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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA: PROTAGONIST OF AMENABAR'S NEW FILM "AGORA"





Hypatia of Alexandria (pronounced /haɪˈpeɪʃə/ in English) (Greek: Ὑπατία; born between AD 350 and 370 – 415) was a Greek scholar from Alexandria in Egypt, considered the first notable woman in mathematics, who also taught philosophy and astronomy. She lived in Roman Egypt, and was killed by a Christian mob who blamed her for religious turmoil. Some suggest that her murder marked the end of what is traditionally known as Classical antiquity, although others observe that Hellenistic philosophy continued to flourish until the age of Justinian in the sixth century.
A Neoplatonist philosopher, she belonged to the mathematical tradition of the Academy of Athens represented by Eudoxus of Cnidus; she followed the school of the 3rd century thinker Plotinus, discouraging empirical enquiry and encouraging logical and mathematical studies.
Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, who was her teacher and the last known mathematician associated with the Museum of Alexandria. She travelled to both Athens and Italy to study, before becoming head of the Platonist school at Alexandria in approximately 400 AD. According to the 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia the Suda, she worked as teacher of philosophy, teaching the works of Plato and Aristotle. It is believed that there were both Christians and foreigners among her students.
Although Hypatia was herself a pagan, she was respected by a number of Christians, and later held up by Christian authors as a symbol of virtue.
Many of the works commonly attributed to Hypatia are believed to have been collaborative works with her father, Theon Alexandricus; this kind of authorial uncertainty being typical for the situation of feminine philosophy in Antiquity.
A partial list of specific accomplishments:
A commentary on the 13-volume Arithmetica by Diophantus.
A commentary on the Conics of Apollonius.
Edited the existing version of Ptolemy's Almagest.
Edited her father's commentary on Euclid's Elements
She wrote a text "The Astronomical Canon." (Possibly a new edition of Ptolemy's Handy Tables.) Her contributions to science are reputed to include the charting of celestial bodies and the invention of the hydrometer, used to determine the relative density and gravity of liquids.
Her pupil Synesius, bishop of Cyrene, wrote a letter defending her as the inventor of the astrolabe, although earlier astrolabes predate Hypatia's model by at least a century - and her father had gained fame for his treatise on the subject.
Believed to have been the reason for the strained relationship between the Imperial Prefect Orestes and the Bishop Cyril, Hypatia attracted the ire of a Christian population eager to see the two reconciled. One day in March 415, during the season of Lent, her chariot was waylaid on her route home by a Christian mob, possibly Nitrian monks led by a man identified only as Peter, who is thought to be Peter the Reader, Cyril's assistant. The Christian monks stripped her naked and dragged her through the streets to the newly Christianised Caesareum church, where she was brutally killed.

"AGORA" is an upcoming 2009 historical drama film directed by Alejandro Amenábar, written by Amenábar and Mateo Gil, and starring Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella. It was screened Out of Competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It will then get a general release on December 18, 2009, but in Spain this Friday, October 9th.

It tells the story of astronomer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria (Weisz) and her relationship with her slave Davus (Minghella), who is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity

Links to:

"AGORA" video trailer of film in English:





Official film website:

http://agorathemovie.com/

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