Joshua J. Mark
published on 02 September 2009
Hypatia of Alexandria (ca. 370 CE - March 415 CE) was a female philosopher and mathematician, born in Alexandria (Egypt) in 370 CE, daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last Professor at the University of Alexandria.
Hypatia was widely known for her generosity, love of learning and expertise in teaching in the subjects of neo-Platonism, mathematics, science and philosophy in general.
In a city which was becoming increasingly diverse religiously (and had always been so culturally) Hypatia was a close friend of the pagan prefect Orestes and was blamed by Cyril, the Christian Archbishop of Alexandria, for keeping Orestes from accepting the 'true faith'. She was also seen as a 'stumbling block' to those who would have accepted the 'truth' of Christianity were it not for her charisma, charm and excellence in making difficult mathematical and philosophical concepts understandable to her students (concepts which, perhaps, contradicted the teachings of the relatively new Church).
In 415 CE, on her way home from delivering her daily lectures at the University, Hypatia was attacked by a mob of Christian monks, dragged from her chariot down the street into a church, and was there stripped naked, beaten to death, and burned. In the aftermath of Hypatia's death the University of Alexandria was burned on orders from Cyril, pagan temples were torn down, and there was a mass exodus of intellectuals and artists from the newly-Christianized city of Alexandria. Cyril was later declared a saint by the church for his efforts in suppressing paganism and fighting for the true faith. Hypatia's death has long been recognized as a watershed mark in history delineating the classical age of paganism from the age of Christianity.
Donate and help us!
We're a non-profit organisation and we need your help! This website costs money and we have to buy quality research material to produce great content. Our donors make this project possible. Please consider donating; even small amounts help. Thank you!
- Great Philosophers: Hypatia
- Maria Dzielska. Hypatia of Alexandria. Harvard University Press, 1996.
- Michael A. B. Deakin. Hypatia of Alexandria. Prometheus Books, 2007.
Are you qualified to peer review ancient history information? Apply now and help provide quality ancient history information on the web!
Hypatia of Alexandria Books
W. W. Norton & Company (17 March 1989)Price: $23.88 £17.24
Harvard University Press (10 June 2013)Price: $34.45 £28.45
Penguin (01 October 1993)Price: $12.46 £10.44
Walker & Company (29 January 2013)Price: $11.76 £10.03
Penguin Books (30 October 2007)Price: $15.05 £10.03