Life, Death, and Works
Hypatia has been regarded historically as a pagan martyr, a great mathematician murdered by Christians, provoked by her outspokenness and jealous of her brilliance. The chapter, however, places what is known of her learning and her public utterances (mostly from Christian sources) in the context of fifth-century Alexandria. It discusses the role of women in late antique society and identifies the few women philosophers. It describes the preparation of texts of ancient mathematical classics, especially Ptolemy’s Almagest, in late antiquity. Hypatia’s father and tutor, Theon, prepared a commentary on the Almagest to which Hypatia may have contributed, and the influence of father and daughter on Synesius, later a Christian bishop, is discussed. Hypatia’s death, brutal as it was, arose out of the anti-Jewish riots of 415 and the feud between patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and the governor Orestes.
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