Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. She is the first female mathematician to be written of and achieved the position of head of the respected Platonist school. How did Hypatia die? Her Neoplatonism was concerned with the approach to the One, an underlying reality partially accessible via the human power of abstraction from the Platonic forms, themselves abstractions from the world of everyday reality. These works, the only ones she is listed as having written, have been lost, although there have been attempts to reconstruct aspects of them. Hypatia of Alexandria was Greek mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer that lived and taught in Alexandria. They pulled her from her carriage on a street in Alexandria, dragged her to a church, stripped her naked, beat her to death and/or flayed her, tore off her limbs, and burned her remains. According to this account, it was her political affiliation more than her religion or philosophy that caused her downfall, the as the Christian followers of Cyril blamed her for turning Orestes against them (who was also a Christian). Hypatia’s Beginnings. Hypatia (born c. 350–370; died 415) was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Hypatia, also known as Hypatia of Alexandria, was a famed inventor, astronomer, mathematician and philosopher from Egypt, which was a part of the eastern part of the vast Roman Empire back then. She is the earliest female mathematician of whose life and work reasonably detailed knowledge exists. She was, in her time, the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer, the only woman for whom such claim can be made. Author of. Artist's impression of the murder of Hypatia of Alexandria at the hands of followers of Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria. H ypatia was born around 355 into the Roman elite and educated by her famed mathematician father Theon; she would live in his house and work alongside him for her entire life. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. They pulled her from her carriage on a street in Alexandria, dragged her to a church, stripped her naked, beat her to death and/or flayed her, tore off her limbs, and burned her remains. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. This event was perhaps the final end of the great Library of Alexandria, since the Serapeum may have contained some of the Library’s books. She is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded. Theon is best remembered for the part he played in the preservation of Euclid’s Elements, but he also wrote extensively, commenting on Ptolemy’s Almagest and Handy Tables. Honorary Research Fellow, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Hypatia is famous for being the greatest mathematician and astronomer of her time, for being the leader of the Neoplatonist school of philosophy in Alexandria, for spectacularly overcoming the profound sexism of her society, and for suffering a violent death at the hands of ignorant zealots. She was also a popular teacher and lecturer on philosophical topics of a less-specialist nature, attracting many loyal students and large audiences. She is known to have written a commentary on Di… Hypatia taught Platonic philosophy, Ptolemy's system of celestial movement, and the advanced mathematics of Euclid (her father was the one who brought Euclid's Elements to the city). Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, himself a mathematician and astronomer and the last attested member of the Alexandrian Museum (see Researcher’s Note: Hypatia’s birth date).Theon is best remembered for the part he played in the preservation of Euclid’s Elements, but he also wrote extensively, commenting on Ptolemy’s Almagest and Handy Tables. She was known as a gifted teacher, and undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers of the time. Black Friday Sale! Hypatia, (born c. 355 ce—died March 415, Alexandria), mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who lived in a very turbulent era in Alexandria’s history. After all, typically when you murder someone for heresy, you don't preserve their writings for future generations. Hypatia’s death marked the end of paganism and the triumph of Christianity, the final act of a one-hundred-year-old feud waged by the new religion against the ancient world. This was partially because of her use of the astrolabe, an intricate device that was used by the Greeks to predict the path of the stars, tell the time, measure angles, and later on even measure latitude. This was partially because of her use of the astrolabe, an intricate device that was used by the Greeks to predict the path of the stars, tell the time, measure angles, and later on even measure latitude. Corrections? Note that many historians believe a political power struggle between Orestes, the governer, and Cyril the Bishop was the real reason she was killed. If it was her philosophy, it is a bit ironic that the tradition of Platonism, Ptolemy, and Mathematics (and even the astrolabe) was preserved in Europe primarily by the Christian intellectuals. It was probably the most advanced device in the ancient world, and in many ways the technological precursor to mechanical watches. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy. Hypatia was renowned in her own lifetime as a great teacher and a wise counselor. In producing her commentaries on Apollonius and Diophantus, she was pushing the program initiated by her father into more recent and more difficult areas. Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, himself a mathematician and astronomer and the last attested member of the Alexandrian Museum (see Researcher’s Note: Hypatia’s birth date). She is credited with commentaries on Apollonius of Perga’s Conics (geometry) and Diophantus of Alexandria’s Arithmetic (number theory), as well as an astronomical table (possibly a revised version of Book III of her father’s commentary on the Almagest). Hypatia continued his program, which was essentially a determined effort to preserve the Greek mathematical and astronomical heritage in extremely difficult times. Her intellectual accomplishments alone were quite sufficient to merit the preservation and respect of her name, but, sadly, the manner of her death added to it an even greater emphasis. Permanent Link to this Comic: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/163. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). At the time of Hypatia's death, Alexandria was the intellectual center of the world, where philosophers and mathematicians gathered to teach and debate ideas from across the known world. An early manifestation of the religious divide of the time was the razing of the Serapeum, the temple of the Greco-Egyptian god Serapis, by Theophilus, Alexandria’s bishop until his death in 412 ce. Hypatia was brutally murdered by a mob of Christian fanatics. Her death was in many ways political, with the religious zealots trying to seize power and purge the more free thinking pagan philosophers.