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Who is PYTHAGORAS ? Pythagoras of Samos 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 that very little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island of Samos, 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. Around 530 BC, he 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 Biographical Sources - I:

Pythagoras Biographical Sources - I 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. 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.

Pythagoras Biographical Sources - II:

Pythagoras Biographical Sources - II With the exception of a few remarks by Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, and Isocrates, we are mainly dependent on Diogenes Laërtius , Porphyry and Iamblichus for the biographical details. Aristotle had written a separate work on the Pythagoreans, which unfortunately has not survived. 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

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