- Numbers under this topic music was studied
- Geometry studied for its own sake and formulated as a science
580? BC-500? BC). The man who played a crucial role in formulating
principles that influenced Plato and Aristotle was the Greek philosopher and
mathematician Pythagoras. He founded the Pythagorean brotherhood, a group of his
followers whose beliefs and ideas were rediscovered during the Renaissance and
contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy.
Pythagoras was born in about 580 BC on the island of Samos, in the Aegean
Sea. It is said he spent his early years traveling widely in search of wisdom.
He settled in Crotona, a Greek colony in southern Italy, about 530 BC. A
brotherhood of disciples soon gathered around him, inspired by his teachings.
The group was strongly religious and devoted to reformation of political, moral,
and social life. The order was influential in the region, but eventually its
involvement in politics resulted in suppression of the brotherhood. Pythagoras
was forced to retire and leave the area. He went to Metapontum, a Greek city in
southern Italy. He died there in about 500 BC.
Because none of the writings of Pythagoras have survived, it is difficult to distinguish his teachings from those of his disciples. Among the basic tenets of the Pythagoreans are the beliefs that reality, at its deepest level, is mathematical in nature; that philosophy can be used for spiritual purification; that the soul can rise to union with the divine; and that certain symbols have a mystical significance. Pythagoras is generally credited with the theory of the functional significance of numbers in the objective world and in music. His followers are credited with the development of the Pythagorean theorem in geometry and the application of number relationships to music theory, acoustics, and astronomy.
Pythagoreans studied varied array of subjects such as:
Numbers (and had mathematically formulated odd, triangular and perfect numbers)
Music (and noticed that the ratios of the lengths of the strings are whole numbers, and that these ratios can be extended to other instruments)
Geometry (and made it into a science which is deserving of study for its own sake and not only for practical purposes).
It is believed that Cylon, a powerful citizen of Croton, wanted to become one of mathematikoi which Pythagoras refused him. This led to a whole-scale attack on Pythagoras and his followers, and their ultimate persecution and demise after the death of Pythagoras himself.
Diogenes mentions that she left writings, but he does not mention their titles. There are several interesting letters published under her name in the Aldine Collection of Greek Epistles (1499 )but more recent scholarship has shown that there were not likely to have been written by Theano.
These continued to be published, however, and if you do a search you will find them in:
Collection Cujacius, Aurel. Allob. 1606
Gale’s Opuscula Mythologica 1671
Wolf’s Mulierum Graecarum Fragmenta, 1739
Conrad Orelli’s Socratis et Socraticorum, Pythagorae et Pythagoreorum, quae ferunter Epistolae 1815