Weird people are greatly overrepresented in the ranks of the creative types who shaped and greatly influenced the world we live in. Take the math giant who believed we lose a bit of our soul every time we fart. Or the general who thought he was pregnant with a baby elephant. Or the great poet who liked to keep snippets of his lovers’ private hair (if you catch our drift) in carefully sorted envelopes. Below are thirty things about those and other historic figures who were plenty weird.
30. The Pythagoras You Probably Did Not Know
Today, Pythagoras (circa 570 BC – circa 495 BC) is famous for his mathematical theorems. Most notably the “A squared plus B squared equals C squared” bit from grade school about right angled triangles. To the ancient Greeks, however, he was better known along the lines of “that weird and murderous philosopher who founded a religious cult“. Indeed, “weird” barely scratches the surface when it comes to Pythagoras. To his contemporaries, he was a mystic, as well as a murderer who believed in reincarnation and claimed the abilities to divine the future and talk to animals. Pythagoras liked math so much that he got his followers to worship numbers. However, the theorems and equations competed with his other weird notions.
For example, he was a vegetarian who loathed meat, but there was one plant he would not touch: beans. He equated their consumption to cannibalism, and thought that to eat beans was morally equivalent to devouring one’s parents. Speaking of which, he was born in the island of Samos around 570 BC, to a woman named Pythais and, as his followers would have it, the god Apollo. He was a tall and handsome fellow with plenty of charisma, and when he turned eighteen, he left Samos to travel and expand his education. As seen below, by the time his travels were over, Pythagoras had established a religious sect whose adherents viewed him as a god.