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  • In the city of Alexandria in 415 CE,

  • the bishop and the governor were in a fight.

  • It started with a disagreement over the behavior of a militia of monks,

  • and ended with an accusation of witchcraft

  • leveled against one of the most powerful figures in the city.

  • Hypatia of Alexandria was a prominent mathematician, philosopher,

  • and advisor to the city’s leaders.

  • In the centuries since she lived,

  • the details of her life have been the subject of much dispute

  • and have taken on an almost mythical status.

  • But while none of Hypatia’s own writings survive,

  • her contemporariesand studentsaccounts of her work and life

  • paint a picture of the qualities that made her renowned as a scholar,

  • beloved as a teacher, and ultimately led to her downfall.

  • Hypatia was born around 355 in Alexandria,

  • then part of the Egyptian province of the Eastern Roman Empire,

  • and an intellectual center.

  • Her father Theon was an accomplished Greek mathematician and astronomer;

  • her mother is unknown.

  • Hypatia was likely an only child, and Theon educated her himself.

  • By adulthood, she had surpassed her father in both mathematics and philosophy,

  • becoming the city’s foremost scholar and taking over his position

  • at the head of the Platonic school, similar to a modern university.

  • She refined scientific instruments, wrote math textbooks,

  • and developed a more efficient method of long division.

  • But perhaps her most significant contributions to intellectual life

  • in Alexandria came through her teaching.

  • The philosophy Hypatia taught drew from the legacy of Plato and Aristotle,

  • as well as the mystical philosopher Plotinus and the mathematician Pythagoras.

  • The convergence of these influences merged to form a school called Neoplatonism.

  • For the Neoplatonists, mathematics had a spiritual aspect,

  • divided among the four branches of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

  • These subjects were not studied merely for the sake of curiosity

  • or practical utility, but because they authenticated the belief

  • that numbers were the sacred language of the universe.

  • In the repeated patterns of algebraic formulas and geometric shapes,

  • the orbits of the planets, and the harmonious intervals of musical tones,

  • the Neoplatonists saw a rational cosmic force at work.

  • Students delved into this ordered mathematical world

  • to achieve higher unity with this force, known asthe One.”

  • While Hypatia was considered pagan

  • a term for traditional Roman belief before Christianity

  • she worshipped no particular deity or deities,

  • and her ideas could be applied alongside multiple religious viewpoints.

  • Jewish and Christian as well as pagan students

  • travelled from the farthest reaches of the empire to study with her.

  • The nonpartisan environment Hypatia fostered,

  • where all students could feel comfortable,

  • was especially remarkable given the religious and political turmoil

  • that was fracturing the city of Alexandria at the time.

  • Christianity had recently become the Empire’s state religion.

  • The local archbishop Cyril had steadily gained political power,

  • commanding zealous militias of Christian monks to destroy pagan temples

  • and harass the Jewish population.

  • In doing so, he encroached on the secular authority of the Roman governor Orestes,

  • himself a moderate Christian, leading to a bitter public feud between the two men.

  • Because she was seen as a wise and impartial figure,

  • governor Orestes consulted Hypatia,

  • who advised him to act with fairness and restraint.

  • But when a group of Cyril’s monks incited a riot,

  • badly injuring Orestes in the process, he had their leader tortured to death.

  • Cyril and his followers blamed Hypatia,

  • accusing her of witchcraft to turn Orestes against Christianity.

  • In March 415, as Hypatia was traveling through the city,

  • the bishop’s militia of monks dragged her from her carriage

  • and brutally murdered and dismembered her.

  • Hypatia’s death was a turning point in the politics of Alexandria.

  • In the wake of her murder,

  • other philosophers in the Greek and Roman tradition fled,

  • and the city’s role as a center of learning declined.

  • In a very real way,

  • the spirit of inquisition, openness, and fairness she fostered

  • died with her.

In the city of Alexandria in 415 CE,


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古代アレクサンドリアの偉大な学者の殺人-ソラヤ・フィールド・フィオリオ (The murder of ancient Alexandria's greatest scholar - Soraya Field Fiorio)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日