Mathematician, Philosopher (c60 – c120)

Nicomachus was a Pythagorean philosopher, mathematician and musical theorist from Gerasa. He contributed to the continuation of the Pythagorean philosophy in the post-Roman times, earning the title Neopythagorean. With his work Introduction to Arithmetic Nicomachus was recognized as the father of Theoretic Arithmetic.

Pythagorean philosophy concerned every science from philosophy and mathematics to metaphysics and music. Nicomachus as a musical theorist wrote Manual of Harmonics, which is a treaty on musical notes and the octave. It has been largely influenced by Pythagoras’ musical discoveries involving the monochord.

In his work Introduction to Arithmetic Nicomachus created the Neopythagorean movement, which centuries later Boethius would translate into Latin disseminate to the west, where it became the standard textbook in Europe in arithmetic for over 1000 years. It contains the first multiplication table in a Greek text. His work The Theology of Numbers deals with the metaphysical aspect of numbers, with which Pythagorean philosophy was greatly involved. Numbers are the true essence of every being in both levels of the world.

Nicomachus’ books on the theory of numbers were translated into Arabic and had a profound influence in Arabic mathematics. His works, strangely enough, contain the Arabic numerals instead of the Greco-Roman ones. He made important contributions on the perfect numbers, coined the term “natural numbers” and discovered the theorem which bares his name.


  1. Koutoulas, Diamantis. The Ancient Greek Religion and Mathematics. Vivlia Psaras: Thessaloniki, 2001. Print.
  2. Nicomachus of Gerasa. August 5, 2016. web.
  3. Sakellarios, Georgios. Pythagoras the Teacher of the Centuries. Athens: Ideotheatron, 1962. Print.

One thought on “Nicomachus

  1. […] Other than history, Gregoras wrote books on philosophy, theology, grammar and orthography, hagiology, commentaries and poetry. Of great historical importance is his enormous collection of 159 epistles to notable historical figures of his time. Furthermore, he was involved with the sciences. He attempted to complete Ptolemy’s Harmonica on music, which was left incomplete, wrote books on solar eclipses and on the construction of astrolabes, treatises on mathematics as well as commentaries on the works of Nicomachus. […]


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