Essay about The Genius that Was Pythagoras

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Pythagoras is truly a man unlike any other throughout history. Per-
haps his greatest achievements are within the realm of mathematics; with
his greatest known theory being the Pythagorean Theorem. His theory is so
well..known that even today it peaks the interests of many mathematicians,
with more than 400 proofs being spawned o of his original theorem. Though
his theorem is common knowledge in this modern age, his life still remains a
mystery to most, similar to most pre-Socratic philosophers. What little we
do know is often shrouded in rumors and con
icting reports. Despite this, it
is clearly evident that his contributions to mathematics were substantial.
From Charlene Douglass' article, we learn that Pythagoras was born in
approximately 569 BC in Samos Greece, Pythagoras grew up with his father,
Mnesarchus and his mother Pythais, and he is believed to have had two or
three brothers. His personal life is heavily debated, for some say that he had
a wife by the name of Theano, while others believe her to just be another one
of his students, and that he was neither married nor did he have any children.
Though Pythagoras focus was mainly in mathematics, he was also interested
in elds such as philosophy, astronomy, and music, and was in
uenced by the
likes of Pherekydes, Thales, and Anaximander. Pythagoras also studied for
several years in Egypt with priests in the temples there. It is widely believed
that many of the practices of the society that he created later in life had
origins in the beliefs and teachings of the priests he spent time with while in
Egypt. This included ideas such as codes of secrecy, purity, and the refusal
to eat beans or wear animal pelts. [2]
According the Douglass, around 518 BC, Pythagoras settled in...

... middle of paper ...

...osophers that succeeded him
plagiarized his work as their own. While Diogenes appears to have the least
personal allegiance to the legend of Pythagoras, his account on Pythagorean
philosophy is tainted by the fact that his main source of reference was the
Pythagorean Memoirs, a forgery dated to sometime around 200 BC. [3]
Despite the doubts many cast on the signi cance of Pythagoras work, it
is quite clear that whether or not he was a great philosophical mine, he rev-
olutionized the world of mathematics forever. Through his secretive society
and his own work, he was able to prove many of the theorems and postulates
that form the basics of mathematics today. Those who put him up on a
pedestal were perhaps partially justi ed, for this man helped pave the way
for the advent of philosophers such as Plato and Socrates and ultimately the
rapid expansion of civilization.

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