The man whose name will always be indelibly associated with the above Triangle and the celebrated figure called the 47th Problem of Euclid derived from it, is the great Greek Initiate and Teacher, Pythagoras of Krotona (BCE 570-500).
We frequently see it called into question as to whether Pythagoras and his famous problem had really anything to do with the foundation of Freemasonry as the older writers on the subject claim. Personally he wrote nothing.
His principal chroniclers were Philolaus (BCE 370) and Iamblichus (A. 1). 340) . He is quoted and otherwise referred to by many others, and what we learn of his philosophy from these sources indicates that the “number philosophy” of the Gnostic sect of Marcionites strongly resembled it. A great revival of Pythagorean philosophy took place in Europe during the latter part of the 17th century, just at the period when Freemasonry began to attract public attention.
Johannes Meursius (1620), Marcus Meibonius (1650), and Athanasius Kircher (a Jesuit, 1660) collected and republished all the fragments they could find from the preceding authorities.
If Pythagoras studied philosophy among the Medean Magi at Babylon-and the records at least state that he was a pupil of the Chaldeans – he imbibed from them the pure Semitic philosophy thus expressed in his transmitted sayings:
The Monad is God and the good, which is the origin of the One and is itself Intelligence. The Monad is the beginning of everything. Unity is the principle of all things.
If Pythagoras was, as credibly stated, initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, the Mysteries of Isis in Egypt, and the Brahman Mysteries at Elephanta and Ellora, India, he learned the same truth in each of these places, where the Apporheta communicated to the Epopt (i.e.: supreme secret disclosed to the highest initiate) was always the same, viz., that there is but ONE God. The great crime of the ancient world was that it reserved this fact to initiates alone and publicly taught a pantheism, which to Adepts was a veiled philosophy, while the masses viewed it as a multiplicity of independent gods and goddesses.
We have archaeological remains of the highest antiquity to prove that this problem of the right-angled triangle of 3-4-5, of which the Euclidean figure is but one o f several possible extensions, was the central symbol of the religion of widely dispersed millions during many centuries.
The theorems of the sacred geometry of the ancient philosophies are not included in the works of Euclid, even though subject to the same mechanical laws he expounds. This “sacred geometry,” which is the branch underlying all Masonic symbolism, was not intended for the purpose of teaching Operative Masons how to make truly square corners, but for the far more noble and glorious purpose of demonstrating the unity of God, the likeness of the human mind to the divine mind, the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, and the immortality of the soul.
Waving aside the fact that three is a male number because odd, and 4 female because even (three representing Osiris, four Isis, and five Horns), the importance of “the triangle of Huramon” (Horus- Ammon-Hiram), ages older than Pythagoras, as a human contemplation and coequal with creation as a divine principle, resides in the fact that it was the center, core, or nucleus of the ancient sacred philosophy, to which we owe so much. Its symbol for at least 5,000 years has been an eye, now the all-seeing eye of Freemasonry. From it emanated, as a plant from a seed, the various canons of symmetry and order (time, space, number, and proportion), which still reign over the heart and intelligence of man, for man does not regard as beautiful that which his eyes show him by consensus of agreement to be ugly. His recognition of the fitness of certain forms and the laws of their combinations is as much a part of nature as gravity and electricity.
Quite as true as the fact that the perception of the wonderful truths we have enumerated was just cause for Brother Pythagoras to have indulged in the somewhat extravagant barbecue attributed to him, is the circumstance that the prehistoric Mound Builders of America employed this same Pythagorean triangle to demonstrate the fourth dimension.