“The Hierophant of Philosophy”- Hypatia of Alexandria

  • Kari Vogt


It is in the transition from Hellenism to Christianity, at the very starting-point for European culture, that we meet the philosopher and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria.


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  1. 2.
    A thorough discussion of what the sources say about this is found in R. Hoche, “Hypatia, die Tochter Theons”, in: Philologus 15 (1860). More recent studies do not deviate to any significant degree from Hoche’s views.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Other historians who mention Hypatia are Philostorgius, Hesychius, Photius and Malalas, but they do not contribute new material. The Alexandrian poet Palladius, a contemporary of Hypatia, dedicated an epigram to her.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    I do not discuss here information in Suidas about Hypatia which has been shown later to be erroneous: see Hoche, op. cit. , 454ff.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    PG 67, 766.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Damascius op. cit. 31.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Ibid. 31.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Ibid. 33.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Damascius op. cit. 32Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Ibid. 32.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Praechter op. cit. 243; Rist op. cit. 221.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Hoche op. cit. 444.Google Scholar
  12. 16.
    I accept the chronology of Fitzgerald ànd Lacombrade here.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    The letter to Paeonius is classified among works associated with Syneius’ mission as ambassador to Constantinople.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Cyril was declared a doctor of the Church in 1882 by Pope Leo XIII.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    PG 67, 766–767.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    R. Asmus op. cit. 18.Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    H. Chadwick The Early Church New York 1981, 194.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    von Campenhausen Griechische Kirchenväter Stuttgart 1955, 127.Google Scholar
  19. 25.
    Lacombrade op. cit. 42.Google Scholar
  20. 26.
    “My proposal is to restore eis in front of ton , presupposing hypomnēma” : P. Tannery, “L’article de Suidas sur Hypatia”, Annales de la faculté des lettres de Bordeaux , II (1880), 199.Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    Cf. Praechter op. cit. 244.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    F. Lapatz Lettres de Synésius traduites pour la premère foil et suivies d’études sur les derniers moments de l’hellénisme Paris 1870, 327.Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    Lacombrade op. cit. 42.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    Ibid. 43.Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    Rist op. cit. 215.Google Scholar
  26. 32.
    Der kleine Pauly II, Stuttgart 1967, 1272.Google Scholar
  27. 33.
    Rist op. cit. 217–218.Google Scholar
  28. 34.
    Ibid. 220.Google Scholar
  29. 35.
    Der kleine Pauly II, Stuttgart 1967, 1272.Google Scholar
  30. 36.
    Lacombrade op. cit. 49.Google Scholar
  31. 37.
    Ibid. 50.Google Scholar
  32. 38.
    J. Bregman Synesius of Cyrene, Philosopher-Bishop Berkeley, CA, London 1982.Google Scholar
  33. 39.
    A.W. Richeson, “Hypatia of Alexandria”, in: National Mathematics Magazine (1940), 15. Cf. also J.E. Schrek, “Hypatia von Alexandrien”, Euclides 21 (1946); and J. Coolidge, “Six Female Mathematicians”, Scripta Mathematica 17 (1951).Google Scholar
  34. 40.
    F. Coplestone A History of Philosophy I, part II, New York 1964, 225.Google Scholar
  35. 42.
    Marrou op. cit. 311.Google Scholar
  36. 43.
    Cf. I. van Hausherr Direction spirituelle en Orient autrefois Rome 1955, 271. K. Vogt, “La moniale folle du monastère des Tabennésiotes. Une interprétation du chapitre 34 de l’Historia Lausiaca de Pallade”. In the present volume, 177–192.Google Scholar
  37. 44.
    Cf. Rougé op. cit. 495, who expresses his surprise at Synesius’ acknowledgement of the woman Hypatia, who was indeed his contemporary in age. It is however very clear from the Greek Apophthegmata literature that insight and knowledge were considered superior both to age and to sex.Google Scholar
  38. 45.
    N. Terzaghi (ed.) Synesii Cyrenensis Hymni Roma 1959, 27.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

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  • Kari Vogt

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