Hypatia of Alexandria: The Female Mathematician, Astronomer and Philosopher


Kelly Macquire
published on 31 August 2021

Hypatia of Alexandria was a mathematician, astronomer, Neoplatonist philosopher and professor at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. We actually don’t know that much about her life but her death is well-documented. Hypatia was born in 370 CE, or maybe 350 (we aren’t entirely sure), to Theon of Alexandria and her mother is a mystery. Hypatia was a respected academic at the University of Alexandria, she was famous for her scholarship and even the Christian writers from the time who were hostile to her, commended her intelligence.

The city of Alexandria in Egypt was established by Alexander the Great, and the famous Library of Alexandria, the museum and the temple of Serapis were all established a bit later by Ptolemy I. Ptolemy I was the founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323 - 30 BCE) who came to power after the death of Alexander the Great. Under Ptolemy I, Alexandria became a cultural and economic centre which attracted the best and brightest minds of the time.

In March of the year 415 CE, Hypatia was on her way home from teaching at the university when she was suddenly attacked and dragged out of her chariot by a Christian mob, which was primarily made up of monks. The mob hauled her into the nearest church and some scholars say that the mob tried to get her to kiss the cross, become a Christian and join a nunnery if she wanted to live. Hypatia's death has long been recognized as a watershed mark in history separating the classical age of paganism from the age of Christianity. Her story was dramatized in the 2009 film Agora by director Alejandro Amenabar which focused on the dangers and the cost of religious intolerance.

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here - https://worldhistory.typehut.com/hypatia-of-alexandria-the-female-mathematician-astronomer-and-philosopher-images-and-attributions-6094

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Mowhawk Games / Old World - https://mohawkgames.com/oldworld/
Copyright / republished with permission

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, August 31). Hypatia of Alexandria: The Female Mathematician, Astronomer and Philosopher. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2639/hypatia-of-alexandria-the-female-mathematician-ast/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Hypatia of Alexandria: The Female Mathematician, Astronomer and Philosopher." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 31, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2639/hypatia-of-alexandria-the-female-mathematician-ast/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Hypatia of Alexandria: The Female Mathematician, Astronomer and Philosopher." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 31 Aug 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2024.