Pythagoras  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island of Samos, and might have travelled widely in his youth, visiting Egypt and other places seeking knowledge. Around 530 BC, he moved to Croton, in Magna Graecia, and there set up a religious sect. His followers pursued the religious rites and practices developed by Pythagoras and studied his philosophical theories. The society took an active role in the politics of Croton but this eventually led to their downfall. Pythagorean meeting-places were burned and Pythagoras was forced to flee the city. He is said to have died in Metapontum.

Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religion in the late 6th century BC. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic, and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. However, because legend and obfuscation cloud his work even more than that of the other pre-Socratic philosophers, one can give only a tentative account of his teachings, and some have questioned whether he contributed much to mathematics or natural philosophy. Many of the accomplishments credited to Pythagoras may actually have been accomplishments of his colleagues and successors. Whether or not his disciples believed that everything was related to mathematics and that numbers were the ultimate reality is unknown. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom, and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato, and through him, all of Western philosophy.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pythagoras" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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