She is the true mark of Tenacity: A brilliant mind, a fearless women, and great influencer of her time. And because of her powerful presence, she was brutally murdered in the worst way imagined.
In the times of religious divide between Christians, Jews, and Pagans and strict gender roles in Alexandria, Egypt, Hypatia was a strong minded women who was a Greek intellectual that engulfed her life in Neoplatonist philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. Her father, Theon, a profound teacher in mathematics and astronomy taught his daughter everything he knew and did not reinforce gender expectations. While Greek women of all classes were care takers of the home, Hypatia geared her life towards academics, making her well-respected in a male-dominated world. She was known to be the “earliest female mathematician of whose life and work reasonably detailed knowledge exists” (psu.edu). She continued her father’s works in preserving Greek and mathematical astronomical heritage in times where Christianity was rising and implementing their beliefs as the “true faith.” Not only did she continue her father’s programs, she discovered her own interests and was named as the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer of her time.
There is not much that is known of her life, and unfortunately her death is more known than any of her works and writing, which was lost in time. It’s highly possible that it was intentionally wiped off the face of the earth due to her strong influence, and because she was a women who surpassed many of her peers, hence showing how capable and intelligent women can be.
She was well liked among the Pagan intellectual elites, and was a popular teacher among students as a professor at the University of Alexandria. She had the ability to explain difficult mathematical concepts, and her perspectives were enlightening and intellectual to all who came to listen.
She taught concepts that contradicted the Christian faith and she harbored the ability to influence people to see a different perspective of life versus the one narrative being told. “Hypatia practiced paganism at a time when Christianity was in its infancy. Still, the burgeoning religion began to grow and as such many pagans had converted to Christianity out of fear of persecution.” (allthatsinteresting.com)
One day, after her usual lectures at the university, Hypatia was kidnapped on the street by a mob of Christian monks who stripped her naked, beat her with roofing tiles. Her body, mutilated as they tore her apart and burned her. But not until they dragged her naked broken body on the streets of Alexandria outside the city walls. This clearly shows what hate and fear can drive human beings to do. They did not stop there. After they murdered Hypatia, they burned down University of Alexandria and Pagan temples to promote the “true” faith.
Her death marked the end of the Classical World. “The death of Hypatia of Alexandria has come to embody all that was lost to civilization in tumult of religious intolerance.” (Ancient History Encyclopedia).
Though people attempted to wipe her out of history by brutally murdering her, and destroying her written work, she lives on. She will never be forgotten and will be an example to all women and girls, that anything is possible if you just believe in the greatness in you. Here today, we Honor Hypatia of Alexandria.
Here is another interesting article about Hypatia. Give it a read!
❤ Wabi Sabi