Hypatia of Alexandria was a woman of grace and eloquence, of beauty and wisdom. She was born before her time, and she died before her time. Regarded as the first woman astronomer, Hypatia was also an accomplished mathematician, an inventor, and a philosopher of Plato and Aristotle, She lived during the late 4th, early 5th centuries–a time of great change. (More HERE)
Socrates: “The daughter of the philosopher Theon, Hypatia 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.” (More Here)
Damascius: “In addition to her expertise in teaching she rose to the pinnacle of civic virtue. She was both just and chaste and remained always a virgin. She was so beautiful and shapely that one of her students fell in love with her and was unable to control himself and openly showed her a sign of his infatuation. Uninformed reports had Hypatia curing him of his affliction with the help of music. The truth of this story is that she demonstrated the not-so-lovely side of being a woman, to teach him about the folly of his infatuation, and he had a change of heart and went away a better man.” (More HERE)
John, Bishop of Nikiu: “and they proceeded to seek for the pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments. And when they learnt the place where she was, they proceeded to her and found her seated on a (lofty) chair; and having made her descend they dragged her along till they brought her to the great church, named Caesarion. Now this was in the days of the fast. And they tore off her clothing and dragged her [till they brought her] through the streets of the city till she died. And they carried her to a place named Cinaron, and they burned her body with fire. And all the people surrounded the patriarch Cyril and named him “the new Theophilus”; for he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city.” (More HERE)
Hypatia: “All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final. Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all. To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing. Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. 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 cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.” (More HERE)
The struggle for women to speak out, study, obtain knowledge or be recognised for their own wisdom is a very old one and, although it has been improved in many circumstances, still continues today. Hypatia’s story must encourage other women to follow their own truth, and be a demonstration to all men to never allow the dreadful demise of Hypatia to happen again.