Who Was the First Mathematician in Ancient Greece?

Who Was the First Mathematician in Ancient Greece?

Mathematics has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Ancient Greece is often considered the birthplace of Western mathematics, and it is fascinating to explore the origins of this influential field.

While it is challenging to pinpoint the exact first mathematician in Ancient Greece, there are several notable figures who laid the foundation for this remarkable discipline.

Thales of Miletus

One of the earliest mathematicians in Ancient Greece was Thales of Miletus. Thales lived around 600 BCE and was known as one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

He made significant contributions to geometry, particularly in terms of establishing principles and solving practical problems.

  • Geometry: Thales is famous for his theorem which states that if a triangle has two angles that are equal, then the sides opposite those angles are also equal.
  • Astronomy: Thales was also interested in astronomy and predicted a solar eclipse that occurred in 585 BCE.
  • Mathematical Principles: He laid down fundamental principles such as using deductive reasoning and developing mathematical proofs.


Pythagoras is another prominent figure in ancient Greek mathematics. Born around 570 BCE, Pythagoras founded a school called the Pythagorean School, which played a significant role in advancing mathematics.

  • Pythagorean Theorem: Pythagoras’ most famous contribution is undoubtedly the Pythagorean theorem. This theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
  • Number Theory: Pythagoras and his followers believed in the mystical properties of numbers, leading to significant advancements in number theory.


Euclid, who lived around 300 BCE, is considered one of the most influential mathematicians of all time. His work “Elements” served as a foundational textbook for mathematics for over 2,000 years.

  • Geometry: Euclid’s “Elements” covered various aspects of geometry, including definitions, axioms, and proofs. It became a standard reference for mathematicians for centuries.
  • Axiomatic Method: Euclid emphasized using an axiomatic method to build logical arguments based on self-evident truths.


Archimedes was an exceptional mathematician and physicist who lived around 287 BCE. His work had a profound impact on both theoretical and applied mathematics.

  • Calculus: Archimedes developed innovative techniques for calculating areas and volumes using infinitesimals. His work laid some groundwork for future developments in calculus.
  • Mechanical Inventions: Archimedes also designed various mechanical devices like pulleys and levers, showcasing his practical application of mathematical principles.

While it is challenging to determine who exactly was the first mathematician in Ancient Greece due to limited historical records, these four figures – Thales of Miletus, Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes – played pivotal roles in the development of mathematics. Their contributions continue to shape our understanding of mathematics today.