Greek mathematician and

philosopher (approx. 570 B.C. to approx. 480 B.C.). Born in

Samos,

Greece, traveled widely, and studied under philosophers

Pherekydes,

Thales, and

Anaximander. After moving to

Egypt, he was accepted into the

Egyptian priesthood and studied Egyptian

mathematics,

philosophy, and

astronomy. He was taken as a

prisoner to

Babylon, where he mastered the advanced

Babylonian mathematics.

After obtaining his

freedom, he established a

school in southern

Italy. He insisted on

strict rules for his

students, including

vegetarianism (he believed in

reincarnation and didn't want to take the

chance that he might accidentally

eat a former friend), vows of

silence for the first

five years of their membership, and vows of

loyalty and

secrecy. The Pythagoreans regarded

numbers with almost

religious devotion, assigning deep

symbolism to each

numeral. The

Pythagorean school was the first to accept

women as

students and

instructors.

Pythagoras coined the words "

mathematics" and "

philosophy." He was the first to declare the

Earth to be a

sphere, and he discovered the mathematics behind the

musical scale. Of course, the

Pythagorean Theorem, relating to the side

lengths of a

right triangle, still bears his

name.

Research from *GURPS Who's Who 2*, compiled by Phil Masters, "Pythagoras", by Sam Lindsay-Levine, pp. 12-13.