Hypatia of Alexandria the first woman scientist of antiquity

Mihaela Miroiu’s feminist political theory classes opened every year with the screening of the film “Agora”. It is the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, a famous philosopher, astronomer and mathematician in antiquity. It was part of the Alexandria School in the days when this city was one of the most important centers of antiquity. She was a teacher, eventually becoming head of the Neoplatonic school, but she also distinguished herself as a mentor and advisor to the intellectual and political elite of her time. She lived between 370-415 AD and is recognized as the first notable scientist, but unfortunately also the first scientist to be assassinated by religious extremists during a riot.

He has lectured on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and has written several papers on mathematics and astronomy.

In his book “Historia Ecclesiastica” (Church History), Socrates wrote: “There was a woman in Alexandria named Hypatia, the daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such achievements in literature and science that she far surpassed all philosophers. They. time. After succeeding in the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from afar to receive her instructions. Because of his self-control and ease of explanation, which he had acquired as a result of cultivating his mind, he often appeared in public in the presence of magistrates. She didn’t even feel ashamed to come to a men’s gathering. For all men, because of her extraordinary dignity and virtue, admired her all the more. “

Socrates also recounts her murder: “They stripped her completely and then killed her with tiles. After tearing his body to pieces, they took his torn limbs to a place called Cinaron and burned them there. “

“The inferiority of women begins with their exclusion from free thought. If they are not silent alone, then they are silenced by inaccessibility to education. And if they are stubborn to study, to think, to be creative, and to teach others, the supreme sanction can be applied in patriarchal societies. For example, lynching. Hypatia is the great martyr of free thought and research “, this is how Mihaela Miroiu describes her.

Hypatia’s death marked the decline of the glorious era of intellectual enlightenment in the Alexandrian School. Many scholars left the city and took refuge in Athens.   

Photo: Ramona Sandrina Ilie, statue of Hypatia of Alexandria, Egypt

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