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Sunday, June 4, 2023

The story of Hypatia – A genius & lady philosopher of Alexandria, brutally murdered by Christian zealots

Hypatia of Alexandria, born around 350 AD and murdered in 415 AD, was one of the most prominent scholars of her time. As the daughter of the mathematician Theon of Alexandria, she was introduced to the world of mathematics and philosophy at a young age, leading to her becoming the head of the Platonist school in Alexandria.

Her intellectual acumen was well renowned, and she was considered a universal genius, teaching students from all around the Mediterranean on subjects ranging from mathematics to philosophy. Despite being a woman in a largely male-dominated society, Hypatia managed to gain the respect and admiration of her contemporaries.

She was known for her exceptional skill in astronomy and mathematics, credited with significant contributions to the development of these fields. She edited the work on conic sections by Apollonius of Perga, which divided cones into different parts by a plane. This work laid the groundwork for our modern understanding of hyperbolas, parabolas, and ellipses. However, Hypatia’s life met a tragic end.

Living during a time of intense religious strife, she was caught up in a conflict between Orestes, the Roman governor of Alexandria, and Cyril, the Christian Bishop of Alexandria. Hypatia, a pagan, was seen as an obstacle to Cyril and was brutally murdered by a mob of Christian zealots. Hypatia’s death was a significant blow to the intellectual world of the time and marked the end of Alexandria’s role as a center of knowledge in the ancient world.

However, her legacy lives on. She remains a symbol of learning and science, and her tragic end underlines the dangerous potential of ignorance and intolerance.

(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @PhysInHistory on May 18, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)

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