Socrates Scholasticus: The Murder of Hypatia (late 4th Cent.)
from Ecclesiastical History,Bk VI: Chap. 15
Of Hypatia the Female Philosopher.
THERE was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the
philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and
science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time.
Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained
the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came
from a distance to receive her instructions.
On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she
had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she
not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates.
Neither did she feel abashed in coming to an assembly of men.
For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue
admired her the more. Yet even she fell a victim to the political
jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent
interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the
Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from
being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried
away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader
named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from
her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where
they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles.
After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs
to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought
not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon
the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther
from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres,
fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month
of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate,
under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius.
Translation as in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
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© Paul Halsall June 1997