A famous theorem of Euler is that Zeta(2n) is a rational number times pi^(2n). Work of Kummer, Herbrand, Ribet and others shows that the rational multiplier has number theoretic significance.

For more general L-functions attached to motives, the philosophy has emerged (Deligne, Beilinson, Bloch, Kato, etc.) that (in vague terms) their values at certain integers are algebraic multiples of transcendental numbers and that the particular algebraic number that's a multiple of the transcendental number contains information about the motive that the L-function is attached to.

But a (nonzero) algebraic multiple of a transcendental number is again transcendental, so an arbitrary real number does not have a well defined decomposition as a product of an algebraic number and a transcendental number.

Still, because of the theorems of Kummer, et. al. one suspects that powers of pi are (at least close to) the "right" "transcendental parts" of the L-function values to be looking at. Maybe one should really be looking a powers of 2pi? But it seems clear that one should not be looking at powers of 691*pi because otherwise the statement of Kummer's criterion for the regularity of a prime would have an exceptional clause involving the prime 691.

Is there a conceptually motivated means of picking out the "right" "transcendental part" of a special value of an L-function?

Presumably the reason that Euler expressed his theorem in terms of pi is because pi was a commonly used symbol. (I've heard people argue that 2 pi is more conceptually primitive and that a label should have been made for the quantity 2 pi rather than for pi and am not sure what I think about this). In any case, there should be an *a priori* means to pin down the relevant transcendental number down "on the nose" (not up to a rational/algebraic multiple).

I have heard that Beilinson's conjecture give the transcendental number only up to a rational multiple and that the Bloch-Kato conjecture pins down the number. But I don't know enough to understand the statement of either conjecture and so am at present ill equipped to derive insight from reading the paper of Bloch and Kato. Are there more elementary considerations that give insight into how to pick out a particular transcendental number out of the set of all of its algebraic multiples?