Pythagoras was well educated, and he played the lyre throughout his lifetime, knew poetry and recited Homer. He was interested in mathematics, philosophy, astronomy and music, and was greatly influenced by Pherekydes (philosophy), Thales (mathematics and astronomy) and Anaximander (philosophy, geometry). In about 535 BC Pythagoras went to Egypt. This happened a few years after the tyrant Polycrates seized control of the city of Samos. Pythagoras went to Egypt with a letter of introduction written by Polycrates. In fact Polycrates had an alliance with Egypt and there were therefore strong links between Samos and Egypt at this time. The accounts of Pythagoras's time in Egypt suggest that he visited many of the temples and took part in many discussions with the priests.

Ten years later, when Persia invaded Egypt, Pythagoras was taken prisoner and sent to Babylon, where he met the Magoi, priests who taught him sacred rites. Iamblichus (250-330 AD), a Syrian philosopher, wrote about Pythagoras, he also reached the acme of perfection in arithmetic and music and the other mathematical sciences taught by the Babylonians

In 520 BC, Pythagoras, now a free man, left Babylon and returned to Samos, and sometime later began a school called The Semicircle. His methods of teaching were not popular with