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495 BC ) was

[1]

an IonianGreek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement calledPythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so that very little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island ofSamos, and may have travelled widely in his youth, visiting Egypt and other places seeking knowledge. He had a teacher named Themistoclea, who introduced him to the principles of ethics.

[2][3]

moved to Croton, a Greek colony in southern Italy, 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. The Pythagorean meeting-places were burned, and Pythagoras was forced to flee the city. He is said to have ended his days in Metapontum. Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religious teaching in the late 6th century BC. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist, and he is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. However, because legend and obfuscation cloud his work even more than with the other pre-Socratic philosophers, one can say little with confidence about his teachings, and some have questioned whether he contributed much to mathematics and 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,[4] and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato, and through him, all of Western philosophy.

Biographical sources

Accurate facts about the life of Pythagoras are so few, and most information concerning him is of so late a date, and so untrustworthy, that it is impossible to provide more than a vague outline of his life. The lack of information by contemporary writers, together with the secrecy which surrounded the Pythagorean brotherhood, meant that invention took the place of facts. The stories which were created were eagerly sought by the Neoplatonist writers who provide most of the details about Pythagoras, but who were uncritical concerning anything which related to the gods or which was considered divine.[5] Thus many myths were created such as that Apollo was his father; that Pythagoras gleamed with a supernatural brightness; that he had a golden thigh; that Abaris came flying to him on a golden arrow;

that he was seen in different places at one and the same time. With the exception of a few remarks by Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, andIsocrates, we are mainly dependent on Diogenes Lartius, Porphyry, and Iamblichus for the biographical details. Aristotle had written a separate work on the Pythagoreans, which unfortunately has not survived.

[7]

[6]

His

disciples Dicaearchus, Aristoxenus, and Heraclides Ponticus had written on the same subject. These writers, late as they are, were among the best sources from whom Porphyry and Iamblichus drew, besides the legendary accounts and their own inventions. Hence historians are often reduced to considering the statements based on their inherent probability, but even then, if all the credible stories concerning Pythagoras were supposed true, his range of activity would be impossibly vast.

[8]

Life

Herodotus, Isocrates, and other early writers all agree that Pythagoras was born on Samos, the Greek island in the eastern Aegean, and we also learn that Pythagoras was the son of Mnesarchus.[9] His father was a gem-engraver or a merchant. His name led him to be associated with Pythian Apollo; Aristippus explained his name by saying, "He spoke (agor-) the truth no less than did the Pythian (Pyth-)," and Iamblichus tells the story that the Pythia prophesied that his pregnant mother would give birth to a man supremely beautiful, wise, and beneficial to humankind.[10] A late source gives

[11]

[12]

in the reign of Polycrates, at the age of 40, which would give a date of birth around 570 BC.

It was natural for the ancient biographers to inquire as to origins of Pythagoras' remarkable system. In the absence of reliable information, however, a huge range of teachers were assigned to Pythagoras. Some made his training almost entirely Greek, others exclusively Egyptian andOriental. We find mentioned as his instructors Creophylus, Syros. life.

[17] [16] [13]

Hermodamas,

[14]

Bias,

[13]

The Egyptians are said to have taught him geometry, the Phoenicians arithmetic,

the Chaldeans astronomy, the Magians the principles of religion and practical maxims for the conduct of Of the various claims regarding his Greek teachers, Pherecydes is mentioned most often.

It was the standard belief in antiquity that Pythagoras had undertaken extensive travels, and had visited not only Egypt, but Arabia, Phoenicia, Judaea, Babylon, and even India, for the purpose of collecting all available knowledge, and especially to learn information concerning the secret or mystic cults of the gods.

[18]

The journey to Babylon is possible, and not very unlikely.Plutarch asserted in his book On Isis

and Osiris that during his visit to Egypt, Pythagoras received instruction from the Egyptian priest Oenuphis of Heliopolis. .[19] Other ancient writers asserted his visit to Egypt.[20] Enough of Egypt was known to attract the curiosity of an inquiring Greek, and contact between Samos and other parts of Greece with Egypt is mentioned.[21] It is not easy to say how much Pythagoras learned from the Egyptian priests, or indeed, whether he learned anything at all from them. There was nothing in the symbolism which the Pythagoreans adopted which showed the distinct traces of Egypt. The secret religious rites of the Pythagoreans exhibited nothing but what might have been adopted in the spirit of Greek religion, by those who knew nothing of Egyptian mysteries. The philosophy and the institutions of Pythagoras might easily have been developed by a Greek mind exposed to the ordinary influences of the age. Even the ancient authorities note the similarities between the religious and ascetic peculiarities of Pythagoras with theOrphic or Cretan mysteries,[22] or the Delphic oracle.[23] There is little direct evidence as to the kind and amount of knowledge which Pythagoras acquired, or as to his definite philosophical views. Everything of the kind mentioned by Plato and Aristotle is attributed not to Pythagoras, but to the Pythagoreans. Heraclitus stated that he was a man of extensive learning;

[24]

[25]

Xenophanes

mentions the story of his interceding on behalf of a dog that was being beaten, professing to recognise in its cries the voice of a departed friend. Pythagoras is supposed to have claimed that he had been Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, in the Trojan war, as well as various other characters, a tradesman, a courtesan, etc.

[26]

Many mathematical and scientific discoveries were attributed to Pythagoras, including his famous theorem,

[27]

[28]

astronomy,

[29]

and medicine.

[31]

[30]

religious element which made the profoundest impression upon his contemporaries. Thus the people of Croton were supposed to have identified him with the Hyperborean Apollo, practised divination and prophecy.

[32]

Delos, Sparta, Phlius, Crete, etc. which are ascribed to him, he usually appears either in his religious or priestly guise, or else as a lawgiver.

[33]

After his travels, Pythagoras moved (around 530 BC) to Croton, in Italy (Magna Graecia). Possibly the tyranny of Polycrates in Samos made it difficult for him to achieve his schemes there. His later admirers claimed that Pythagoras was so overburdened with public duties in Samos, because of the high estimation in which he was held by his fellow-citizens, that he moved to Croton.[34] On his arrival in Croton, he quickly attained extensive influence, and many people began to follow him. Later biographers tell fantastical stories of the effects of his eloquent speech in leading the people of Croton to abandon their luxurious and corrupt way of life and devote themselves to the purer system which he came to introduce.[35] His followers established a select brotherhood or club for the purpose of pursuing the religious andascetic practices developed by their master. The accounts agree that what was done and taught among the members was kept a profound secret. The esoteric teachings may have concerned the secret religious doctrines and usages, which were undoubtedly prominent in the Pythagorean system, and may have been connected with the worship of Apollo.[36] Temperance of all kinds seems to have been strictly urged. There is disagreement among the biographers as to whether Pythagoras forbade all animal food,[37] or only certain types.[38] The club was in practice at once "a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, and a political association."[39]

Such an aristocratic and exclusive club could easily have made many people in Croton jealous and hostile, and this seems to have led to its destruction. The circumstances, however, are uncertain. Conflict seems to have broken out between the towns of Sybaris and Croton. The forces of Croton were headed by the Pythagorean Milo, and it is likely that the members of the brotherhood took a prominent part. After the decisive victory by Croton, a proposal for establishing a more democratic constitution, was unsuccessfully resisted by the Pythagoreans. Their enemies, headed by Cylon and Ninon, the former of whom is said to have been irritated by his exclusion from the brotherhood, roused the populace against them. An attack was made upon them while assembled either in the house of Milo, or in some other meeting-place. The building was set on fire, and many of the assembled members perished; only the younger and more active escaping.[40] Similar commotions ensued in the other cities of Magna Graecia in which Pythagorean clubs had been formed. As an active and organised brotherhood the Pythagorean order was everywhere suppressed, and did not again revive. Still the Pythagoreans continued to exist as a sect, the members of which kept up among themselves their religious observances and scientific pursuits, while individuals, as in the case of Archytas, acquired now and then great political influence. Concerning the fate of Pythagoras himself, the accounts varied. Some say that he perished in the temple with his disciples,[41] others that he fled first to Tarentum, and that, being driven from there, he escaped to Metapontum, and there starved himself to death.[42] His tomb was shown at Metapontum in the time of Cicero.[43] According to some accounts Pythagoras married Theano, a lady of Croton. Their children are variously stated to have included a son,Telauges, and three daughters, Damo, Arignote, and Myia.

Mathematics

The so-called Pythagoreans, who were the first to take up mathematics, not only advanced this subject, but saturated with it, they fancied that the principles of mathematics were the principles of all things. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1-5 , cc. 350 BC

Pythagorean theorem

The Pythagorean theorem: The sum of the areas of the two squares on the legs (a and b) equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse (c).

Since the fourth century AD, Pythagoras has commonly been given credit for discovering thePythagorean theorem, a theorem in geometry that states that in a right-angled triangle the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle), c, is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides, b and a that is, a + b = c . While the theorem that now bears his name was known and previously utilized by the Babyloniansand Indians, he, or his students, are often said to have constructed the first proof. It must,

2 2 2

however, be stressed that the way in which the Babylonians handled Pythagorean numbers implies that they knew that the principle was generally applicable, and knew some kind of proof, which has not yet been found in the (still largely unpublished) cuneiform sources.

[44]

school and the custom of its students to attribute everything to their teacher, there is no evidence that Pythagoras himself worked on or proved this theorem. For that matter, there is no evidence that he worked on any mathematical or meta-mathematical problems. Some attribute it as a carefully constructed myth by followers of Plato over two centuries after the death of Pythagoras, mainly to bolster the case for Platonic meta-physics, which resonate well with the ideas they attributed to Pythagoras. This attribution has stuck down the centuries up to modern times.

[45]

connection with the theorem occurred five centuries after his death, in the writings of Cicero and Plutarch.

Tetractys

Pythagoras was also credited with devising the tetractys, the triangular figure of four rows, which add up to the perfect number, ten. As a mystical symbol, it was very important to the worship of the Pythagoreans, who would swear oaths by it: And the inventions were so admirable, and so divinised by those who understood them, that the members used them as forms of oath: "By him who handed to our generation thetetractys, source of the roots of ever-flowing nature." Iamblichus, Vit. Pyth., 29

Other forms

As pointed out in the introduction, if c denotes the length of the hypotenuse and a and b denote the lengths of the other two sides, Pythagoras' theorem can be expressed as the Pythagorean equation:

If c is known, and the length of one of the legs must be found, the following equations can be used:

or

The Pythagorean equation provides a simple relation among the three sides of a right triangle so that if the lengths of any two sides are known, the length of the third side can be found. A generalization of this theorem is the law of cosines, 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 angle between them. If the angle between the sides is a right angle, the law of cosines reduces to the Pythagorean equation.

Proofs

This theorem may have more known proofs than any other (the law of quadratic reciprocity being another contender for that distinction); the book The Pythagorean Proposition contains 370 proofs.

[9]

This proof is based on the proportionality of the sides of two similar triangles, that is, upon the fact that the ratio of any two corresponding sides of similar triangles is the same regardless of the size of the triangles. Let ABC represent a right triangle, with the right angle located at C, as shown on the figure. We draw the altitude from point C, and call H its intersection with the side AB. Point H divides the length of the hypotenuse c into parts d and e. The new triangle ACH is similar to triangle ABC, because they both have a right angle (by definition of the altitude), and they share the angle at A, meaning that the third angle will be the same in both triangles as well, marked as in the figure. By a similar reasoning, the triangle CBH is also similar to ABC. The proof of similarity of the triangles requires the Triangle postulate:

the sum of the angles in a triangle is two right angles, and is equivalent to the parallel postulate. Similarity of the triangles leads to the equality of ratios of corresponding sides:

The first result equates the cosine of each angle These ratios can be written as:

This is a metric proof in the sense of Dantzig, one that depends on lengths, not areas. The role of this proof in history is the subject of much speculation. The underlying question is why Euclid did not use this proof, but invented another. One conjecture is that the proof by similar triangles involved a theory of proportions, a topic not discussed until later in the Elements, and that the theory of proportions needed further development at that time.

[10][11]

Algebraic proofs

The theorem can be proved algebraically using four copies of a right triangle with sides a, b and c, arranged inside a square with side c as in the top half of the diagram.[19] The triangles are similar with area therefore , while the small square has side b a and area (b a)2. The area of the large square is

A similar proof uses four copies of the same triangle arranged symmetrically around a square with side c, as shown in the lower part of the diagram.

2 [20]

side a + b and area (a + b) . The four triangles and the square side c must have the same area as the larger square,

giving

[21][22]

a trapezoid, which can be constructed from the square in the second of the above proofs by bisecting along a diagonal of the inner square, to give the trapezoid as shown in the diagram. The area of the trapezoid can be calculated to be half the area of the square, that is

The inner square is similarly halved, and there are only two triangles so the proof proceeds as above except for a factor of multiplying by two to give the result. , which is removed by

pythagorean triples

Main article: Pythagorean triple A Pythagorean triple has three positive integers a, b, and c, such that a2 + b2 = c2. In other words, a Pythagorean triple represents the lengths of the sides of a right triangle where all three sides have integer lengths.

[1]

Evidence from megalithic monuments on the Northern Europe shows that such triples were

known before the discovery of writing. Such a triple is commonly written (a, b, c). Some well-known examples are (3, 4, 5) and (5, 12, 13). A primitive Pythagorean triple is one in which a, b and c are coprime (the greatest common divisor of a, b and c is 1). The following is a list of primitive Pythagorean triples with values less than 100: (3, 4, 5), (5, 12, 13), (7, 24, 25), (8, 15, 17), (9, 40, 41), (11, 60, 61), (12, 35, 37), (13, 84, 85), (16, 63, 65), (20, 21, 29), (28, 45, 53), (33, 56, 65), (36, 77, 85), (39, 80, 89), (48, 55, 73), (65, 72, 97)

History

The Plimpton 322 tablet records Pythagorean triples from Babylonian times. [7]

There is debate whether the Pythagorean theorem was discovered once, or many times in many places. The history of the theorem can be divided into four parts: knowledge of Pythagorean triples, knowledge of the relationship among the sides of a right triangle, knowledge of the relationships among adjacent angles, and proofs of the theorem within some deductive system. Bartel Leendert van der Waerden conjectured that Pythagorean triples were discoveredalgebraically by the Babylonians.

[63]

Written between 2000 and 1786 BC, the Middle KingdomEgyptian papyrus Berlin

6619 includes a problem whose solution is the Pythagorean triple 6:8:10, but the problem does not mention a triangle. The Mesopotamian tablet Plimpton 322, written between 1790 and 1750 BC during the reign of Hammurabi the Great, contains many entries closely related to Pythagorean triples. In India, the Baudhayana Sulba Sutra, the dates of which are given variously as between the 8th century BC and the 2nd century BC, contains a list of Pythagorean triples discovered algebraically, a statement of the Pythagorean theorem, and a geometrical proof of the Pythagorean theorem for an isosceles right triangle. The Apastamba Sulba Sutra (circa 600 BC) contains a numerical proof of the general Pythagorean theorem, using an area computation. Van der Waerden believes that "it was certainly based on earlier traditions". According to Albert B rk, this is the original proof of the theorem; he further theorizes that Pythagoras visited Arakonam, India, and copied it. Boyer (1991) thinks the elements found in the ulba-s tram may be of Mesopotamian derivation.[64]

Geometric proof of the Pythagorean theorem from the Zhou Bi Suan Jing.

With contents known much earlier, but in surviving texts dating from roughly the first century BC, the Chinese text Zhou Bi Suan Jing ( called the "Gougu Theorem" (

[68]

), (The Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon and the Circular ).[65][66] During the Han Dynasty, from 202 BC to 220 AD,

[67]

Paths of Heaven) gives an argument for the Pythagorean theorem for the (3, 4, 5) trianglein China it is Pythagorean triples appear in The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, right triangles. Some believe the theorem arose first in China ),

[70] [69]

mathematical collection Zhou Bi Suan Jing[71]) Pythagoras, whose dates are commonly given as 569475 BC, used algebraic methods to construct Pythagorean triples, according to Proklos's commentary on Euclid. Proklos, however, wrote between 410 and 485 AD. According to Sir Thomas L. Heath, no specific attribution of the theorem to Pythagoras exists in the surviving Greek literature from the five centuries after Pythagoras lived.[72] However, when authors such as Plutarch and Cicero attributed the theorem to Pythagoras, they did so in a way which suggests that the attribution was widely known and undoubted.[6][73] "Whether this formula is rightly attributed to Pythagoras personally, [...] one can safely assume that it belongs to the very oldest period of Pythagorean mathematics."[33] Around 400 BC, according to Proklos, Plato gave a method for finding Pythagorean triples that combined algebra and geometry. Circa 300 BC, in Euclid's Elements, the oldest extant axiomatic proof of the theorem is presented.[74]

Everyday application of theorem:1. A practical application of pythagoras Theorem is to check where the ploat or a building or land are in the form of a square or rectangle ( i.e. each corner angle is 90 degree or not ) 2. For finding the third side of a right angle triangle 3. Use of Trigometry i.e. sinx , cosx and tanx based on right angle triangle are used in finding the area of many geometrical figures like area of any triangle , rectangle etc.

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