Archytas ( // ; Greek : Ἀρχύτας; 435/410–360/350 BC ) was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato.
Archytas was born in Tarentum, Magna Graecia and was the son of Mnesagoras or Hadees. For a while, he was taught by Philolaus, and was a teacher of mathematics to Eudoxus of Cnidus. Archytas and Eudoxus' student was Menaechmus. As a Pythagorean, Archytas believed that only arithmetic, not geometry, could provide a basis for satisfactory proofs.
Archytas is believed to be the founder of mathematical mechanics.As only described in the writings of Aulus Gellius five centuries after him, he was reputed to have designed and built the first artificial, self-propelled flying device, a bird-shaped model propelled by a jet of what was probably steam, said to have actually flown some 200 meters. This machine, which its inventor called The pigeon, may have been suspended on a wire or pivot for its flight. Archytas also wrote some lost works, as he was included by Vitruvius in the list of the twelve authors of works of mechanics. Thomas Nelson Winter presents evidence that the pseudo-Aristotelian Mechanical Problems was actually authored by Archytas and misattributed.
Archytas named the harmonic mean, important much later in projective geometry and number theory, though he did not invent it.According to Eutocius, Archytas solved the problem of doubling the cube (the so-called Delian problem) in his manner (though he believed "that only arithmetic, not geometry", could provide a basis for satisfactory proofs) with a geometric construction. Hippocrates of Chios before, reduced this problem to finding mean proportionals. Archytas' theory of proportions is treated in book VIII of Euclid's Elements , where is the construction for two proportional means, equivalent to the extraction of the cube root. According to Diogenes Laërtius, this demonstration, which uses lines generated by moving figures to construct the two proportionals between magnitudes, was the first in which geometry was studied with concepts of mechanics. The Archytas curve, which he used in his solution of the doubling the cube problem, is named after him.
Politically and militarily, Archytas appears to have been the dominant figure in Tarentum in his generation, somewhat comparable to Pericles in Athens a half-century earlier. The Tarentines elected him strategos , 'general', seven years in a row – a step that required them to violate their own rule against successive appointments. He was allegedly undefeated as a general, in Tarentine campaigns against their southern Italian neighbors. The Seventh Letter of Plato asserts that Archytas attempted to rescue Plato during his difficulties with Dionysius II of Syracuse. In his public career, Archytas had a reputation for virtue as well as efficacy. Some scholars have argued that Archytas may have served as one model for Plato's philosopher king, and that he influenced Plato's political philosophy as expressed in The Republic and other works (i.e., how does a society obtain good rulers like Archytas, instead of bad ones like Dionysius II?).
Archytas may have drowned in a shipwreck in the shore of Mattinata, where his body laid unburied on the shore until a sailor humanely cast a handful of sand on it. Otherwise, he would have had to wander on this side of the Styx for a hundred years, such the virtue of a little dust, munera pulveris, as Horace calls it in Ode 1.28 on which this information on his death is based. The poem, however, is difficult to interpret and it is not certain that the shipwrecked and Archytas are in fact the same person.
The crater Archytas on the Moon is named in his honour.
The Archytas curve is created by placing a semicircle (with a diameter of d) on the diameter of one of the two circles of a cylinder (which also has a diameter of d) such that the plane of the semicircle is at right angles to the plane of the circle and then rotating the semicircle about one of its ends in the plane of the cylinder's diameter. This rotation will cut out a portion of the cylinder forming the Archytas curve.
Another way of thinking of this construction is that the Archytas curve is basically the result of cutting out a torus formed by rotating a hemisphere of diameter d out of a cylinder also of diameter d. A cone can go through the same procedures also producing the Archytas curve. Archytas used his curve to determine the construction of a cube with a volume of one third of that of a given cube.[ citation needed ]
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers (arithmetic).
Pythagoras of Samos was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a gem-engraver on the island of Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton in southern Italy, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.
Thales of Miletus was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and pre-Socratic philosopher from Miletus in Ionia, Asia Minor. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, and he is otherwise historically recognized as the first individual in Western civilization known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy. He is often referred to as the Father of Science.
Eudoxus of Cnidus was an ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar, and student of Archytas and Plato. All of his works are lost, though some fragments are preserved in Hipparchus' commentary on Aratus's poem on astronomy. Sphaerics by Theodosius of Bithynia may be based on a work by Eudoxus.
Doubling the cube, also known as the Delian problem, is an ancient geometric problem. Given the edge of a cube, the problem requires the construction of the edge of a second cube whose volume is double that of the first. As with the related problems of squaring the circle and trisecting the angle, doubling the cube is now known to be impossible using only a compass and straightedge, but even in ancient times solutions were known that employed other tools.
Aristoxenus of Tarentum was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, and a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy, ethics and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony, survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and meter. The Elements is the chief source of our knowledge of ancient Greek music.
Philolaus was a Greek Pythagorean and pre-Socratic philosopher. He argued that at the foundation of everything is the part played by the limiting and limitless, which combine together in a harmony. He is also credited with originating heliocentrism, the theory that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. According to August Böckh (1819), who cites Nicomachus, Philolaus was the successor of Pythagoras.
In mathematics, solid geometry is the traditional name for the geometry of three-dimensional Euclidean space.
Speusippus was an ancient Greek philosopher. Speusippus was Plato's nephew by his sister Potone. After Plato's death, c. 348 BC, Speusippus inherited the Academy, near age 60, and remained its head for the next eight years. However, following a stroke, he passed the chair to Xenocrates. Although the successor to Plato in the Academy, Speusippus frequently diverged from Plato's teachings. He rejected Plato's Theory of Forms, and whereas Plato had identified the Good with the ultimate principle, Speusippus maintained that the Good was merely secondary. He also argued that it is impossible to have satisfactory knowledge of any thing without knowing all the differences by which it is separated from everything else.
Euclid of Megara was a Greek Socratic philosopher who founded the Megarian school of philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BC, and was present at his death. He held the supreme good to be one, eternal and unchangeable, and denied the existence of anything contrary to the good. Editors and translators in the Middle Ages often confused him with Euclid of Alexandria when discussing the latter's Elements.
Hippasus of Metapontum was a Pythagorean philosopher. Little is known about his life or his beliefs, but he is sometimes credited with the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers. The discovery of irrational numbers is said to have been shocking to the Pythagoreans, and Hippasus is supposed to have drowned at sea, apparently as a punishment from the gods for divulging this. However, the few ancient sources which describe this story either do not mention Hippasus by name or alternatively tell that Hippasus drowned because he revealed how to construct a dodecahedron inside a sphere. The discovery of irrationality is not specifically ascribed to Hippasus by any ancient writer.
Greek mathematics refers to mathematics texts written during and ideas stemming from the Archaic through the Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly extant from the 7th century BC to the 4th century AD, around the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek mathematicians lived in cities spread over the entire Eastern Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa but were united by Greek culture and the Greek language. The word "mathematics" itself derives from the Ancient Greek: μάθημα, romanized: máthēmaAttic Greek: [má.tʰɛː.ma]Koine Greek: [ˈma.θi.ma], meaning "subject of instruction". The study of mathematics for its own sake and the use of generalized mathematical theories and proofs is an important difference between Greek mathematics and those of preceding civilizations.
The method of exhaustion is a method of finding the area of a shape by inscribing inside it a sequence of polygons whose areas converge to the area of the containing shape. If the sequence is correctly constructed, the difference in area between the nth polygon and the containing shape will become arbitrarily small as n becomes large. As this difference becomes arbitrarily small, the possible values for the area of the shape are systematically "exhausted" by the lower bound areas successively established by the sequence members.
Menaechmus was an ancient Greek mathematician, geometer and philosopher born in Alopeconnesus or Prokonnesos in the Thracian Chersonese, who was known for his friendship with the renowned philosopher Plato and for his apparent discovery of conic sections and his solution to the then-long-standing problem of doubling the cube using the parabola and hyperbola.
In mathematics, the three classical Pythagorean means are the arithmetic mean (AM), the geometric mean (GM), and the harmonic mean (HM). These means were studied with proportions by Pythagoreans and later generations of Greek mathematicians because of their importance in geometry and music.
The Twelfth Letter of Plato, also known as Epistle XII or Letter XII, is an epistle that tradition has ascribed to Plato, though it is almost certainly a literary forgery. Of all the Epistles, it is the only one that is followed by an explicit denial of its authenticity in the manuscripts. In the Stephanus pagination, it spans 359c–e of Vol. III.
Nicomedes was an ancient Greek mathematician.
Leodamas of Thasos was a Greek mathematician and a contemporary of Plato, about whom little is known.
Wilbur Richard Knorr was an American historian of mathematics and a professor in the departments of philosophy and classics at Stanford University. He has been called "one of the most profound and certainly the most provocative historian of Greek mathematics" of the 20th century.
Archytas of Mytilene was a celebrated musician of ancient Greece. In his "Life of Archytas", Diogenes Laërtius says that there were four, perhaps five men of this name; Archytas of Tarentum, a polymath and disciple of Pythagoras, was the main subject of the biography, but Diogenes mentions Archytas of Mytilene second, and relates an anecdote about the musician: that once when criticized for speaking too softly, he replied, "my instrument speaks for me".
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