Ancient Greece philosopher and geometrician, to the populace a magician, who was insatiable at the pursuit of knowledge and wielded an immense influence on the thought of his time.
Pythagoras founded a school where to those who had previously undergone severe and drastic discipline he communicated his wide and varied knowledge. He was also credited with miraculous powers, such as being visible at the same time in places so far apart as Italy and Sicily; of taming a bear by whispering in its ear; of calling a eagle from its flight to alight on his wrist.
Born on the island of Sαmos, Pythagoras was instructed in the teachings of the early Ionian philosophers Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. He is said to have been driven from Sαmos by his disgust for the tyranny of Polycrates (died about 522 BC). He then traveled widely in search of wisdom.
In about 530 BC Pythagoras settled in Crotona, a Greek colony in southern Italy, where he founded a movement with religious, political, and philosophical aims, known as Pythagoreanism. The philosophy of Pythagoras is known only through the work of his disciples, since he left no writings.
Pythagoras' teachings influenced Socrates, Plato, Euclid, Aristotle, and thinkers in many disciplines down to the present day. Iamblichus listed 218 men and 17 women among the most famous of Pythagorean philosophers of ancient times.
Pythagoras achieved such stature during and after his life that he was virtually deified, and numerous legends sprang up around him: He was said to be the son of God and had a gold shin bone. It is said that he was the first person to call himself a philosopher.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Guiley, Rosemary Ellen and Kraig, Donald Michael, Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy, Checkmark Books Publishing.
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