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Pythagoras Pythagoras fl 530 BCE must have been one of the worlds greatest men but he wrote nothing and it is hard to say how much of the doctrine we know as Pythagorean is due to the founder of the society and how much is later development It is also hard to say how much of what we are told about the life of Pythagoras is trustworthy for a mass of legend gathered around his name at an early date Sometimes he is represented as a man of science and sometimes as a preacher of mystic doctrines and we might be tempted to regard one or other of those characters as alone historical The truth is that there is no need to reject either of the traditional views The union of mathematical genius and mysticism is commonly enough Originally from Samos Pythagoras founded at Kroton in southern Italy a society which were at once a religious community and a scientific school Such a body was bound to excite jealousy and mistrust and we hear of many struggles Pythagoras himself had to f lee from Kroton to Metapontion where he died It is stated that he was a disciple of Anaximander his astronomy was the natural development of Anaximanders Also the way in which the Pythagorean geometry developed also bears witness to its descent from that of Miletos The great problem at this date was the duplication of the square a problem which gave rise to the theorem of the square on the hypotenuse commonly known still as the Pythagorean proposition If we were right in assuming that Thales worked with the old 345 triangle the connection is obvious Pythagoras argued that there are three kinds of men just as there are three classes of strangers who come to the Olympic Games The lowest consists of those who come to buy and sell and next above them
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