This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Years ago, a man named Pythagoras found an amazing fact about triangles:
If the triangle had a right angle (90°) ... ... and you made a square on each of the three sides, then ... ... the biggest square had the exact same area as the other two squares put together! The longest side of the triangle is called the "hypotenuse", so the formal definition is: In a right angled triangle the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. So, the square of a (a²) plus the square of b (b²) is equal to the square of c (c²): a2 + b2 = c2
Pythagoras was born on Samos. off the coast of Asia Minor. Very strict rules of conduct governed this cultural center. According to Iamblichus. Those who joined the inner circle of Pythagoras's society called themselves the Mathematikoi. Italy. This possible inspiration is presented as an extraordinaire problem in the Berlin Papyrus. a native of Samos) and Mnesarchus (his father. Other students who lived in neighboring areas were also permitted to attend Pythagoras's school. in Southern Italy. to escape the tyrannical government of Polycrates. a Greek island in the eastern Aegean. a Phoenician merchant from Tyre). he left his native city for Croton. He was born to Pythais (his mother. Thales. Known as Akousmatikoi. As a young man. It may have been in Egypt where he learned some geometric principles which eventually inspired his formulation of the theorem that is now called by his name. He was also discipled in the temples of Tyre and Byblos in Phoenicia. Vatican Pythagoras undertook a reform of the cultural life of Croton. Upon his migration from Samos to Croton. Pythagoras established a secret religious society very similar to (and possibly influenced by) the earlier Orphic cult. these students were permitted to eat meat and own personal belongings. owned no personal possessions and were required to assume a mainly vegetarian diet (meat that could be sacrificed was allowed to be eaten). in his book The Lay Monastery (1714). impressed with his abilities. Calabria. Richard Blackmore. Calabria. They lived at the school. advised Pythagoras to head to Memphis in Egypt and study with the priests there who were renowned for their wisdom. Bust of Pythagoras. . urging the citizens to follow virtue and form an elite circle of followers around himself called Pythagoreans. He opened his school to both male and female students uniformly.
in his polemical Against Apion. generally speaking. M. According to R. they used the lyre to cure illness of the soul or body. the Pythagoreans followed a structured life of religious teaching. Pythagoras was familiar with Jewish beliefs.saw in the religious observances of the Pythagoreans. Towards the end of his life he fled to Metapontum because of a plot against him and his followers by a noble of Croton named Cylon. Flavius Josephus. poetry recitations occurred before and after sleep to aid the memory. common meals. exercise. He died in Metapontum around 90 years old from unknown causes. Influence on Plato Pythagoras or in a broader sense. in defence of Judaism against Greek philosophy. It is probable that both have been influenced by Orphism. "the first instance recorded in history of a monastic life. the Pythagoreans. allegedly exercised an important influence on the work of Plato. incorporating some of them in his own philosophy. his influence consists of three points: a) the platonic Republic might be related to the idea of "a tightly organized community of like-minded thinkers". reading and philosophical study. abstract thinking is a secure basis for philosophical thinking as well as "for substantial theses in scienceand morals"." According to Iamblichus. like the one established by Pythagoras in Croton. b) there is evidence that Plato possibly took from Pythagoras the idea that mathematics and. mentions that according to Hermippus of Smyrna. Hare. Music featured as an essential organizing factor of this life: the disciples would sing hymns to Apollo together regularly. . c) Plato and Pythagoras shared a "mystical approach to the soul and its place in the material world".
The mystical and occult qualities of Pythagorean mathematics are discussed in a chapter of Manly P. who made important contributions to geometry. the second King of Rome. Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages entitled "Pythagorean Mathematics". Numa Pompilius. since the commonly accepted dates for the two lives do not overlap. This is unlikely. Influence on esoteric groups Pythagoras started a secret society called the Pythagorean brotherhood devoted to the study of mathematics. such as Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry. both of which were occult groups dedicated to the study of mathematics and both of which claimed to have evolved out of the Pythagorean brotherhood. Pythagorean theory was tremendously influential on later numerology. The 8thcentury Muslim alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan grounded his work in an elaborate numerology greatly influenced by Pythagorean theory. a genuine Pythagorean of the third generation. the Pythagorean theorem (American English) or Pythagoras' theorem (British English) is a relation in Euclidean geometry among the three sides of a right triangle.Plato's harmonics were clearly influenced by the work of Archytas. Roman influence In the legends of ancient Rome. This had a great effect on future esoteric traditions. THEORUM In mathematics. reflected in Book VIII of Euclid's Elements. is said to have studied under Pythagoras. which was extremely popular throughout the Middle East in the ancient world. The theorem is named after .
who by tradition is credited with its discovery and proof. the theorem can be expressed as the equation: or. solved for c: If c is already given. This is usually summarized as follows: The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. A generalization of this theorem is the law of cosines. although it is often argued that knowledge of the theory predates him. the length of the third side can be found. The theorem is as follows: In any right triangle. (There is much evidence that Babylonian mathematicians understood the principle. In formulae If we let c be the length of the hypotenuse and a and b be the lengths of the other two sides. and the length of one of the legs must be found.the Greek mathematician Pythagoras. the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (the two sides that meet at a right angle). which allows the computation of the length of the third side of any triangle. given the lengths of two sides and the size of the . the following equations can be used (The following equations are simply the converse of the original equation): or This equation provides a simple relation among the three sides of a right triangle so that if the lengths of any two sides are known. if not the mathematical significance).
 Written between 2000 and 1786 BC. 4. The Apastamba Sulba Sutra (circa 600 BC) contains a numerical proof of the general Pythagorean theorem. knowledge of the relationship between the sides of a right triangle.angle between them. During the reign of Hammurabi the Great. contains many entries closely related to Pythagorean triples. Megalithic monuments from circa 2500 BC in Egypt. The Baudhayana Sulba Sutra. Van der Waerden believes that "it was . using an area computation. and in Northern Europe. the dates of which are given variously as between the 8th century BC and the 2nd century BC. knowledge of the relationship between adjacent angles. in India. the Middle Kingdom Egyptian papyrus Berlin 6619 includes a problem whose solution is a Pythagorean triple. and proofs of the theorem. and a geometrical proof of the Pythagorean theorem for an isosceles right triangle. 5) triangle as in the Chou Pei Suan Ching 500–200 BC. History The history of the theorem can be divided into four parts: knowledge of Pythagorean triples. Visual proof for the (3. Bartel Leendert van der Waerden conjectures that these Pythagorean triples were discovered algebraically. If the angle between the sides is a right angle it reduces to the Pythagorean theorem. contains a list of Pythagorean triples discovered algebraically. the Mesopotamian tablet Plimpton 322. written between 1790and 1750 BC. incorporate right triangles with integer sides. a statement of the Pythagorean theorem.
However. wrote between 410 and 485 AD. Proklos. Boyer (1991) thinks the elements found in the Shulba Sutras may be of Mesopotamian derivation. when authors such as Plutarch and Cicero attributed the theorem to Pythagoras. according to Proklos's commentary on Euclid. they did so in a way which suggests that the attribution was widely known and undoubted. .certainly based on earlier traditions". known as the "Gougu theorem" (勾股定理) and in India known as the Bhaskara Theorem. he further theorizes that Pythagoras visited Arakonam. this is the original proof of the theorem. whose dates are commonly given as 569–475 BC. according to Proklos. and copied it. 5) triangle. Plato gave a method for finding Pythagorean triples that combined algebra and geometry. together with a mention of right triangles. the oldest extant axiomatic proof of the theorem is presented. Heath. During the Han Dynasty. there was no attribution of the theorem to Pythagoras for five centuries after Pythagoras lived. According to Sir Thomas L. India. Around 400 BC. from 202 BC to 220 AD. the Chinese text Chou Pei Suan Ching (周髀算经). There is much debate on whether the Pythagorean theorem was discovered once or many times. used algebraic methods to construct Pythagorean triples. 4. Written sometime between 500 BC and 200 AD. in Euclid's Elements. According to Albert Bŭrk. Circa 300 BC. (The Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon and the Circular Paths of Heaven) gives a visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem — in China it is called the "Gougu Theorem" (勾股定理) — for the (3. Pythagoras. Pythagorean triples appear inThe Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art. however.  The first recorded use is in China.
the triangle CBH is also similar to ABC. as shown on the figure. we obtain In other words. and they share the angle at A. The new triangle ACH is similar to our triangle ABC. because they both have a right angle (by definition of the altitude).. Let ABC represent a right triangle. Like most of the proofs of the Pythagorean theorem. and call H its intersection with the side AB. The similarities lead to the two ratios. We draw thealtitude from point C. the Pythagorean theorem: Consequences and uses of the theorem . with the right angle located at C.Proof using similar triangles Proof using similar triangles. meaning that the third angle will be the same in both triangles as well. By a similar reasoning. this one is based on the proportionality of the sides of two similar triangles.: As so These can be written as Summing these two equalities.
45. b. Hippasus. 12. the Euclidean distance between two points. (20. (39. 25). their ratio is irrational number). and this proof has come down to us even though it flew in the face of their cherished belief that everything was rational. (12. According to the legend. 4. 4. Distance in Cartesian coordinates The distance formula in Cartesian coordinates is derived from the Pythagorean theorem. and c. If (x0. (7. 13). 13). 65). A right triangle with legs both equal to one unit has hypotenuse length square root of 2. using the Pythagorean theorem. then the distance between them. 60. (5. 12.Pythagorean triples Main article: Pythagorean triple A Pythagorean triple has 3 positive numbers a. (33. 97) The existence of irrational numbers One of the consequences of the Pythagorean theorem is that incommensurable lengths (ie. such that a2 + b2 = c2. 5). 77. 84. 37). 89). 21. Some wellknown examples are (3. in Euclidean n-space. 72. who first proved the irrationality of the square root of two. c). (65. 56. also called the Euclidean distance. (11. 55. can be constructed. (36. The Pythagoreans proved that the square root of 2 is irrational. was drowned at sea as a consequence. y1) are points in the plane. (48. In other words. (16. 85). is defined. 80. 63. Such a triple is commonly written (a. Evidence from megalithic monuments on the Northern Europe shows that such triples were known before the discovery of writing. and . 85). (28. 24. 15. y0) and (x1. 73). 17). a Pythagorean triple represents the lengths of the sides of a right triangle where all three sides have integer lengths. 35. as: . 41). such as the square root of 2. (13. 61). (9. 29). List of primitive Pythagorean triples up to 100 (3. 5) and (5. (8. 65). b. is given by More generally. 40. 53).