# 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nicomachus (philosopher)

**NICOMACHUS,** a Neo-Pythagorean philosopher and mathematician, born at Gerasa in Arabia Petraea, flourished about A.D. 100. In his musical treatise he mentions Thrasyllus (d. 36),
the astrologer and confidant of Tiberius, and his *Arithmetic* was
translated by Apuleius, who wrote under Antoninus Pius and
Marcus Aurelius. He is the author of two extant treatises:
(1) Ἀριθμητικὴ εἰσαγωγή (*Introduction to Arithmetic*), a metaphysical
account of the theory and properties of numbers, and
the first work in which arithmetic was treated quite independently
of geometry. It was extremely popular, was the subject of
commentaries by Iamblichus (ed. H. Pistelli, 1894) and others,
was translated into Latin by Apuleius (according to Cassiodorus,
the translation itself being lost) and Boëtius, and used as a
schoolbook down to the Renaissance. (2) Ἐγχειρίδιον ἁρμονικῆς
(*Manual of Harmony*), complete in one book, to which are
erroneously appended as a second book some fragments probably
belonging to a larger treatise *On Music* now lost. It is the oldest
authority on the Pythagorean theory of music. Photius (*cod*.
187) also mentions a work by Nicomachus called Ἀριθμητικὰ
θεολογούμενα
(*The Theology of Arithmetic*), written in a spirit of
Pythagorean mysticism and Oriental superstition, and setting
forth the application of arithmetic, or rather of the first ten
numbers, to the origin and attributes of the gods. But the extracts in Photius are now generally attributed to Iamblichus. Other works of Nicomachus were: a *Life of Pythagoras* and a *Collection of Pythagorean Doctrines*, the chief source of the life of Pythagoras and the account of his philosophy by Iamblichus.

Editions.—*Introd. to Arith.*, by R. Hoche (1866); *Manual of Harmony*, by C. de Jan in *Musici scriptores Graeci* (1895), with account of Nicomachus and his works, and French translation, with bibliography and notes, by C. E. Ruelle (1881); *Theology of Arithmetic*, by F. Ast (1817); see W. Christ, *Geschichte der griechischen*
*Literatur* (1898); M. Cantor, *Vorlesungen über Geschichte der Mathematik*, i. (1894) p. 400, and J. Gow, *A Short History of Greek Mathematics* (1884), p. 88, both of whom give summaries of the *Arithmetic*.