My personal pantheon: Hypatia of Alexandria

In AD 415, a Christian mob murdered Hypatia, the renowned Lady Philosopher of Alexandria.Artists have a stake in our image of her being a very young and beautiful martyr, but most scholars had put her age at death at  anywhere from 45 to 60. Hypatia would have been older than 20 or 22 when she was already teaching some of the land’s most elite young men. In the early 390’s Hypatia was a well-established philosopher, astronomer and mathematician with many students from rich and powerful families.

Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time…For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.  Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril’s episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius” —Socrates Scholasticus, contemporary historian - {X}

Art: Hypathia by Charles William Mitchell, 1885

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