Hypatia of Alexandria
A follower of Porphyry, Hypatia was a noted mathematician and
neo-platonist. Born c. 355/360 in Alexandria, she was the daughter of
Theon, also a mathematician and philosopher who educated her in these
fields. She revised the third book of his commentary on Ptolemy's
Algamest and wrote commentaries (now lost) on the
Conics of Apollinaris of Perga
and on the work of Drophantes of Alexandria. Hypatia taught philosophy and
astronomy in Alexandria, and her most famous pupil was Synesius, a pagan
who later became bishop of Ptolemais. Their correspondence is extant.
Suspected of having turned the pagan prefect of the city against the
Christians, Hypatia was murdered in 415 by a mob led by Peter the Reader.
Patriarch Cyril probably was not involved, although for centuries it has
been said that he incited the mob. Alexandria declined as a center of
learning after the death of Hypatia.
Karen Rae Keck
- ASSOCIATED PEOPLE:
- St. Catherine of Alexandria:
Although St. Catherine was martyred half a century before
Hypatia was born, the similarity of their intellectual interests
and the brutality of their murders have caused them to be
frequently associated and occasionally even conflated.
Return to St Pachomius Library.