370 A.D. to 415 A.D.


Hypatia was born around 370 A.D. She was the daughter of Theon, who was a professor of math and director at the University of Alexandria, and later the last head of the Museum at Alexandria. She was unusually well educated for a female during that time. Hypatia was educated by her father and was immersed from a very early age into an environmment of learning, questioning and exploration. Theon also taught her the many aspects of religious systems worldwide.

Hypatia is considered to be a mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. She has written commentaries on the work of Diophantus and Apollonius, called A Commentary on the Arithmetica of Diophantus and A Commentary on the Conics of Apollonious respectively. She also edited one of her father's book called A Commentary on the Almagest of Ptolemy. She also taught Platonic philosophy in Alexandria and was an influential person in that city.

Hypatia lived in an increasingly Christian environment and she was quite prominent in Alexandria due to the fact that she was both female and pagan. Before her death, it was rumoured that Hypatia was to blame for a conflict between Cyril, the Christian bishop of Alexandria and the prefect Orestes. Unfortunately, Orestes was disliked by many Christians and was also a friend of Hypatia. As a result of this conflict, an incident occurred around the spring of 415 A.D. A group of Christian monks seized Hypatia on the street and beat her until she was unconscious. They dragged her body to a church where they mutilated her flesh with sharp tiles and burned her remains.

Sites About Hypatia


The Life of Hypatia From Damascius's Life of Isidore, reproduced in The Suda
A History of Hypatia partial transcription of Thomas Lewis's 1721 text

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Last updated April 26, 2000 by Annamae Lang and Nancy Yan