John Watkiss, Hypatia, 2003

Hypatia was a Neoplatonist philosopher and mathematician from Alexandria, Egypt who was murdered in 415AD. She is the first well-documented female philosopher and was renowned in her time. Hypatia served as advisor to the Roman prefect Orestes, but was accused of preventing his reconciliation with the Christian bishop of Alexandria, Cyril. During Lent she was taken to a former pagan temple by a Christian mob led by a church lector named Peter. They stripped her naked before they attacked her with ‘ostraka,’ which can be translated as ‘oysters’ or ‘roof tiles.’ The mob cut out her eyes and mangled her body before dragging its pieces to the Cinarion to be burnt. Her murder shocked scholars, philosophers, and rulers throughout the Roman Empire. To this day she is seen as a martyr for philosophy and an icon for women’s rights.

Leave a Reply