Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A philosophical school, with characteristics of a mystical cult in its earlier stages, founded in the city of Croton in southern Italy by Pythagoras (c. 570–490 BCE), a seer and sage according to his followers. The flourishing of the school was violently terminated by a revolution against the Pythagoreans, allegedly by aristocrats that were denied admission, that led to Pythagoras's escape and the massacre of some of his followers. Pythagoreanism had a strong impact in classical political thought and contributed to the formulation and development of basic social and political ideals, like the political role of friendship, the meritocratic distribution of political power, and retributive justice. Our knowledge about Pythagoras's actual teaching is speculative, due to it having been kept secret within the restricted confines of his fellowship. Some of the earlier Pythagorean reports on their political thinking have survived in the form of fragments attributed mainly to Archytas of ...