Hypatia of Alexandria was one of the most brilliant women who lived in the ancient world. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in the fourth century CE, Hypatia lived in a time when few girls learned to read or write. Women were expected to marry, to run a household, and to raise children. Hypatia’s father, Theon, however, educated her as if she were his son, not his daughter. Theon raised Hypatia in a stimulating environment of science, learning, and exploration.
A curious and dedicated student, Hypatia became a gifted mathematician, a talented astronomer, and a brilliant philosopher. She also was an inspirational orator and teacher, and her students traveled from distant lands to hear her speak. Known for both her beauty and her intellect, Hypatia was an independent spirit who challenged the prevailing ideas of her time regarding what it was to be female.
Alexandria, however, was a city that was increasingly being enveloped in a web of political and religious struggles. Hypatia eventually was caught in this web, and her life ended tragically, but she has become a symbol of courage, learning, and intellectual freedom.
Hypatia – Ancient Alexandria’s Female Scholar relates the extraordinary life of this remarkable woman and reveals how she continues to inspire people more than 1,600 years after her death.