Agora: The Power of Hypatia

I was deeply moved by a movie called ‘Agora’, that I’ve recently watched. The movie talks about the calamitous history that has evolved in the city that I currently live in, Alexandria. The plot of the story epitomizes the historical theory of when Christianity first immigrated to Alexandria during the beginning of  400 A.D.

One of the things that I was very beguiled by in this rousing movie was how just one woman, whom was so powerful, stood up among thousands of men to speak her opinions and fight for other people’s rights while teaching and educating others her scientific and mathematical theories. Her name was Hypatia.

Hypatia was a Greek philosopher, astronomer and mathematician in the Egypto-Roman era. She was the first woman to make an abundant contribution to the development of mathematics.
While constantly researching and questioning scientific and mathematical theories, She was also head of the Platonist school in Alexandria, where she taught astronomy and philosophy, cultivating her pupils with Plato and Aristotle’s scientific and mathematical theories. She got her adept education from her father, Theon of Alexandria, who was a very famous mathematician and philosopher.

“There was a woman at Alexandria named 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. 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. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.”

Hypatia came to symbolize learning and science, which early Christians at that time found impious. However, among the pupils that she taught, there were lots of them who were prominent Christians. One of notable ones was Synesius of Cyrene, who later became the Bishop of Ptolemais. Later in 412 A.D, Synesius became patriarch of Alexandria. He become rivals with Orestes, who was the Roman prefector of Alexandria, as the church and the state fought for control. Furthermore there was more rivalry between the two because Orestes was friends with Hypatia, whom the Christians thought was pagan because of her philosophical views. Hypatia stood up in what she believed in and did not agree to get baptized when both Synesius and Orestes told her to. However, this has led to her death: She was brutally attacked by Christian monks (March 415 A.D) where she was abused and later her remains were burned outside the walls of Alexandria.
She was just 45 when she died.

I must say that the movie was very eloquent, and you have to keep an open mind when watching it. However, other than the settings of the movie and so forth, I was moved by Hypatia’s character and how great she was. She was a very smart and powerful woman, whom all men, before Christianity moved to Alexandria, admired  for her works, her brilliant mind and her prodigious beauty.

I recommend this movie to be watched, you won’t regret it.


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