|Born||c. 570 BC
|Died||c. 495 BC (aged around 75)
either "Croton or "Metapontum
|Era||"Ancient Greek philosophy|
Pythagoras of Samos ("US: "//; "UK: "//; "Greek: Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος Pythagóras ho Sámios "Pythagoras the "Samian", or simply Πυθαγόρας; Πυθαγόρης in "Ionian Greek; c. 570–495 BC)[Notes 1] was an "Ionian "Greek "philosopher and the eponymous founder of the "Pythagoreanism movement. His political and religious teachings were extremely influential in "Magna Graecia throughout antiquity and exerted a profound impact on the philosophies of "Plato, "Aristotle, and, through them, "Western philosophy at large.
Pythagoras's life is largely clouded by legend and "obfuscation, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a seal engraver on the island of "Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, in around 530 BC, he travelled to "Croton, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a "communal, "ascetic lifestyle. Following Croton's decisive victory over "Sybaris in around 510 BC, Pythagoras's followers came into conflict with supporters of "democracy and Pythagorean meeting houses were burned. Pythagoras may have been killed during this persecution, or he may have escaped to "Metapontum, where he eventually died. The teaching most securely identified with Pythagoras is "metempsychosis, or the "transmigration of souls", which holds that every "soul is "immortal and that, upon death, "enters into a new body. He may have also devised the doctrine of "musica universalis, which holds that the "planets move according to "mathematical "equations and thus resonate to produce an inaudible symphony of music. He probably prohibited his followers from eating "beans, but he may or may not have advocated a "strict vegetarian diet.
In antiquity, Pythagoras was credited with many mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the "Pythagorean theorem, "Pythagorean tuning, the "five regular solids, the "Theory of Proportions, the "sphericity of the Earth, and the identity of the "morning and "evening stars as the planet "Venus. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher ("lover of wisdom")[Notes 2] and that he was the first to divide the globe into "five climactic zones. Nonetheless, many of the accomplishments credited to Pythagoras probably either originated earlier or were made by his colleagues or successors. Some accounts mention that the philosophy associated with Pythagoras was related to mathematics and that numbers were important, but it is debated to what extent, if at all, he actually contributed to mathematics or "natural philosophy.
No authentic writings of Pythagoras have survived to the present day and almost nothing is known for certain about his life. The earliest sources on Pythagoras's life are brief, ambiguous, and often "satirical. The earliest source on Pythagoras's teachings is a satirical poem written by "Xenophanes of Colophon, a contemporary of Pythagoras, which describes Pythagoras interceding on behalf of a "dog that is being beaten, professing to recognize in its cries the voice of a departed friend.
"Alcmaeon of Croton, a doctor who lived in Croton at around the same time Pythagoras lived there, incorporates many Pythagorean teachings into his writings and alludes to having possibly known Pythagoras personally. The poet "Heraclitus of Ephesus, who was born across a few miles of sea away from Samos and may have lived within Pythagoras's lifetime, pegged Pythagoras as a clever charlatan, remarking that "Pythagoras the son of Mnesarchus pursued inquiry further than all other men and, choosing what he liked from these compositions, made a wisdom of his own - much learning, artful knavery."
The Greek poets "Ion of Chios (c. 480-c. 421 BC) and "Empedocles of Acragas (c. 493-c. 432 BC) both express admiration for Pythagoras in their poems. The first concise early description of Pythagoras comes from the historian "Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c. 484-c. 420 BC), who describes Pythagoras as "one of the greatest" Greek sages and states that Pythagoras taught his followers how to attain "immortality. The "Athenian "rhetorician "Isocrates (436-338 BC) was the first to describe Pythagoras as having visited Egypt. "Aristotle wrote a treatise On the Pythagoreans, which is no longer extant. Some of it may be preserved in the "Protrepticus. Aristotle's disciples "Dicaearchus, "Aristoxenus, and "Heraclides Ponticus also wrote on the same subject.
Most of the major sources on Pythagoras's life are from the "Roman period, by which point "the history of Pythagoreanism was already... the laborious reconstruction of something lost and gone." Three "lives of Pythagoras have survived from late antiquity, all of which are filled primarily with myths and legends. The earliest and most respectable of these is the one from "Diogenes Laërtius's "Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. The two later lives were written by the "Neoplatonist philosophers "Porphyry and "Iamblichus and were partially intended as polemics against the "rise of Christianity. The later sources are much lengthier than the earlier ones, and even more fantastic in their descriptions of Pythagoras's legendary achievements. Porphyry and Iamblichus did use some material from the lost writings of Aristotle's disciples and material taken from these sources is generally considered to be the most reliable.
|“||There is not a single detail in the life of Pythagoras that stands uncontradicted. But it is possible, from a more or less critical selection of the data, to construct a plausible account.||”|
|— "Walter Burkert, 1972|
"Herodotus, "Isocrates, and other early writers agree that Pythagoras was the son of Mnesarchus and that he was born on the Greek island of "Samos, situated in the eastern "Aegean. His father is said to have been a gem-engraver or a wealthy merchant, but his ancestry is disputed and unclear.[Notes 3] Pythagoras' name led him to be associated with "Pythian "Apollo; "Aristippus of Cyrene explained his name by saying, "He spoke (ἀγορεύω, agoreúo) the truth no less than did the Pythian (Πυθία, Pythía)", 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. A late source gives his mother's name as Pythais. As to the date of his birth, "Aristoxenus stated that Pythagoras left Samos in the reign of "Polycrates, at the age of 40, which would give a date of birth around 570 BC.
According to "Antiphon, while he was still on Samos, Pythagoras founded a school known as the "semicircle", where prominent Samians could discuss matters of public concern. Pythagoras himself dwelled in a secret cave, where he studied in private.
Around 530 BC, he left Samos, possibly because he disagreed with the "tyranny of "Polycrates in Samos. His later admirers claimed that it was because Pythagoras was so overburdened with public duties in Samos, because of the high estimation in which he was held by his fellow-citizens. He arrived in the Greek colony of Croton (today's "Crotone, in "Calabria) in what was then "Magna Graecia. At Croton, he founded the philosophical school of "Pythagoreanism, whose practitioners adhered to a strict, disciplined way of life. Pythagoras acquired great political influence in Magna Graecia; later biographers tell fantastical stories of the effects of his eloquent speech in leading the people of Croton to abandon their luxurious and corrupt way of life and devote themselves to the purer system which he came to introduce.
Pythagoras's teachings of dedication and asceticism are credited with aiding in Croton's decisive victory over the neighboring colony of "Sybaris in 510 BC. The forces of Croton were headed by the Pythagorean "Milo, and it is likely that the members of the brotherhood took a prominent part. After the victory, a "democratic constitution was proposed, but the Pythagoreans rejected it. The supporters of democracy, headed by "Cylon and Ninon, the former of whom is said to have been irritated by his exclusion from Pythagoras's brotherhood, roused the populace against them. An attack was made upon them while assembled either in the house of Milo, or in some other meeting-place. The building was set on fire, and many of the assembled members perished; only the younger and more active members managed to escape. Sources disagree regarding whether Pythagoras was killed, or if he managed to flee to "Metapontum, where he lived out the rest of his life. One legend reported by both Diogenes Laërtius and Iamblichus claims that Pythagoras almost managed to escape his pursuers, but that he came to a bean field and refused to run through it because doing so would violate his own teachings, so instead he stopped and was killed as a result.
Diogenes Laërtius claims that Pythagoras "did not indulge in the pleasures of love" and that he cautioned others to only have sex "whenever you are willing to be weaker than yourself". According to Porphyry, Pythagoras married "Theano, a lady of "Crete and the daughter of Pythenax and had several children with her. Porphyry claims that Pythagoras had two sons named "Telauges and "Arignote, and a daughter named Myia, who "took precedence among the maidens in Croton and, when a wife, among married women." Iamblichus mentions none of these children and instead only mentions a son named Mnesarchus after his grandfather. This son was raised by Pythagoras's appointed successor Aristaeus and eventually took over the school when Aristaeus was too old to continue running it.
The wrestler "Milo of Croton was said to have been a close associate of Pythagoras and was credited with having saved the philosopher's life when a roof was about to collapse. This association may been the result of confusion with a different man named Pythagoras, who was an athletics trainer. Diogenes Laërtius records Milo's wife's name as Myia. Iamblichus mentions Theano as the wife of Brontinus of Croton. Diogenes Laërtius states that the same Theano was Pythagoras's pupil and that Pythagoras's wife Theano was her daughter. Diogenes Laërtius also claims that works written by Theano were still extant during his own lifetime and quotes several opinions attributed to her. These writings are now known to be "pseudepigraphical.
Scholars disagree regarding who Pythagoras's teacher was because reliable information on the subject is lacking. Some say his training was almost entirely Greek, others exclusively "Egyptian and "Oriental. Each of Pythagoras's alleged tutors seems to call attention to a different aspect of Pythagoras's own teachings. Various ancient sources list Hermodamas of Samos, or his father "Creophylus of Samos (who both stand for a domestic "rhapsodic tradition of Samos, competing with "Homer's more renowned) among his possible tutors; whereas other traditions credit "Bias of Priene, Thales, "Anaximander (a pupil of Thales), and "Pherecydes of Syros (all exponents of the Greek philosophical tradition). Of the various claims regarding his Greek teachers, "Pherecydes of Syros is mentioned most often.
Before 520 BC, on one of his visits to Egypt or Greece, Pythagoras might have met "Thales of Miletus, who would have been around fifty-four years older than him. Thales was a philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and engineer, also known for a "special case of the "inscribed angle theorem. Pythagoras' birthplace, the island of "Samos, is situated in the Northeast "Aegean Sea not far from "Miletus.
Diogenes Laërtius cites a statement from "Aristoxenus (4th century BC) claiming that Pythagoras learned most of his "moral doctrines from the "Delphic priestess "Themistoclea. Porphyry affirms this assertion, but calls the priestess Aristoclea (Aristokleia). Ancient authorities furthermore note the similarities between the religious and "ascetic peculiarities of Pythagoras with the "Orphic or "Cretan mysteries, or the "Delphic oracle.
Following a similar logic, the "Egyptians are said to have taught him geometry, the "Phoenicians arithmetic, the "Chaldeans astronomy, and the "Magi the principles of religion and practical maxims for the conduct of life. According to Diogenes Laërtius, Pythagoras not only visited Egypt and learnt the Egyptian language (as reported by "Antiphon in his On Men of Outstanding Merit), but also "journeyed among the "Chaldaeans and "Magi." Later in "Crete, he went to the "Cave of Ida with "Epimenides, and entered Egyptian sanctuaries for the purpose to learn information concerning the secret lore of the different gods. The "Middle Platonist biographer "Plutarch (c. 46–120 AD) asserted in his book "On Isis and Osiris that, during his visit to Egypt, Pythagoras received instruction from the Egyptian priest Oenuphis of "Heliopolis (meanwhile "Solon received lectures from a "Sonchis of Sais). Other ancient writers asserted his visit to Egypt. According to the "Christian theologian "Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215 AD), "Pythagoras was a disciple of Soches, an Egyptian archprophet, as well as "Plato of Sechnuphis of "Heliopolis."
Although the exact details of Pythagoras's teachings are uncertain, it is possible to reconstruct a general outline of his main ideas. Aristotle writes at length about the teachings of the Pythagoreans, but without mentioning Pythagoras directly. One of Pythagoras's main doctrines appears to have been "metempsychosis, the belief that all "souls are immortal and that, after death, a soul is transferred into a new body. This teaching is referenced by Xenophanes, Ion of Chios, and Herodotus.
"Empedocles alludes in one of his poems that Pythagoras may have claimed to possess the ability to recall his former incarnations. Diogenes Laërtius reports an account from "Heraclides Ponticus that Pythagoras claimed that he had lived four previous lives that he could remember in detail. The first of these lives was as "Aethalides the son of "Hermes, who granted him the ability to remember all his past incarnations. Next, he was incarnated as "Euphorbus, a minor hero from the "Trojan War briefly mentioned in the "Iliad. He then became the philosopher "Hermotimus, who recognized the shield of Euphorbus in the temple of Apollo. His final incarnation was as Pyrrhus, a fisherman from "Delos. One of his past lives, as reported by "Dicaearchus, was as a beautiful courtesan.
Another belief attributed to Pythagoras was that of the ""harmony of the spheres", which maintained that the planets and stars move according to mathematical equations, which correspond to musical notes and thus produce a symphony. According to Porphyry, Pythagoras taught that the seven "Muses were actually the "seven planets singing together. In his philosophical dialogue "Protrepticus, "Aristotle has his literary double say:
When Pythagoras was asked [why humans exist], he said, "to observe the heavens," and he used to claim that he himself was an observer of nature, and it was for the sake of this that he had passed over into life.
Many mathematical and scientific discoveries were attributed to Pythagoras, including "his famous theorem, as well as discoveries in the field of "music, "astronomy, and "medicine. He was said to have practised "divination and "prophecy. In the visits to various places in Greece – "Delos, "Sparta, "Phlius, "Crete, etc. – which are ascribed to him, he usually appears either in his religious or priestly guise, or else as a lawgiver.
|“||The so-called Pythagoreans, who were the first to take up mathematics, not only advanced this subject, but saturated with it, they fancied that the principles of mathematics were the principles of all things.||”|
|— "Aristotle, Metaphysics 1–5, c. 350 BC|
Although Pythagoras is most famous today for his alleged mathematical discoveries, classical historians dispute whether he himself ever actually made any significant contributions to the field. In his landmark study Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism, Walter Burkert argues that Pythagoras was charismatic political and religious teacher, but that the number philosophy attributed to him was really an innovation by the Pythagorean philosopher "Philolaus of Croton. According to Burkert, Pythagoras never dealt with numbers at all, let alone made any noteworthy contribution to mathematics.
According to Aristotle, the Pythagoreans used mathematics for solely "mystical reasons, devoid of "practical application. They believed that all things were made of numbers and that ten was the "perfect number". They believed that "odd numbers were "masculine, that even numbers were "feminine, and that the number five represented marriage, because it was the sum of two and three. Burkert argues that the only mathematics the Pythagoreans ever actually engaged in was simple, "proofless "arithmetic, but that these arithmetic discoveries did contribute significantly to the beginnings of mathematics.
Since at least the first century BC, Pythagoras has commonly been given credit for discovering the "Pythagorean theorem, a theorem in geometry that states that "in a right-angled triangle the square of the hypotenuse is equal [to the sum of] the squares of the two other sides"—that is, According to a popular legend, after he discovered this theorem, Pythagoras sacrificed an ox, or possibly even a whole "hecatomb, to the gods. Cicero rejected this story as spurious because of the much more widely held belief that Pythagoras forbade blood sacrifices. Porphyry attempted to explain the story by asserting that the ox was actually made of "dough.
The Pythagorean theorem was known and used by the "Babylonians and "Indians centuries before Pythagoras, but it is possible that he may have been the first one to introduce it to the Greeks. Some historians of mathematics have even suggested that he - or his students - may have constructed the first "proof. Walter Burkert rejects this suggestion as implausible, noting that Pythagoras was never credited with having proved any theorem in antiquity. Furthermore, the manner in which the Babylonians employed Pythagorean numbers implies that they knew that the principle was generally applicable, and knew some kind of proof, which has not yet been found in the (still largely unpublished) "cuneiform sources.[Notes 4]
Pythagoras was credited with devising the "tetractys, the triangular figure of four rows which add up to the perfect number, ten. The Pythagoreans regarded the tetractys as a symbol of utmost mystical importance. Iamblichus, in his Life of Pythagoras, states that the tetractys was "so admirable, and so divinised by those who understood [it]," that Pythagoras's students would swear oaths by it. Pythagoras's biographers claimed that he also was the first to identify the "five regular solids and that he was the first to discover the "Theory of Porportions.
According to legend, Pythagoras discovered that musical notes could be translated into mathematical equations when he passed blacksmiths at work one day and heard the sound of their "hammers clanging against the anvils. Thinking that the sounds of the hammers were beautiful and harmonious, except for one, he rushed into the blacksmith shop and began testing the hammers. He then realized that the tune played when the hammer struck was directly proportional to the size of the hammer and therefore concluded that music was mathematical. This legend is now known to be "apocryphal, because these ratios are only relevant to string length (such as the string of a "monochord), and not to hammer weight.
In ancient times, Pythagoras and his contemporary "Parmenides of Elea were both credited with having been the first to teach that the "Earth was spherical, the first to divide the globe into "five climactic zones, and the first to identify the "morning star and the "evening star as the "same celestial object. Of the two philosophers, Parmenides has a much stronger claim to having been the first and the attribution of these discoveries to Pythagoras seems to have possibly originated from a "pseudepigraphal poem. Empedocles, who lived in Magna Graecia shortly after Pythagoras and Parmenides, knew that the earth was spherical. By the end of the fifth century BC, this fact was universally accepted among Greek intellectuals.
Within his own lifetime, Pythagoras was already the subject of elaborate "hagiographic legends, which he may have personally encouraged. Aristotle described Pythagoras as a wonder-worker and somewhat of a supernatural figure. In a fragment, Aristotle claims that Pythagoras had a golden thigh, which he publicly exhibited at the "Olympic Games and showed to "Abaris the Hyperborean as proof of his identity as the "Hyperborean Apollo".
Supposedly, the priest of Apollo gave Pythagoras a magic arrow, which he used to fly over long distances and perform ritual purifications. He was once seen at both Metapontum and Croton "at the same time. When Pythagoras crossed the river Casas, "several witnesses" reported that they heard it greet him by name. In Roman times, a legend claimed that Pythagoras was the son of Apollo. According to "Muslim tradition, Pythagoras was said to have been initiated by "Hermes (Egyptian "Thoth).
Pythagoras was said to have dressed all in white with a golden "wreath atop his head and to have worn "trousers after the fashion of the "Thracians. Diogenes Laërtius presents Pythagoras as having exercised remarkable "self-control; he was always cheerful, but "abstained wholly from laughter, and from all such indulgences as jests and idle stories".
Pythagoras was said to have had extraordinary success in dealing with animals. A fragment from Aristotle claims that, when a deadly snake bit Pythagoras, he bit it back and it died. Both Porphyry and Iamblichus report that Pythagoras once persuaded a bull not to eat beans and that he once convinced a notoriously destructive bear to swear that it would never harm a living thing again, and that the bear kept its word.
Anti-Pythagorean legends were also circulated. Diogenes Laërtes retells a story told by Hermippus of Samos, which claimed that Pythagoras had once gone into an underground room, telling everyone that he was descending to the underworld. He stayed in this room for months, while his mother secretly recorded everything that happened during his absence. After he returned from this room, Pythagoras recounted everything that had happened while he was gone, convincing everyone that he had really been in the underworld and leading them to trust him with their wives.
Both "Plato and "Isocrates affirm that, above all else, Pythagoras was famous for leaving behind him a way of life. Carl B. Boyer (1968) characterizes the Pythagorean school as "politically conservative and with a strict code of conduct." Leonid Zhmud (2006) identifies two camps within the early Pythagoreans: the scientific mathematikoi and the religious akousmatikoi, who engaged in politics. The study of mathematics and music may have been connected to the worship of Apollo.
The organization Pythagoras founded at Croton was called a "school", but, in many ways, resembled a "monastery. The adherents were bound by a "vow to Pythagoras and each other, for the purpose of pursuing the "religious and "ascetic observances, and of studying his religious and "philosophical theories. The members of the sect "shared all their possessions in common and were devoted to each other to the exclusion of outsiders. One Pythagorean "maxim was "koinà tà phílōn" ("All things in common among friends").
Both Iamblichus and Porphyry provide detailed accounts of the organization of the school, although the primary interest of both writers is not historical accuracy, but rather to present Pythagoras as a divine figure, sent by the "gods to benefit humankind. Iamblichus, in particular, presents the "Pythagorean Way of Life" as a pagan alternative to the Christian monastic communities of his own time.
Pythagorean teachings were known as "symbols" (symbolon) and members took a vow of silence that they would not reveal these symbols to non-members. Those who did not obey the laws of the community were expelled and the remaining members would erect "tombstones for them as though they had died. New initiates were allegedly not permitted to meet Pythagoras until after they had completed a five-year initiation period, during which they were required to remain silent.
Sources indicate that Pythagoras himself was unusually progressive in his attitudes towards women and female members of Pythagoras's school appear to have played an active role in its operations. Iamblichus provides a list of 235 famous Pythagoreans, seventeen of whom are women. In later times, many prominent female philosophers contributed to the development of "Neopythagoreanism.
The Pythagoreans believed that music was a purification for the soul, just as medicine was a purification for the body. One anecdote of Pythagoras reports that, when he encountered some drunken youths trying to break into the home of virtuous woman, he sang a solemn tune with long "spondees and the boys' "raging willfulness" was quelled. The Pythagoreans also placed particular emphasis on the importance of "physical exercise; therapeutic "dancing, daily morning walks along "scenic routes, and "athletics were major components of the Pythagorean lifestyle. Moments of contemplation at the beginning and end of each day were also advised.
Pythagoreanism entailed a number of "ascetic practices (many of which may have had symbolic meanings). It is more or less agreed that Pythagoras issued a prohibition against the consumption of beans and the meat of non-sacrificial animals, though both of these assumptions have been contradicted. It is also likely that he prohibited his followers from wearing woolen garments. Some ancient writers present Pythagoras as enforcing a "strict vegetarian diet,[Notes 5] which may have been motivated due to the doctrine of "metempsychosis. "Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas, writes, "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters." Other authorities contradict this statement. According to "Aristoxenus, Pythagoras allowed the use of all kinds of animal food except the flesh of "oxen used for "ploughing, and "rams. According to Heraclides Ponticus, Pythagoras ate the meat from sacrifices and established a diet for athletes dependent on meat. Temperance of all kinds seems to have been urged. It is also stated that they had common meals, resembling the "Spartan system, at which they met in companies of ten.
Aristotle claims that the philosophy of Plato was heavily dependent on the teachings of the Pythagoreans. Cicero repeats this claim, remarking that Platonem ferunt didicisse Pythagorea omnia ("They say Plato learned all things Pythagorean"). According to Charles H. Kahn, Plato's middle dialogues, including "Meno, "Phaedo, and "The Republic, have a strong "Pythagorean coloring", and his last few dialogues (particularly "Philebus and "Timaeus) are extremely Pythagorean in character.
According to "R. M. Hare, Plato's "Republic may be partially based on the "tightly organised community of like-minded thinkers" established by Pythagoras at Croton. Additionally, Plato may have taken from Pythagoras the idea that mathematics and abstract thought are a secure basis for philosophy, as well as "for substantial theses in "science and "morals". Plato and Pythagoras shared a "mystical approach to the "soul and its place in the material world" and it is probable that both were influenced by "Orphism. "Bertrand Russell, in his "A History of Western Philosophy, contends that the influence of Pythagoras on Plato and others was so great that he should be considered the most influential philosopher of all time. He concludes that "I do not know of any other man who has been as influential as he was in the school of thought."
Greek sculpture sought to represent the permanent reality behind superficial appearances. Early "Archaic sculpture represents life in simple forms, and may have been influenced by the earliest Greek natural philosophies.[Notes 6] The Greeks generally believed that nature expressed itself in ideal forms and was represented by a type (εἶδος), which was mathematically calculated. When dimensions changed, architects sought to relay permanence through mathematics. "Maurice Bowra believes that these ideas influenced the theory of Pythagoras and his students, who asserted that "all things are numbers".
During the 6th century BC, the number philosophy of the Pythagoreans triggered a revolution in Greek sculpture. Greek sculptors and architects attempted to find the mathematical relation ("canon) behind aesthetic perfection. Possibly drawing on the ideas of Pythagoras, the sculptor "Polykleitos writes in his Canon that beauty consists in the proportion, not of the elements (materials), but of the interrelation of parts with one another and with the whole. In the Greek architectural orders, every element was calculated and constructed by mathematical relations. "Rhys Carpenter states that the ratio 2:1 was "the generative ratio of the "Doric order, and in Hellenistic times an ordinary Doric colonnade, beats out a rhythm of notes."
During the "Middle Ages, Pythagoras was revered as the founder of mathematics and music, two of the "Seven Liberal Arts. He appears in numerous medieval depictions, in illuminated manuscripts and in the relief sculptures on the portal of the "Cathedral of Chartres. The Timaeus was the only dialogue of Plato to survive in Latin translation in western Europe, which led "William of Conches (c. 1080-1160) to declare that Plato was Pythagorean.
In the 1430s, the Camaldolese friar "Ambrose Traversari translated Diogenes Laërtius's Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers from Greek into Latin and, in the 1460s, the philosopher "Marsilio Ficino translated Porphyry and Iamblichus's Lives of Pythagoras into Latin as well, thereby allowing them to be read and studied by western scholars. In his preface to his book "On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres (1543), "Nicolaus Copernicus cites various Pythagoreans among the most important influences on the development of his theory. "Johannes Kepler considered himself to be a Pythagorean. He believed in the Pythagorean doctrine of musica universalis and it was his search for the mathematical equations behind this doctrine that led to his discovery of the "laws of planetary motion. Kepler titled his book on the subject "Harmonices Mundi (Harmonics of the World), after the Pythagorean teaching that had inspired him. Near the conclusion of the book, Kepler describes himself falling asleep to the sound of the heavenly music, "warmed by having drunk a generous draught... from the cup of Pythagoras."
A fictionalized portrayal of Pythagoras appears in Book XV of "Ovid's "Metamorphoses, in which he delivers a speech imploring his followers to adhere to strict vegetarianism. It was through "Arthur Golding's 1567 English translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses that Pythagoras was best known to English-speakers throughout the early modern period. "John Donne's Progress of the Soul discusses the implications of the doctrines expounded in the speech and "Michel de Montaigne quoted the speech no less than three times in his treatise Of Cruelty to voice his moral objections against eating meat. "John Dryden included a translation of the scene with Pythagoras in his 1700 work "Fables, Ancient and Modern and "John Gay's 1726 fable "Pythagoras and the Countryman" reiterates its major themes, linking carnivorism with tyranny. "Lord Chesterfield claimed that his conversion to vegetarianism had been motivated by reading Pythagoras's speech in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Until the word vegetarianism was coined in the 1840s, vegetarians were referred to in English as "Pythagoreans".
Early modern "European esotericism drew heavily on the teachings of Pythagoras. "Rosicrucianism used Pythagorean symbolism, as did "Robert Fludd (1574-1637), who believed his own musical writings to have been inspired by Pythagoras.
The "Transcendentalists read the ancient Lives of Pythagoras as guides on how to live a model life. "Henry David Thoreau was impacted by "Thomas Taylor's translations of Iamblichus's Life of Pythagoras and "Stobaeus's Pythagoric Sayings and his views on nature may have been influenced by the Pythagorean idea of images corresponding to archetypes. The Pythagorean teaching of musica universalis is a recurring theme throughout Thoreau's "magnum opus, "Walden.
Only a few relevant source texts deal with Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, most are available in different translations. Other texts usually build solely on information in these works.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Pythagoras|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pythagoras.|
|"Wikisource has the text of the "1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Pythagoras.|