles. He started a group of mathematicians, called the Pythagoreans, who worshiped numbers and lived like monks. He was an influence for Plato.

He had a great impact on mathematics, theory of music and astronomy. His theories are still used in mathematics today. He was one of the greatest thinkers of his time.

Pythagoras was born in Samos, a little island off the western coast of Asia Minor. There is not much information about his life. He was said to have had a good childhood. Growing up with two or three brothers, he was well educated. He did not agree with the government and their schooling, so he moved to Croton and set up his own cult (little society) of followers under his rule. His followers did not have any personal possessions, and they were all vegetarians. Pythagoras taught them all, and they had to obey strict rules.

Graphical demonstration of the Pythagorean theorem

Some say he was the first person to use the term philosophy. Since he worked very closely with his group, the Pythagoreans, it is sometimes hard to tell his works from those of his followers.

Religion was important to the Pythagoreans. They swore their oaths by "1+2+3+4" (which equals 10). They also believed the soul is immortal and goes through a cycle of rebirths until it can become pure. They believed that these souls were in both animal and plant life.

His beliefs

Pythagoras' most important belief was that the physical world was mathematical and that numbers were the real reality.

  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.

Pythagorean theorem

Pythagoras is most famous for his theorem to do with right triangles. He said that the length of the longest side of the right angled triangle called the hypotenuse (C) squared would equal the area of the other sides squared. And so (a x a) + (b x b) = (c x c) was born. There are many different proofs for this Pythagorean theorem.

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