TRIGGER WARNING: misogyny, murder, rioting, violence
*Note: Please do not throw bodily fluids at another human being.
**Note: In this passage, menstrual blood is referred to as "unclean, foul, impure" [ἀκαθάρτου]. This is a reflection of the author of the Suda, not Hypatia, and is in alignment with his general low regard for women. Please remember that menstrual blood is a natural occurrence, and no human being should ever be shamed for it.
Hypatia, Theonis Geometrae, Alexandrini Philosophi, filia & ipsa Philosopha, & multis nota; uxor Isidori Philosophi. Floruit sub Arcadio Imperatore. Scripsit commentarium in Diophantis Astronomicum canonem; in Conica Apollonii. Haec autem dilacerata fuit ab Alexandrinis, & corpus eius cum ludibrio per totam urbem disiectum. Hoc autem ei accidit propter invidiam & excellentem sapientiam & praecipue, proter eximiam Astronomiae peritiam; ut quidam tradunt, A Cyrillo; vel, ut alii, quod Alexandrini natura essent audaces & ingenio ad seditionem proclivi. Nam multos etiam Episcoporum suorum ita tractarunt; ut Georgium & Proterium. Haec Alexandriae & nata & educata & erudita fuit. Cum autem esset ingenio generosiore, quam pater, non contenta fuit paterna in mathematicis disciplinis institutione, sed & relique philosophiae strenuam operam navavit. Mulier enim sumpto pallio, per mediam urbem progrediens, publice audire se volentibus vel Platonem vel Aristotelem vel cuiusvis alius Philosophi scripta enarrabat. Ceterum praeter peritiam docendi, ad summum etiam virtutis practicae fastigium pervenerat: eratque iusta & casta, & virgo semper permansit, adeo pulchra & formosa, ut quidam etiam auditorum amore eius captus, cum illum continere amplius non posset, affectuis sui significationem ei dederit. Et indocti quidem dicunt, Hypatiam illum ope Musicae a morbo isto liberasse. At vero fama perhibet, Musicam iam olim fuisse corruptam; ipsam vero pannis, qui menstruis inquinati erant, in eum coniectis & hoc signo impurae generationis ei ostenso, dixisse: hoc amas, adolescens, nihil vero pulchri. Hunc autem turpi illa re visa pudore & stupore ita affectum fuisse, ut animum mutaret & modestior evaderet. Talis igitur cum esset Hypatia, ^ tam prompta expeditaque dicendi facultate valeret, quam factis modestam & urbanam se praeberet, tum reliqua civitas eam merito amabat & insigniter colebat, tum rectores quoque urbis (Alexandriae) primum eam semper invisebant; quod Athenis etiam fieri consuevit. Nam etsi res ipsa perierit, nomen tamen philosophiae adhuc magnificum & venerabile videtur viris, principum locum in Repub. administranda obtinentibus. QUodam igitur tempore contigit, ut Cyrillus, Christianae religionis Episcopus, ante aedes Hypatiae transiens, maximam turbam pro foribus conspiceret hominum simul & equorum, quorum alii adveniebant; alii abibant; alii vero manebant. Cumque sciscitatus fuisset, quenam esset ea multitudo, & quorum tantus fieret tumultus, responsum est a sequentibus, Hypatiam philosopham tunc salutari, eiusque illa aedes esse. Quod cum didicisset Cyrullus, tantopere stimulatus est invidia, ut caedem ei protinus machinatus sit, eamque omnium sceleratissimam. Cum enim Hypatia more solito prodiret ex aedibus, multi ferini homines, nec Deorum vindictam, nec hominum ultionem reveriti, impetu facto eam trucidant; gravissimo piaculo & probro patriam suam obligantes. Et Imperator quidem eam rem gravissime tulit, ultusque essent nisi Aedesius amico Imperatoris corrupisset. Et intersectoribus quidem Imperator poenam remisit: sed in suum ipsius caput & stirpem suam ultionem attraxit. Eius enim nepos poenas exsolvit.
Ὑπατία: ἡ Θέωνος τοῦ γεωμέτρου θυγάτηρ, τοῦ Ἀλεξανδρέως φιλοσόφου, καὶ αὐτὴ φιλόσοφος καὶ πολλοῖς γνώριμος: γυνὴ Ἰσιδώρου τοῦ φιλοσόφου. ἤκμασεν ἐπὶ τῆς βασιλείας Ἀρκαδίου. ἔγραψεν ὑπόμνημα εἰς Διόφαντον, τὸν ἀστρονομικὸν Κανόνα, εἰς τὰ Κωνικὰ Ἀπολλωνίου ὑπόμνημα. αὕτη διεσπάσθη παρὰ τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων, καὶ τὸ σῶμα αὐτῆς ἐνυβρισθὲν καθ' ὅλην τὴν πόλιν διεσπάρη. τοῦτο δὲ πέπονθε διὰ φθόνον καὶ τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν σοφίαν, καὶ μάλιστα εἰς τὰ περὶ ἀστρονομίαν: ὡς μέν τινες ὑπὸ Κυρίλλου, ὡς δέ τινες διὰ τὸ ἔμφυτον τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων θράσος καὶ στασιῶδες. πολλοῖς γὰρ καὶ τῶν κατ' αὐτοὺς ἐπισκόπων τοῦτο ἐποίησαν: τὸν Γεώργιον σκόπει καὶ τὸν Προτέριον. Περὶ Ὑπατίας τῆς φιλοσόφου. ἀπόδειξις, ὡς στασιώδεις οἱ Ἀλεξανδρεῖς. αὕτη ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ καὶ ἐγεννήθη καὶ ἀνετράφη καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη. τὴν δὲ φύσιν γενναιοτέρα τοῦ πατρὸς οὖσα οὐκ ἠρκέσθη τοῖς διὰ τῶν μαθημάτων παιδεύμασιν ὑπὸ τῷ πατρί, ἀλλὰ καὶ φιλοσοφίας ἥψατο τῆς ἄλλης οὐκ ἀγεννῶς, περιβαλλομένη δὲ τρίβωνα ἡ γυνὴ καὶ διὰ μέσου τοῦ ἄστεος ποιουμένη τὰς προόδους ἐξηγεῖτο δημοσίᾳ τοῖς ἀκροᾶσθαι βουλομένοις ἢ τὸν Πλάτωνα ἢ τὸν Ἀριστοτέλην ἢ ἄλλου ὅτου δὴ τῶν φιλοσόφων. πρὸς δὲ τῷ διδασκαλικῷ καὶ ἐπ' ἄκρον ἀναβᾶσα τῆς πρακτικῆς ἀρετῆς, δικαία τε καὶ σώφρων γεγονυῖα, διετέλει παρθένος, οὕτω σφόδρα καλή τε οὖσα καὶ εὐειδής, ὥστε καὶ ἐρασθῆναί τινα αὐτῆς τῶν προσφοιτώντων. ὁ δὲ οὐχ οἷός τε ἦν κρατεῖν τοῦ ἔρωτος, ἀλλ' αἴσθησιν ἠδὴ παρείχετο καὶ αὐτῇ τοῦ παθήματος. οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀπαίδευτοι λόγοι φασί, διὰ μουσικῆς αὐτὸν ἀπαλλάξαι τῆς νόσου τὴν Ὑπατίαν: ἡ δὲ ἀλήθεια διαγγέλλει πάλαι μὲν διεφθορέναι τὰ μουσικῆς, αὐτὴν δὲ προενεγκαμένην τι τῶν γυναικείων ῥακῶν αὐτοῦ βαλλομένην καὶ τὸ σύμβολον ἐπιδείξασαν τῆς ἀκαθάρτου γενέσεως, τούτου μέντοι, φάναι, ἐρᾷς, ὦ νεανίσκε, καλοῦ δὲ οὐδενός, τὸν δὲ ὑπ' αἰσχύνης καὶ θάμβους τῆς ἀσχήμονος ἐπιδείξεως διατραπῆναί τε τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ διατεθῆναι σωφρονέστερον. οὕτω δὲ ἔχουσαν τὴν Ὑπατίαν, ἔν τε τοῖς λόγοις οὖσαν ἐντρεχῆ καὶ διαλεκτικὴν ἔν τε τοῖς ἔργοις ἔμφρονά τε καὶ πολιτικήν, ἥ τε ἄλλη πόλις εἰκότως ἠσπάζετό τε καὶ προσεκύνει διαφερόντως, οἵ τε ἄρχον- τες ἀεὶ προχειριζόμενοι τῆς πόλεως ἐφοίτων πρῶτοι πρὸς αὐτήν, ὡς καὶ Ἀθήνησι διετέλει γινόμενον. εἰ γὰρ καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα ἀπόλωλεν, ἀλλὰ τό γε ὄνομα φιλοσοφίας ἔτι μεγαλοπρεπές τε καὶ ἀξιάγαστον εἶναι ἐδόκει τοῖς μεταχειριζομένοις τὰ πρῶτα τῆς πολιτείας. ἤδη γοῦν ποτε συνέβη τὸν ἐπισκοποῦντα τὴν ἀντικειμένην αἵρεσιν Κύριλλον, παριόντα διὰ τοῦ οἴκου τῆς Ὑπατίας, ἰδεῖν πολὺν ὠθισμὸν ὄντα πρὸς ταῖς θύραις, ἐπιμὶξ ἀνδρῶν τε καὶ ἵππων, τῶν μὲν προσιόντων, τῶν δὲ ἀπιόντων, τῶν δὲ καὶ προσισταμένων. ἐρωτήσαντα δὲ ὅ τι εἴη τὸ πλῆθος καὶ περὶ οὗ κατὰ τὴν οἰκίαν ὁ θόρυβος, ἀκοῦσαι παρὰ τῶν ἑπομένων, ὅτι προσαγορεύοιτο νῦν ἡ φιλόσοφος Ὑπατία καὶ ἐκείνης εἶναι τὴν οἰκίαν. μαθόντα δὴ οὕτω δηχθῆναι τὴν ψυχήν, ὥστε φόνον αὐτῇ ταχέως ἐπιβουλεῦσαι, πάντων φόνων ἀνοσιώτατον. προελθούσῃ γὰρ κατὰ τὸ εἰωθὸς ἐπιθέμενοι πολλοὶ ἀθρόοι θηριώδεις ἄνθρωποι, ὡς ἀληθῶς σχέτλιοι, οὔτε θεῶν ὄπιν εἰδότες οὔτ' ἀνθρώπων νέμεσιν ἀναιροῦσι τὴν φιλόσοφον, ἄγος τοῦτο μέγιστον καὶ ὄνειδος προστρεψάμενοι τῇ πατρίδι. καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἠγανάκτησεν ἐπὶ τούτῳ, εἰ μὴ Αἰδέσιος ἐδωροδοκήθη. καὶ τῶν μὲν σφαγέων ἀφείλετο τὴν ποινήν, ἐφ' ἑαυτὸν δὲ καὶ γένος τὸ ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ ταύτην ἐπεσπάσατο, καὶ ἐξέπλησε δίκην ὁ τούτου ἔκγονος.--Suda Y.166; Translated into Latin by Iohannis Christian Wulfius (1735)
Hypatia: Daughter of Theon (the Scholar of Geometry & Alexandrian Philosopher). She was also a philosopher, and was famous to many. She was the wife of the philosopher Isidorus. She flourished during the reign of Arcadius. She wrote commentaries for Diophantes’ Astronomical Canon, as well as Apollonius’ Conics.
She was tortured by the Alexandrians. Her body was mutilated and scattered throughout the city. This happened to her out of envy of her exceptional wisdom, especially in the field of astronomy. Some say it was done by Cyril; others say it was done by the bold and seditious minds of the Alexandrians themselves, since they did this sort of thing to many other religious leaders (like Georgius & Proterius).
About Hypatia the Philosopher [proof that Alexandrians are rebellious]: She was born, raised & educated at Alexandria. When she grew to be more talented than her father, she wasn’t satisfied with just teaching mathematics, she also devoted herself to the study of philosophy as well. Despite being a woman, she wore the ascetic philosopher’s cloak and went forth to the middle of the city, and taught all who wished to learn the works of Plato, Aristotle or other philosophers. Not only was she a scholar, but she also achieved the pinnacle of virtue: she was upright and modest, and she remained a virgin throughout her life. She was so beautiful and good-looking that even some of her students fell in love with her. When one of them couldn’t stand it anymore, he confessed his love to her. Boorish people say that she crushed his crush through music, but the truth is that music did not change the way he felt. She offered him a rag that she had used during menstruation. She threw it at him, showing him the signs of her unclean womb, and told him: “Young man, this is what you love & it’s nothing beautiful.” The youth, embarrassed at the shameful thing, changed his mind and acted more respectfully.
This is the way Hypatia was, eloquent in speech and classy in her actions, and the whole city adored her—even worshipped her.
The city’s political leaders often visited her in class—something that also happened in Athens. For even if it weren’t true anymore, the name “philosophy” [“love of wisdom”] still seems important and revered among those who serve the state.
It happened that her rival Cyril, the Bishop of the Christian religion, once was passing by Hypatia’s home, saw a crowd of people excitedly gathering outside of her front door, some coming, some going, some just standing around. He asked whose house it was and what the crowd was doing there, and one of his lackeys told him that it was Hypatia’s house, and she was giving a lecture. Insane with jealousy, Cyril plotted to kill her as soon as possible and in the most unholy way possible. When she went out in public again (as she was accustomed to), a bunch of savage people, who feared neither gods nor men, savagely attacked the philosopher, perpetrating the greatest crime against their country. The Emperor would have been furious, if Aedesius [his friend] hadn’t been offered a bribe. He pardoned the perpetrators, but the fault fell on his own head and his offspring. His offspring paid the ultimate penalty for it.
Date: 10th c. CE
The Suda is a literary encyclopedia created in the 10th century CE by an anonymous Byzantine scholar.