Hypatia [a] born c. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy. She is known to have written a commentary on Diophantus 's thirteen-volume Arithmetica , which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus's original text, and another commentary on Apollonius of Perga 's treatise on conic sections , which has not survived. Many modern scholars also believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy 's Almagest , based on the title of her father Theon 's commentary on Book III of the Almagest. Hypatia is known to have constructed astrolabes and hydrometers , but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born.
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Hypatia [a] born c. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy. She is known to have written a commentary on Diophantus 's thirteen-volume Arithmetica , which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus's original text, and another commentary on Apollonius of Perga 's treatise on conic sections , which has not survived. Many modern scholars also believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy 's Almagest , based on the title of her father Theon 's commentary on Book III of the Almagest.
Hypatia is known to have constructed astrolabes and hydrometers , but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born.
Although she herself was a pagan , she was tolerant towards Christians and taught many Christian students, including Synesius , the future bishop of Ptolemais. Ancient sources record that Hypatia was widely beloved by pagans and Christians alike and that she established great influence with the political elite in Alexandria. Shortly before she was murdered, Hypatia advised Orestes , the Roman prefect of Alexandria , who was in the midst of a political feud with Cyril , the bishop of Alexandria.
Rumors spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril and, in March AD, she was murdered by a mob of Christians led by a lector named Peter. Hypatia's murder shocked the empire and transformed her into a " martyr for philosophy", leading future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to become increasingly fervent in their opposition to Christianity. During the Middle Ages , Hypatia was co-opted as a symbol of Christian virtue and scholars believe she was part of the basis for the legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
During the Age of Enlightenment , she became a symbol of opposition to Catholicism. In the nineteenth century, European literature, especially Charles Kingsley 's novel Hypatia , romanticized her as "the last of the Hellenes ". In the twentieth century, Hypatia became seen as an icon for women's rights and a precursor to the feminist movement. Since the late twentieth century, some portrayals have associated Hypatia's death with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria , despite the historical fact that the library no longer existed during Hypatia's lifetime.
Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician Theon of Alexandria c. Watts , Theon was the head of a school called the "Mouseion", which was named in emulation of the Hellenistic Mouseion ,  whose membership had ceased in the s AD.
Theon rejected the teachings of Iamblichus and may have taken pride in teaching a pure, Plotinian Neoplatonism. Nothing is known about Hypatia's mother, who is never mentioned in any of the extant sources. According to a description of Hypatia from the lost work Life of Isidore by the Neoplatonist historian Damascius c. Hoche reasoned that Damascius's description of her physical beauty would imply that she was at most 30 at that time, and the year was 30 years prior to the midpoint of Arcadius's reign.
Hypatia was a Neoplatonist, but, like her father, she rejected the teachings of Iamblichus and instead embraced the original Neoplatonism formulated by Plotinus. According to Watts, two main varieties of Neoplatonism were taught in Alexandria during the late fourth century. The first was the overtly pagan religious Neoplatonism taught at the Serapeum , which was greatly influenced by the teachings of Iamblichus.
We have seen and heard for ourselves she who honorably presides over the mysteries of philosophy. The Christian historian Socrates of Constantinople , a contemporary of Hypatia, describes her in his Ecclesiastical History : . There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time.
Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates.
Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Philostorgius , another Christian historian, who was also a contemporary of Hypatia, states that she excelled her father in mathematics  and the lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria records that, like her father, she was also an extraordinarily talented astronomer. From — , the bishop of Alexandria was Theophilus. Theophilus died unexpectedly in Cyril won and immediately began to punish those who had supported Timothy; he closed the churches of the Novatianists , who had supported Timothy, and confiscated their property.
In , Cyril closed all the synagogues in Alexandria, confiscated all the property belonging to the Jews, and expelled all the Jews from the city. Despite Hypatia's popularity, Cyril and his allies attempted to discredit her and undermine her reputation.
And in those days there appeared in Alexandria a female philosopher, a pagan named Hypatia, and she was devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through her Satanic wiles. And the governor of the city honoured her exceedingly; for she had beguiled him through her magic. And he ceased attending church as had been his custom And he not only did this, but he drew many believers to her, and he himself received the unbelievers at his house.
According to Socrates Scholasticus, during the Christian season of Lent in March , a mob of Christians under the leadership of a lector named Peter, raided Hypatia's carriage as she was travelling home.
Socrates Scholasticus presents Hypatia's murder as entirely politically motivated and makes no mention of any role that Hypatia's paganism might have played in her death.
For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. The Canadian mathematician Ari Belenkiy has argued that Hypatia may have been involved in a controversy over the date of the Christian holiday of Easter and that she was killed on the vernal equinox while making astronomical observations.
Watts both dismiss this hypothesis, noting that there is absolutely no evidence in any ancient text to support any part of the hypothesis. Hypatia's death sent shockwaves throughout the empire;   for centuries, philosophers had been seen as effectively untouchable during the displays of public violence that sometimes occurred in Roman cities and the murder of a female philosopher at the hand of a mob was seen as "profoundly dangerous and destabilizing".
The Alexandrian council was alarmed at Cyril's conduct and sent an embassy to Constantinople. The investigation resulted in the emperors Honorius and Theodosius II issuing an edict in autumn of , which attempted to remove the parabalani from Cyril's power and instead place them under the authority of Orestes.
Hypatia has been described as a universal genius ,  but she was probably more of a teacher and commentator than an innovator. The Ptolemaic model of the universe was geocentric , meaning it taught that the sun revolved around the earth.
In the Almagest , Ptolemy proposed a division problem for calculating the number of degrees swept out by the sun in a single day as it orbits the earth. In his early commentary, Theon had tried to improve upon Ptolemy's division calculation. In the text edited by Hypatia, a tabular method is detailed. Hypatia wrote a commentary on Diophantus 's thirteen-volume Arithmetica , which had been written sometime around the year AD. Cameron states that the most likely source of the additional material is Hypatia herself, since Hypatia is the only ancient writer known to have written a commentary on the Arithmetica and the additions appear to follow the same methods used by her father Theon.
Heath argued that surviving text of Arithmetica is actually a school edition produced by Hypatia to aid her students.
The consensus that Hypatia's commentary is the source of the additional material in the Arabic manuscripts of the Arithmetica has been challenged by Wilbur Knorr , a historian of mathematics, who argues that the interpolations are "of such low level as not to require any real mathematical insight" and that the author of the interpolations can only have been "an essentially trivial mind Hypatia also wrote a commentary on Apollonius of Perga 's work on conic sections ,    but this commentary is no longer extant.
Because of this, most scholars today recognize that Hypatia must have been among the leading mathematicians of her day. One of Synesius's letters describes Hypatia as having taught him how to construct a silver plane astrolabe as a gift for an official.
It can also be used to predict where the stars and planets will be on any given date. The statement from Synesius's letter has sometimes been wrongly interpreted to mean that Hypatia invented the plane astrolabe herself,   but the plane astrolabe is known to have been in use at least years before Hypatia was born. In another letter, Synesius requests Hypatia to construct him a "hydroscope", a device now known as a hydrometer , to determine the density or specific gravity of liquids.
Hydrometers were based on Archimedes ' 3rd century BC principles, may have been invented by him, and were being described by the 2nd century AD in a poem by the Roman author Remnius. This reputation is either built on myth or hearsay as opposed to evidence. Either that or we are missing all of the evidence that would support it. Hypatia was not the last pagan, nor was she the last Neoplatonist philosopher. Neoplatonism and paganism both survived for centuries after her death.
Notable female Neoplatonists who followed her include: Aedesia , Asclepigenia , and Theodora of Emesa , all of whom lived out similar careers. According to Watts, however, Hypatia had no appointed successor, no spouse, and no offspring   and her sudden death not only left her legacy unprotected, but also triggered a backlash against her entire ideology. Instead, her death and the subsequent failure by the Christian government to impose justice on her killers destroyed that notion entirely and led future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to consider Christian bishops as "dangerous, jealous figures who were also utterly unphilosophical.
Shortly after Hypatia's murder, a forged anti-Christian letter appeared under her name. Hypatia's death was similar to those of Christian martyrs in Alexandria, who had been dragged through the streets during the Decian persecution in The Byzantine Suda encyclopedia contains a very long entry about Hypatia, which summarizes two different accounts of her life. Most of the first eleven lines of the entry probably come from Hesychius's Onomatolos ,  but some part are of unknown origin, including a claim that she was "the wife of Isidore the Philosopher" apparently Isidore of Alexandria.
The Byzantine intellectual Photios c. The early eighteenth-century Deist scholar John Toland used the murder of Hypatia as the basis for the anti-Catholic tract, Hypatia: Or the History of a most beautiful, most vertuous, most learned, and every way accomplish'd Lady; who was torn to pieces by the Clergy of Alexandria, to gratify the pride, emulation, and cruelty of their Archbishop, commonly, but undeservedly, stiled St.
Voltaire , in his Examen important de Milord Bolingbroke ou le tombeau de fanatisme interpreted Hypatia as a believer in "the laws of rational Nature" and "the capacities of the human mind free of dogmas "   and described her death as "a bestial murder perpetrated by Cyril's tonsured hounds, with a fanatical gang at their heels".
In his monumental work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , the English historian Edward Gibbon expanded on Toland and Voltaire's misleading portrayals by declaring Cyril as the sole cause of all evil in Alexandria at the beginning of the fifth century  and construing Hypatia's murder as evidence to support his thesis that the rise of Christianity hastened the decline of the Roman Empire. In the course of these heated debates, Hypatia herself tended to be cast aside and ignored, while the debates focused far more intently on the question of whether Peter the Lector had acted alone or under Cyril's orders.
In nineteenth century European literary authors spun the legend of Hypatia as part of neo-Hellenism , a movement that romanticised ancient Greeks and their values.
In his Hypatie and Hypathie et Cyrille , French poet Charles Leconte de Lisle portrayed Hypatia as the epitome of "vulnerable truth and beauty". Kingsley's novel was tremendously popular;   it was translated into several European languages   and remained continuously in print for the rest of the century. The title role was initially played by Julia Neilson , and it featured an elaborate musical score written by the composer Hubert Parry.
At the same time, European philosophers and scientists described Hypatia as the last representative of science and free inquiry before a "long medieval decline". Hypatia was honored as an astronomer when Hypatia , a main belt asteroid discovered in , was named for her. The lunar crater Hypatia was also named for her, in addition to craters named for her father Theon.
Despite its claimed biographical intentions, the book is almost entirely a work of fiction. All of this supposed biographical information, however, is completely fictional and is not found in any ancient source. Hubbard even attributes to Hypatia numerous completely fabricated quotations in which she is presented as espousing modern, rationalist views. Around the same time, Hypatia was adopted by feminists , and her life and death began to be viewed in the light of the women's rights movement.
Such will probably be the fate of this book. For example, Kathleen Wider proposes that the murder of Hypatia marked the end of Classical antiquity ,  and Stephen Greenblatt observes that her murder "effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life".
Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth—often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you can not get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.
Widespread falsehoods and misconceptions about Hypatia continued to proliferate throughout the late twentieth century.
Hypatia z Aleksandrii
She was killed by a fanatical Christian sect. View two larger pictures. Biography Hypatia of Alexandria was the first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics. Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician and philosopher Theon of Alexandria and it is fairly certain that she studied mathematics under the guidance and instruction of her father. It is rather remarkable that Hypatia became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria in about AD.
Hypatia Z Aleksandrii