Most of us know Pythagoras from grade school geometry, as that ancient guy who came up with that theory about a triangle and a hypotenuse. Relatively few of us know that Pythagoras was also a cult leader who advocated some stuff that was good, some stuff that was bad, and a lot of stuff that was just plain bizarre. Following are forty things about Pythagoras, his cult, and other fascinating people and events from the ancient world.
40. The Ancient Geometry Genius Who Was More Than a Geek
When most of us thing of Pythagoras (circa 570 – circa 495 BC), the first thing that comes to mind – probably the only thing that comes to mind – is the Pythagorean theorem from grade school. Which is unfortunate, because there was so much more to the man than “for right angled triangles, side A squared plus side B squared equals side C (hypotenuse) squared”.
The real Pythagoras was actually more of an eccentric – or even lunatic – cult leader, who was good at math and got his followers to worship numbers. However, the theorems and equations competed with Pythagoras’ other weird beliefs. For example, he launched a crusade against beans: he equated eating them to cannibalism and to eating one’s parents.