The Weird Math Cult Leader, and Other Odd Facts From the Ancient World

A tetractys. Red Bubble

39. A Math Cult Leader

Pythagoras was not just a mathematician: he was a full blown cult leader. Those who followed him were not just people who liked math, but adherents of a full-blown religion that revolved around math. Pythagoras preached that the world was based and built on numbers. He taught his followers that reality and the entire universe were controlled by mathematical harmonies

Pythagoras also preached that math was holy, and that numbers were sacred and godlike. The number seven, for example, was associated with wisdom, and eight was associated with justice. Ten was the universe’s holiest number, and the Pythagoreans worshiped it with a prayer that began: “Bless us divine number, who created gods and men”. Their most sacred symbol was the Tetractys, a triangle with ten points across four rows.