Pythogoras of Samos

1344 Words6 Pages
Pythagoras of Samos is often described as the first pure mathematician. He is an extremely important figure in the development of mathematics yet we know little about his achievements. There is nothing that is truly accurate pertaining to Pythagoras's writings. Today Pythagoras is certainly a mysterious figure.
Little is known of Pythagoras's childhood. Pythagoras's father was Mnesarchus, and his mother was Pythais. Mnesarchus was a merchant who came from Tyre. Pythais was a native of Samos. As a child Pythagoras spent his early years in Samos, but traveled with his father. There are accounts, that during their travels, Mnesarchus returned to Tyre with Pythagoras, and had him taught there by the Chaldaeans.
“Certainly growing up he was well educated, learning to play the lyre, learning poetry, and learning how to recite Homeric plays.” ( There were three philosophers, though, who had an influence on Pythagoras while he was a young man. One of the most important was Pherekydes who was described as the teacher of Pythagoras. The other two philosophers were Thales and his pupil Anaximander, who both lived on Miletus. Pythagoras visited Thales when he was between 18 and 20 years old. By this time Thales was an old man, and probably didn’t teach him a great deal. Yet, he advised Pythagoras to travel to Egypt, and learn more in the field of mathematics and astronomy. Thales's pupil, Anaximander, lectured in Miletus, and Pythagoras attended. Anaximander was interested in geometry and cosmology. Many of his ideas influenced Pythagoras's own views.
Pythagoras went to Egypt after a tyrant named Polycrates seized control of Samos. His time in Egypt was spent visiting many temples and taking part in many discussions with priests. Later, in a temple at Diospolis, Pythagoras was accepted into priesthood after completing the rites necessary for admission. “Pythagoras moved on and later learned geometry from the Egyptians, but it is likely that he was already acquainted with geometry from the teachings of Thales and Anaximander.” (
Cambyses II, the king of Persia, invaded Egypt. Pythagoras was captured, and taken prisoner in Babylon. Soon after Pythagoras left Babylon and returned to Samos, but it is nowhere explained how Pythagoras gained his freedom. Polycrates had been killed, which may have been a factor in Pythagoras's return t...

... middle of paper ...

...roton attacked and defeated its neighbor Sybaris. (There are some suggestions that Pythagoras became involved in the dispute.) Then Cylon, a noble from Croton, attacked the Pythagorean Society at. Pythagoras escaped to Metapontium and the most authors say he died there, some claiming that he committed suicide because of the attack on his Society. Though, this is just a speculation. The evidence is unclear as to when and where the death of Pythagoras truly occurred.
“The Pythagorean Society thrived for many years after this and spread from Croton to many other Italian cities. It became political in nature, and spilt into a number of factions.” (
Now Pythagoras is looked upon as a great contributor to the field of mathematics, and a mysterious person. The lack of hard-core information on this person is reflected by the small amount of publicity he himself has received. Certainly though, Pythagoras has, and will continue to live on through his theorems as long as they stand the test of time.

Note: All information contained and used within this report was retrieved from the Internet. None of the information contained within has been proven to be irrefutable fact.

    More about Pythogoras of Samos

      Open Document