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Overview: Hypatia. Born approximately in 350-370 AD. Lived in Alexandria, Egypt. The last of the great philosophers of the classical era. The first woman to leave a lasting influence in the field of mathematics. Alexandria, Egypt. The city where Hypatia was born and lived.

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overview hypatia
Overview: Hypatia
  • Born approximately in 350-370 AD.
  • Lived in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • The last of the great philosophers of the classical era.
  • The first woman to leave a lasting influence in the field of mathematics.
alexandria egypt
Alexandria, Egypt
  • The city where Hypatia was born and lived.
  • Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.
  • Became the capital of the Graeco-Egyptian world.
  • It was called “The Pearl of the Mediterranean.”
alexandria egypt1
Alexandria, Egypt
  • It was an important route for merchants and travelers.
  • Within a few generations, Alexandria became the largest city in the world, second to Rome.
alexandria egypt2
Alexandria, Egypt
  • The city was the center of trade and the world’s first center for cultural and scientific research.
  • It had been one of the most important cities in the ancient world for almost 700 years.
alexandria egypt3
Alexandria, Egypt
  • It was a cross roads of learning and commerce, being the capital of the greatest province in the Roman Empire at the time.
  • Was located at a crossroads through which most of the trade between east and west must pass.
  • During the early 400’s AD, it shared the distinction of being a great metropolis with only two other cities, Constantinople and Antioch.
alexandria egypt4
Alexandria, Egypt
  • All three were located in the region of the world that encompasses Turkey, the Middle East, and Egypt today.
  • Even mighty Rome could not match these cities in size, importance, and splendor, for Rome’s greatness had been on the wane ever since the days of Marcus Aurelius.
library of alexandria
Library of Alexandria
  • The Museum of Alexandria, also known as the Library of Alexandria became an important world center for Greek music, poetry, a philosophical school and library.
  • This was the world’s greatest library.
  • Copies of almost every important manuscript in the ancient world were kept there.
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Library of Alexandria
  • It is believe to have held about a half million books.
  • It contained the complied history of generations, not just Egypt.
  • The famous institution brought together some of the best scholars of the world, paving the way for advancing the study of mathematics, astrology, anatomy.
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Library of Alexandria
  • It is believed that the library was destroyed by fire, but to this day the details of the destruction remain a lively source of controversy.
  • Facts:
    • Herophylus identified the brain as the controlling organ of the body –launched new era of medicine.
  • Facts:
    • Aristarchus was the first person to state that the earth revolves around the sun.
    • Hipparchus established the first atlas of the stars and calculated the length of the solar system.
    • Euclid wrote his elements of geometry.
the lighthouse of alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • It was constructed in the Third century.
  • It was the tallest structure in the ancient world, besides the Great Pyramid at Giza.
  • The lighthouse served a function role as a landmark for mariners and a symbol of power and technology advancement in the ancient world.
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Alexandria, Egypt
  • During this period, the Christian Church had become powerful.
  • A large part of the population of the Roman world looked to them for guidance and it seemed that the bishops of the large cities had as much or more power than even the emperor in Constantinople.
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Alexandria, Egypt
  • After Constantine’s Edict of Milan gave them the freedom to worship God as they pleased.
  • By the middle of the fourth century, many important posts in the Roman government were occupied by Christians.
  • Alexandria
women of the roman empire
Women of the Roman Empire
  • They were citizens but could not vote or hold political office.
  • Women are named less frequently than men by Roman historians.
  • The lives of women varied greatly based on their position in society.
women of the roman empire1
Women of the Roman Empire

Elite Women:

  • The women who came from wealth had much of their daily labor done by slaves.
  • Wealthy women could spend much of their days socializing and planning their next entertainment with their friends.
women of the roman empire2
Women of the Roman Empire
  • Few women were fortunate enough for this life.
  • Women were in charge of raising children and keeping house.
  • Since there was not birth control, women were often pregnant.
  • Women would have to wash clothes by hand on a weekly basis.
women of the roman empire3
Women of the Roman Empire
  • The were responsible for the fire and oil for lamps, as well as providing fuel for the fire during cold months.
  • Shopping was a daily task for many women.
  • They were in charge of spinning yarn and making clothing for the family by hand.
women of the roman empire4
Women of the Roman Empire
  • In the country, women were put in charge of making cheese, pickling, and washing of wool.
  • In the city, women worked with their craftsmen husbands running the store.
  • There was a good number of women entertainers, though the position was not highly thought of in society.
  • Even some evidence that there were women gladiators at different times in the society.
  • The daughter of Theon of Alexandria, the last known teacher of mathematics in the Museum of Alexandria.
  • The Museum included many independent schools of the great library of Alexandria.
  • She was a student of her father, during her studies she also travelled to other parts of the Roman empire.
  • “Reserve your right to think. For even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.” -Theon
  • She was a popular lecturer, all comments describe her as a charismatic teacher.
  • She was appointed to the chair of philosophy at the University of Alexandria.
  • Her lectures attracted many rich and influential people as her students throughout the empire.
  • She discussed the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.
  • She wrote on mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.
  • This included about the motions of the planets, about number theory and conic sections.
  • She dressed in the clothing of a scholar or teacher rather than in women’s clothing.
  • She moved about freely, driving her own chariot, contrary to the norm for women’s public behaviour.
  • She exerted considerable political influence in the city.
  • She was a pagan (non-Christian).
  • She came to symbolize learning and science with the early Christians identified as paganism.
  • She did teach many prominent Christians, including Synesuis.
  • Many letters that he wrote to her have been preserved and filled with admiration.
  • Hypatia & Alexandria
cyril of alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
  • He was the bishop of Alexandria in 415 AD.
  • It was his ambition to be the most powerful man in Alexandria.
  • He was very influential, at a time of turmoil and frequently violent conflicts between the city’s Pagan, Jewish, and Christian members.
  • He expelled all the Jews of Alexandria, who had formed a flourishing community.
cyril and orestes
Cyril and Orestes
  • In doing this, he was actually exerting the power that belonged to the civil officer, Orestes.
  • He even defied Orestes, the prefect appointed by the Emperor to govern Egypt.
  • Cyril offered Orestes a Bible, which Orestes rejected.
  • This almost cost Orestes his life.
  • Monks came and instigated a riot against Orestes.
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Cyril and Orestes
  • These monks assaulted Orestes and accused him of being a pagan.
  • He rejected the accusations, but the monks were not satisfied.
  • One hit Orestes in the head with a stone, leaving him covered in blood.
  • It was a political rivalry between the church and state.
  • Cyril and Orestes
  • Cyril objected to Hypatia on a number of counts:
    • She represented heretical teachings, including experimental science and pagan religion.
    • She was an associate of Orestes She was a woman who did not know her place.
  • Cyril’s preaching against Hypatia is said to have been what incited a mob led by fanatical Christian monks in 415.
  • Hypatia was attacked as she drove her chariot.
  • She was stripped of her clothes.
  • Beat her with roof tiles, killed her.
  • Stripped her of her flesh from her bones.
  • Scattered her body parts through the streets.
  • Burned some remaining parts of her body in the library.
  • Death of Hypatia
  • “Whatever the precise motivation for the murder, the departure soon afterward of many scholars marked the beginning of the decline of Alexandria as a major center of ancient learning.”
  • All of her work is lost except for its titles and some references to it.
  • Based on the small amount of evidence, Hypatia was an excellent compiler, editor, and preserver of early math works.