Pythagoras -570 - -500 (70)

The numbers determine the order and harmony in the universe.


Golden Verses

1. First worship the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
2. Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
3. Honor likewise the Terrestrial Guiding Spirits by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
4. Honor likewise your parents and those most nearly related to you.
5. Of all the rest of humanity, make friends with those who distinguish themselves by their virtue.
6. Always give ear to their mild exhortations, and take example from their virtuous and useful actions.

Pythagoras of Samos was an ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, music theorist, leader of a religious and political movement, founder of the Pythagorean school. Born in 570 in Samos, when he was 18 he went to Miletus to study near Ferekydi, Anaximander and Thales. Thales taught him mathematics, geometry and whatever has to do with numbers and calculations, also urged him to travel to Egypt and socialize with the priests of Memphis and Diospolis, foreseeing that Pythagoras could become the wiser of men. In Egypt, Pythagoras stayed for 22 years and perfected his knowledge in geometry and astronomy. Then he went to Babylon where he was taught theological and astronomical themes from Persians magician. He stayed there 12 years and returned to Samos at 56. He built a semicircular theater sustained for centuries and known as ‘Semicircular of Pythagoras', and he tried to convey his knowledge to his countrymen, but Samians didn’t show great interest and didn’t want to follow the strict lifestyle he was teachings. So he decided to relocate to southern Italy, considering that his home is where most people are willing to learn. Before arriving to Italy, he passed from Delphi, Delos and Crete, where he had meetings with the wise men of the time.

He finally settled in Croton, Italy and began to teach. His reputation grew very fast and people came from many places to hear his speeches. Many Greeks were so fascinated that did not return to their homelands but they settled down with their children and their wives in nearby places forming what later was named as Magna Graecia of Italy. The school of Pythagoras was moral and religious, scientific and political, its members played an important role in the politics of Italy. The ideas of the Pythagoreans provoked their political opponents, who full of anger and envy fled to slander and violence. Pythagorians were accused of planning a tyranny and were attacked in one of their gatherings, many of them were arrested and in clashes that followed across the city, many were killed. Pythagoras according to one version was murdered on that day, according to another he fled to Metapontion where he died after years. For his personal life we know that he had married Theano from Croton and they had three daughters and one son.

Regarding Pythagoras’s teaching, although anyone could listen to his public speeches, it was difficult to become a disciple, there were strict selection criteria; one should adopt a different lifestyle, be exercised in abstinence, abstain from certain foods and make purifications. The Pythagoreans argued that what has happened before appears again, life is a continuous cycle and all animate must be considered homogeneous. They believed that the soul is not lost with death but follows a continuous process of reincarnation, at lower or higher forms until the final clearance leading to immortality. This clearance is achieved with the help of music, philosophy and mathematics. The numbers for them are the first principle, the determinative power of the world. The universe came from chaos and acquired a form by the measure and harmony of numbers, in numbers lies the essence of beings and phenomena. The number 7 for example is for health and Light, 4 for justice, 3 has to do with marriages, 8 with love and friendship. Pythagoras among others, invented the multiplication table and the Pythagorean theorem. He also laid the foundations for the science of music as he discovered the association between the length of the strings and their tone, in this discovery we owe the pentagram and the music gradations. Throughout his life promoted the diet with light foods such as barley bread, vegetables, honey and fresh or dried fruits. He didn’t eat meat. As a secret of happiness, he recommended that people should notice two moments in their daily lives. Before falling asleep, should review the day's happenings, and when they wake up, to consider how many and which projects they would execute within the following day.