Thymaridas was a Pythagorean and a number theorist who wrote on prime numbers. Iamblichus tells us that Thymaridas called a prime number rectilinear since it can only be represented one-dimensionally. Non-primes such as 6 are represented by rectangles of sides 2 and 3. We are also told that he called 'one' a 'limiting quantity' or a 'limit of fewness'.
Thymaridas also gave methods for solving simultaneous linear equations which became known as the 'flower of Thymaridas'. For the n equations in n unknowns
x + x1 + x2 + ... + xn-1 = Sthen Thymaridas gives the solution
x + x1 = a1
x + x2 = a2
x + xn-1 = an-1
x = [(a1 + a2 + .... + an-1) - S]/(n - 2).He also shows how certain other types of equations can be put into this form.
Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
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