Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, Lev Tolstoy. Three people from three different eras. What do they have in common? They were all followers of the vegetarian lifestyle. Today, this diet is very widespread and is gaining more and more followers due to concerns about physical appearance and health. But the vegetarian movement is not an invention of the twentieth century. To understand its beginnings, we need to go back more than 2,500 years and take a look at the civilizations of Greece and India.
Vegetarianism is attested as early as the sixth century BC, but the diet itself is much older — prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities rarely ate meat and survived most of the time on a plant-based diet. However, we are talking about a vegetarian movement from the middle of the first millennium BC.
Pythagoras is the earliest vocal supporter of vegetarianism. The Greek mathematician and philosopher (who lived between 570–495 BC) was a follower of this diet for rather philosophical reasons, which were based on the concept of metempsychosis (mystical conception according to which the soul would pass through the body of several living things after death ).