Pythagoras and Venus

Jan 2019
Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) the first to identify the morning star and the evening star as the same celestial object (Venus).

When did Pythagoras make this discovery?

Pliny The Elder wrote:

Infra solem ambit ingens sidus appellatum Veneris, alterno meatu vagum ipsisque cognominibus aemulum solis ac lunae. praeveniens quippe et ante matutinum exoriens luciferi nomen accepit ut sol alter diemque maturans, contra ab occasu refulgens nuncupatur vesper ut prorogans lucem vicemve lunae reddens.
[37] quam naturam eius Pythagoras Samius primus deprehendit Olympiade circiter XLII, qui fuit urbis Romae annus CXLII. iam magnitudine extra cuncta alia sidera est, claritatis quidem tantae, ut unius huius stellae radiis umbrae reddantur. itaque et in magno nominum ambitu est. alii enim Iunonis, alii Isidis, alii Matris Deum appellavere
But 142 year from the founding of Rome it's 611 BC. Pythagoras was born later.
Do Pliny The Elder get an error?


Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
Pliny records that Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, studied the works of Pythagoras. Livy and Plutarch also know this story, but reject it.

And there was also another Pythagoras of Samos, a boxer, who was an Olympic winner in the 48th Olympic (588 BC). He was also noted for his medical knowledge and literary skill. Maybe Pliny (and others) confused him with Pythagoras of Samos, the philosopher. There were other known Pythagorases too!

The modern chronologies we have for ancient biographies and history are the product of much study and comparison between ancient (and second-hand) sources. They often smooth out or restrict the contradictions, ambiguities and uncertainties of these sources and make it appear that history has a unanimously agreed (or a roughly cohesive) narrative. Even the foundation year of Rome was not agreed upon by the Greek and Roman authors, and there was also some doubt over when the Olympiads started.
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Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
The matter is discussed in "The Roman history from the building of Rome to the ruin of the Commonwealth", Volume 1, by Nathaniel Hooke, published in 1831 (and available to read on google books). He concluded that Pliny was correct on all accounts; that Pythagoras lived earlier than Numa, and that the scholarly dating of the Olympiads and the foundation of Rome is faulty.

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