Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Of or pertaining to Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher (perhaps 532 b. c.), or the school founded at Crotona (modern Cotrone), in Italy. All testimony concerning this school is of a late date, and the substance of it is rejected by many critics either as improbable, or as probable, and “on that account all the more indemonstrable” (Zeller). The stories are, however, very consistent. The higher grade of the school is represented as a strict monastic community, the doctrine being kept secret, and all betrayals terribly punished, for the purpose of maintaining political ascendancy. Pythagoras is said to have traveled to Egypt and Babylon; and many circumstances are accounted for by supposing that he did so. From those countries he might have brought, as it is said he did, a superior knowledge of mathematics. This knowledge, if kept secret, might have supplied revenues to the school, by calculations and surveys made for citizens. It is difficult to doubt that mathematical science was much advanced within the school. All writers upon ancient mathematics attribute to Pythagoras the Pythagorean proposition and a rule for finding Pythagorean triangles. The importance attached to the pentagram in the school shows that the Pythagoreans were acquainted with its geometrical construction, which is very difficult. They knew the regular or cosmical bodies. They were in possession of many propositions in the theory of numbers, including the doctrine of the arithmetical, geometrical, and harmonical proportions. It is not impossible that they may have had an abacus, little inferior to the Arabic system of arithmetical notation. It is not known how long the society lasted, perhaps for many centuries; as long as it retained any valuable secret it would continue to exist. The Pythagorean philosophy has never been comprehended. The substances of things were held to be abstract numbers; they were in some sense the elements of the universe. Each number, therefore, had its virtue. One was the number of the origin, of reason. Two was the number of matter, of brute force, of evil. Three was the number of mediation, four of justice, five of reproduction, etc. Ten governed the world. In the Pythagorean oath, Pythagoras is called the revealer of the quaternary number — that is, ten — as if something decimal were what he chiefly taught. Something fundamental was also found in odd and even, in square numbers, and the like. Harmony, or music, consists in number. The soul is the harmony, or number, of the body. The universe has also a soul. The remainder of the prominent Pythagorean teachings with which we are acquainted are apparently religious. Pythagoras taught the transmigration of souls. Spirits, both ghosts and demigods, were an object of Pythagorean belief. The brotherhood celebrated certain mysterious rites connected with a view of life as a process of purification. About the time of Augustus, perhaps earlier, Pythagoreanism became mixed with Platonism.
- n. A follower of Pythagoras, the founder of the Italic sect of philosophers.
- n. A person who believes in or advocates Pythagoreanism.
- adj. Of or relating to Pythagoras.
- adj. Of or relating to Pythagoreanism.
- adj. Of or relating to a Pythagorean, Pythagoreans.
- adj. archaic vegetarian
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Of or pertaining to Pythagoras (a Greek philosopher, born about 582 b. c.), or his philosophy.
- n. A follower of Pythagoras; one of the school of philosophers founded by Pythagoras.
- adj. of or relating to Pythagoras or his geometry
- Pythagoras + -an (Wiktionary)
“The formula X2 plus Y2 equals Z-, when graphed represents a perfect circle with a radius of Z, as described in what we call the Pythagorean Theorem," he said.”
“Well," said Éloise, after a moment's wondering pause, in which she had taken time to reflect that Mrs. Arles's corner of the estate was carried on faultlessly, "it is too bad to vex you with my matters, when you have as much as you can do in the house, yourself," -- and relapsed into what she called her Pythagorean errors.”
“First, anyone identified as a Pythagorean by an early source uncontaminated by the Neopythagorean glorification of Pythagoras (see below) can be regarded as a Pythagorean.”
“Souls, at this period, were being transmigrated in Pythagorean fashion.”
“It was often at this time referred to as the Pythagorean theory, and it had been taught, I believe, by Aristarchus.”
“So important was it thought to have "sound learning" guarded and "safe science" taught, that in many of the universities, as late as the end of the seventeenth century, professors were forced to take an oath not to hold the "Pythagorean" -- that is, the Copernican -- idea as to the movement of the heavenly bodies.”
“Long before Alexander, the Babylonians had discovered how to use complex fractions, quadratic equations, and what would come to be known as the Pythagorean theorem.”
“In Fragment 6a Philolaus goes on to describe this harmony and what he describes is a musical scale, the scale known as the Pythagorean diatonic, which was used later by Plato in the Timaeus in the construction of the world soul.”
“Seventh Letter, if that is by Plato, and he is not called a Pythagorean there.”
“This scale is known as the Pythagorean diatonic and is the scale that Plato adopted in the construction of the world soul in the Timaeus”
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