Eurytus (Pythagorean)

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Eurytus (/ˈjʊərtəs/; Greek: Εὔρυτος; fl. 400 BC), was an eminent Pythagorean philosopher who Iamblichus in one passage[1] describes as a native of Croton, while in another,[2] he enumerates him among the Tarentine Pythagoreans. He was a disciple of Philolaus, and Diogenes Laërtius[3] mentions him among the teachers of Plato, though this statement is very doubtful. It is uncertain whether Eurytus was the author of any work, unless we suppose that the fragment in Stobaeus,[4] which is there ascribed to one Eurytus, belongs to this Eurytus.

Aristotle, (Metaphysics 1092b) mentions Eurytus, speaking about points as limits of spatial magnitude:

It was in this sense that Eurytus determined the number of anything; for he computed the number of a man or that of a horse or of any living thing by outlining its shape with pebbles, as one would number the sides of a triangle or a square,"[5]

Alexander of Aphrodisias elaborates further:

For example, suppose the number 250 is the definition of human being ... After positing this, he [Eurytus] would take 250 pebbles, some green, some black, others red, and generally pebbles of all colors. Then he smeared a wall with lime and drew a human being in outline ... and then fastened some of these pebbles in the drawn face, others in the hands, others elsewhere, and he completed the drawing of the human being there represented by means of pebbles equal to the units which he declared define human being. As a result of this procedure he would state that just as the particular sketched human being is composed of, say, 250 pebbles, so a real human being is defined by so many units.[6]

According to the historian's from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Philolaus and Eurytus are identified by Aristoxenus as teachers of the last generation of Pythagoreans (D. L. VIII 46).[7] A Echecrates is mentioned by Aristoxenus as a student of Philolaus and Eurytus. (p. 166)[8]


  1. ^ Iamblichus, de Vit. Pyth. 28
  2. ^ Iamblichus, de Vit. Pyth. 36
  3. ^ Diogenes Laërtius iii. 6, viii. 46
  4. ^ Stobaeus, Phys. Ecl. i.
  5. ^ Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1092b. translated by Richard Hope, p. 314, Columbia University Press, 2008.
  6. ^ Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics, 837.9-19, quoted in: Patricia Curd, Richard D. McKirahan, (2011), A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia, page 135. Hackett
  7. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Philolaus". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Sandra Peterson (2011). "Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato".