Dorothee Batchelor

Written by Dorothee Batchelor

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


When it comes to ancient Greek mathematicians, one name that immediately comes to mind is Pythagoras. Renowned for his contributions to geometry and number theory, Pythagoras is best known for his famous theorem, which states that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. However, there is much more to Pythagoras than just his theorem.

In this article, we will delve into the intriguing life and achievements of Pythagoras, as we uncover 10 fascinating facts about this enigmatic mathematician. From the mysterious Pythagorean cult to his deep fascination with music, these facts will shed light on the lesser-known aspects of Pythagoras’ life and work.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pythagoras, an ancient Greek mathematician, made significant contributions to geometry, music theory, and philosophy, and his teachings continue to influence the world of mathematics and philosophy today.
  • Pythagoras’ beliefs in the transmigration of souls, vegetarian lifestyle, and the interconnectedness of spirituality and science reflect his holistic approach to understanding the natural world and the universe.
Table of Contents

Pythagoras was an ancient Greek mathematician.

Pythagoras, born around 570 BC, was a renowned mathematician and philosopher from ancient Greece. He is best known for his contributions to geometry and the Pythagorean theorem, which describes the relationship between the sides of a right triangle.

Pythagoras founded a school called the Pythagorean Brotherhood.

Pythagoras established a school in Croton, Italy, known as the Pythagorean Brotherhood. The school was a center for intellectual and philosophical teachings, emphasizing the study of mathematics, music, and astronomy.

The Pythagorean theorem is named after Pythagoras.

The Pythagorean theorem, widely used in mathematics and geometry, is named after Pythagoras because he is credited with its discovery. The theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

Pythagoras believed in the concept of the transmigration of souls.

Pythagoras held a belief in the transmigration of souls, which means that after death, the soul is reborn into a new body. This idea was central to his philosophical and religious teachings and influenced many later philosophers and religious traditions.

Pythagoras and his followers were vegetarian.

As part of their philosophical and ethical beliefs, Pythagoras and his followers followed a vegetarian lifestyle. They believed in the sacredness of all living beings and advocated for non-violence and compassion towards animals.

Pythagoras made significant contributions to music theory.

In addition to mathematics, Pythagoras had a keen interest in music. He discovered the mathematical relationships between musical notes and developed the concept of the octave, which forms the basis of modern music theory.

Pythagoras is associated with the concept of the harmony of the spheres.

According to Pythagorean teachings, the movement of celestial bodies, such as the planets and stars, created a harmonious sound known as the “harmony of the spheres.” This idea contributed to the development of the field of astronomy.

Pythagoras was highly influential in shaping Greek philosophy.

Pythagoras had a profound impact on Greek philosophy, particularly in the areas of mathematics, metaphysics, and ethics. His ideas and teachings laid the foundation for numerous philosophical schools and influenced the works of philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.

Pythagoras introduced the concept of numbers having symbolic meanings.

Pythagoras believed that numbers held mystical and symbolic significance beyond their quantitative value. He associated certain qualities and meanings with different numbers, laying the groundwork for numerology, a practice that continues to this day.

Pythagoras’ teachings embraced both the spiritual and scientific realms.

Pythagoras saw no division between spirituality and science. He believed that both the physical world and the realm of abstract ideas were interconnected, and he sought to uncover the underlying harmony and order in the universe through his philosophical and mathematical inquiries.


In conclusion, Pythagoras was a truly fascinating figure in history. His contributions to mathematics, philosophy, and music have had a profound impact on our world. From the famous Pythagorean theorem to his belief in the harmony of the universe, Pythagoras’ ideas continue to be studied and admired to this day. Whether you’re a math enthusiast or simply interested in learning about influential historical figures, exploring the life and work of Pythagoras will surely leave you in awe of his accomplishments.


1. Who was Pythagoras?

Pythagoras was an ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher. He is known for his mathematical theorem and his contributions to various fields including music and philosophy.

2. What is the Pythagorean theorem?

The Pythagorean theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

3. What are some other contributions made by Pythagoras?

Aside from the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagoras made significant contributions to music theory, introducing the concept of harmonics and the mathematical relationship between musical notes.

4. Was Pythagoras a philosopher as well?

Yes, Pythagoras was not only a mathematician but also a philosopher. He founded a philosophical and religious movement known as Pythagoreanism.

5. What is the significance of Pythagoras’ teachings?

Pythagoras’ teachings had a lasting impact on Western philosophy and laid the foundation for the development of mathematics and science as we know it today.

6. Are there any modern applications of Pythagoras’ work?

Absolutely! The Pythagorean theorem is widely used in geometry and various fields such as engineering, architecture, and navigation.

7. Did Pythagoras believe in the immortality of the soul?

Yes, Pythagoras believed in the immortality of the soul and the concept of reincarnation. He considered the soul to be divine and eternal.

8. Did Pythagoras establish a school of thought?

Yes, Pythagoras established a school called the Pythagorean School in Croton, Italy. It was a place for the study of mathematics, philosophy, and music.

9. How did Pythagoreanism influence later philosophers?

Pythagoreanism greatly influenced later philosophers, especially Plato and Aristotle. Many of their ideas and theories were built upon the principles established by Pythagoras.

10. Are there any books or writings attributed to Pythagoras?

No original writings by Pythagoras have been preserved. Most of what we know about him and his teachings comes from his followers and later scholars who documented his ideas.

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