ARCHYTAS

Tarantas
4th century B.C.





BIOGRAPHY

Greek scientist, philosopher and an important Pythagorean mathematician from Tarentum in southern Italy. He is considered the founder of mathematical mechanics along with the most important researcher of acoustics in ancient Greece.

He was an active member of the political life. Thanks to his knowledge, ethics and personal virtues, his fellow citizens admired him so much that they chose him to be the governor of Tarentum seven times (although the city law did not allow one to rule more than one year. Aristotle and Aristoxenus wrote about his life and writings, while his dear friend Plato found in Archytas a supporter during his persecution by Dionysus of Syracuse. Plato himself used the results of Archytas research in his mathematical works, and there is strong belief than Eukleides himself used the proof Archytas wrote in his 8th book of the Elements.

Tradition has him to have constructed a wooden pigeon flying around using compressed air.

Archytas, who was a second generation student of Pythagoras (the Greek philosopher who pointed out the importance of numbers as tools to interpret everything around us) tried to combine practical observation with Pythagorean theory. In geometry he solved the so called delian problem (doubling the cube) using semi-cylinders to a 3d model. Archytas must have took active part in the Pythagorean research of spaces. He tried to define their relativity in all three genes of ancient Greek music.

The fame of Archytas as a scientist and mathematician is mostly due to his achievements in geometry, acoustics, and music theory, rather than his idealistic explanations of human relationship and nature of society according to the Pythagorean theory of numbers.