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The last scientist who worked in the Alexandria Library was a mathematician, astronomer, physicist and the head of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy - an extraordinary range of accomplishments for any individual in any age. Her name was Hypatia. She was born in Alexandria in 370. At a time when women had few options and were treated as property, Hypatia moved freely and unselfconsciously through traditional male domains. By all accounts she was a great beauty. She had many suitors but rejected all offers of marriage. The Alexandria of Hypatia’s time - by then long under Roman rule - was a city under grave strain. Slavery had sapped classical civilization of its vitality. The growing Christian Church was consolidating its power and attempting to eradicate pagan influence and culture. Hypatia stood at the epicenter of these mighty social forces. Cyril, the Archbishop of Alexandria, despised her because of her close friendship with the Roman governor, and because she was a symbol of learning and science, which were largely identified by the early Church with paganism. In great personal danger, she continued to teach and publish, until, in the year 415, on her way to work she was set upon by a fanatical mob of Cyril’s parishioners. They dragged her from her chariot, tore off her clothes, and, armed with abalone shells, flayed her flesh from her bones. Her remains were burned, her works obliterated, her name forgotten. Cyril was made a saint.

-Carl Sagan, Cosmos

[en.wikipedia.org]

FrostyJim 8 Jan 24
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10 comments

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1

Thank you for sharing this information.
After reading this I immediately looked her up.
She was an incredible woman

Unity Level 7 Jan 25, 2023
2

Religion seems to have to unite their followers against an enemy. Today's hacks are not quite as bloodthirsty. Or perhaps our society has matured just a teeny.

1

Christian benevolence . . .

7

Believers of any stripe are dangerous to intelligence and learning.
Hypatia's murder is historic proof that educated women are considered a threat to all religion. That is why they are mistreated and denigrated by all religion.

7

Love the story of her life. Absolutely loathe small minds, insecure incels and the masses of stupid people who get whipped up to do horrible acts.

10

Carl Sagan did it to showcase his evident vast knowledge, but nobody has to take a time warp trip to the fourth century to demonstrate the cruelty, hypocrisy and unreasonable nature of any religion, just open your eyes any day and look around.

So true

8

I knew very little about her but Cyril was certainly no saint. She sounds like a good person to know. Men have a base nature that makes me wonder if her ruthless murder had anything to do with rejecting them all. It could have been a factor.

9

Part of Christianity's destruction of the ancient world and Western knowledge.

6

I would not say avoid the film "Agora", about her life, for it does capture some of the spirit of the times, but it is a wildly inaccurate depiction the facts of her life and times. Worth a look if you take your sceptical head with you.

[en.wikipedia.org]

Yeah. Movie crap. They avoided the reality of her death. I'd avoid it.

@David1955 They also made her thirty or forty, when she was in fact in her sixties at her death. And they had her working on the heliocentric solar system, for which there is no evidence, I suppose they thought that the maths she did was too difficult for the audience.

I didn't think much of that movie, as David wrote, left out one of the most important, yet "controversial" (?) details...her death.
Catherine Nixey's book "The Darkening Age" is where I learned of Hypathia , Bishop Cyril and the details of her death

6

Christians have committed some ghastly crimes. The killing of Hypatia is one of many. Way too many.

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