Yes, this is the guy who came up with the Pythagorean theorem we all learned in school ("The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the square of the other two sides"). Apart from this pillar of trigonometry, Pythagoras was the first high profile academic to insist that natural phenomena could be explained mathematically (paving the way for the study of Physics) and was even a major inspiration for Plato's theories of democracy. So, yeah, we can thank him for, like, half of the good things ever invented. Widely considered second only to Shakespeare in English poetry, Lord Byron published his first poetic work at 14, an age when our most profound thought was that girls might possibly be more awesome than video games. Renowned for his wit and versatility, Byron's Don Juan remains one of the few poems most of us can name when trying to seduce drunk English majors. It began when Byron arrived at Cambridge, where he was ordered to send his dog back home as keeping one was against school rules. Desperate for a pet, Byron scoured college policies for an animal not expressly forbidden. He found no reference to bears. The bear stayed with Byron in his dorm room. Being a responsible pet owner, Byron took it on regular leashed walks through the university, terrifying fellow students and lecturers. When asked by administration what purpose the bear served on campus, the poet tried in vain to get his beast a fellowship. Above: Lord Byron and his bear on their 4X4 ATV. And where most people mellow out after they leave school, Byron decided to take his crazy to a whole new level. If you're not seeing the problem with turning your house into Noah's Ark, then you're not imagining the sheer amount of shit these animals produce. Later on in life, Byron's tendencies for playing zoo keeper switched to tendencies for playing war admiral. He constructed two small stone forts on the edge of his lake and launched a fleet of toy ships, which he would spend whole days directing while crouched in his fort. At Byron's insistence his servant, Joe Murray, would lie prone on a small boat in the lake and "command the ships" which we're guessing consisted of pushing them around and making cannon noises with his mouth. Records concerning how much Joe Murray was paid to put up with this sort of shit are unavailable. 5. Tycho Brahe, Danish Astronomer, 1546 1601 In order to protect journalistic integrity, it's worth explaining that the above may misrepresent Tycho. "Hiring" can suggest a casual, occasional employment. Tycho's dwarf was full time. His tasks included sitting underneath the table when Tycho (and sometimes friends) ate, and just hanging around the house. Tycho was renowned as a heavy drinker, so maybe he hired the dwarf in a drunken stupor and just never had the heart to tell him to leave once he sobered up. Michelangelo was one of them. His painting of God Creates Adam on the Sistine Chapel remains the most celebrated wallpaper of all time. Despite his place among the historical elite of painters, he had little respect for paint as a medium and branched to other arts including sculpture (The Statue of David) and architecture (St Peter's Basilica). Michelangelo ignored even the most basic tasks of self maintenance. Not only did he bathe "very rarely" (by 15th century Italian standards, no less), he rarely even changed clothes, sleeping in full regalia shoes included. His assistant once complained that, "He has sometimes gone so long without taking (his shoes) off that then the skin came away, like a snake's, with the boots."
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