Δευτέρα, 24 Αυγούστου 2015

Hypatia - The woman greek philosopher from Byzantine Alexandria, Egypt

Hypatia (Υπατία Hypatía) (born c. AD 350 – 370; died 415) was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt, then a part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. According to contemporary sources, Hypatia was murdered by a Christian mob after being accused of exacerbating a conflict between two prominent figures in Alexandria: the governor Orestes and the Bishop of Alexandria. The mathematician and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was the daughter of the mathematician Theon Alexandricus (c. 335 – c. 405). She was educated at Athens. Around AD 400, she became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria, where she imparted the knowledge of Plato and Aristotle to students, including pagans, Christians, and foreigners.
Although contemporary 5th-century sources identify Hypatia of Alexandria as a practitioner and teacher of the philosophy of Plato and Plotinus, two hundred years later, the 7th-century Egyptian Coptic bishop John of Nikiû identified her as a Hellenistic pagan and that "she was devoted at all times to magicastrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through her Satanic wiles".  However, not all Christians were as hostile towards her: some Christians even used Hypatia as symbolic of Virtue. Hypatia corresponded with former pupil Synesius of Cyrene, who was tutored by her in the philosophical school of Platonism and later became bishop of Ptolemais in AD 410, an exponent of the Christian Holy Trinity doctrine. Together with the references by the pagan philosopher Damascius, these are the extant records left by Hypatia's pupils at the Platonist school of Alexandria. Two widely cited but divergent texts describe the feud between Orestes, the prefect (or Governor) of Alexandria and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria. The feud and the city-wide anger it provoked ultimately brought about the death of Hypatia. Kathleen Wider proposes that the murder of Hypatia marked the end ofClassical antiquity, and Stephen Greenblatt observes that her murder "effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life". On the other hand, Christian Wildberg notes that Hellenistic philosophy continued to flourish in the 5th and 6th centuries, and perhaps until the age of Justinian. One source, the Historia Ecclesiastica (or "Ecclesiastical History"), was written by Socrates Scholasticus (who was himself a Christian), some time shortly after Hypatia's death in AD 415. Scholasticus gives the more complete, less biased account of the feud between Orestes and Cyril and of the role Hypatia played in the feud that resulted in her death. The other source, The Chronicle, written by John of Nikiu in Egypt around 650 AD, demonizes Hypatia and Orestes directly, while validating all Christians involved in the events Nikiu describes. The Chronicle is more biased on the matter of the historical feud, omitting several points of the narrative that are included in Scholasticus's account. Orestes, the Roman governor of Alexandria, and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, were involved in a bitter feud in which Hypatia became one of the main points of contention. In 415 AD, the feud began over Jewish dancing exhibitions in Alexandria. Because the exhibitions attracted large crowds and were commonly prone to civil disorder of varying degrees, Orestes published anedict that outlined new regulations for such gatherings. When crowds gathered to read the edict shortly after it was posted in the city's theater, it angered Christians as well as Jews. At one such gathering, Hierax, a devout Christian follower of Cyril, read the edict and applauded the new regulations. Many people felt Hierax was attempting to incite the crowd into sedition. Orestes reacted swiftly and violently out of what Scholasticus suspected was "jealousy [of] the growing power of the bishops…[which] encroached on the jurisdiction of the authorities". He ordered Hierax to be seized and tortured publicly in the theater. Hearing of Hierax's severe and public punishment, Cyril threatened to retaliate against the Jews of Alexandria with "the utmost severities" if the harassment of Christians did not cease immediately. In response to Cyril's threat, the Jews of Alexandria grew even more furious, eventually resorting to violence against the Christians. They plotted to flush the Christians out at night by running through the streets claiming that the Church of Alexander was on fire. When Christians responded to what they were led to believe was the burning down of their church, "the Jews immediately fell upon and slew them" by using rings to recognize one another in the dark and killing everyone else in sight. When the morning came, the Jews of Alexandria could not hide their guilt, and Cyril, along with many of his followers, took to the city's synagogues in search of the perpetrators of the massacre. After Cyril rounded up all the Jews in Alexandria, he ordered them to be stripped of all possessions, banished them from Alexandria, and allowed their goods to be pillaged by the remaining citizens of Alexandria. With Cyril's banishment of the Jews, "Orestes [...] was filled with great indignation at these transactions, and was excessively grieved that a city of such magnitude should have been suddenly bereft of so large a portion of its population." Because of this, the feud between Cyril and Orestes intensified, and both men wrote to the emperor regarding the situation. Eventually, Cyril attempted to reach out to Orestes through several peace overtures, including attempted mediation and, when that failed, in an appeal to Orestes's allegiances as a Christian Roman, showing the Gospels to him. Nevertheless, Orestes remained unmoved by such gestures. Meanwhile, approximately 500 monks who resided in the mountains of Nitria, and who were "of a very fiery disposition", heard of the ongoing feud between the Governor and Bishop and descended into Alexandria armed and prepared to fight alongside Cyril. Upon their arrival, the monks intercepted Orestes's chariot and proceeded to bombard and harass him, calling him a pagan idolater. In response to such allegations, Orestes countered that he was actually a Christian and had even been baptized by Atticus, the Bishop of Constantinople. The monks paid little attention to Orestes's claims of Christianity, and one of the monks, Ammonius, struck Orestes in the head with a rock, causing him to bleed profusely. At this point, although Orestes's guards fled in fear, a nearby crowd of Alexandrians came to his aid. Ammonius was subsequently secured and ordered to be tortured for his actions. He died of the torture. Following the death of Ammonius, Cyril ordered that he henceforth be remembered as a martyr. Such a proclamation did not sit well with "sober-minded" Christians, as Scholasticus pointed out, seeing that he "suffered the punishment due to his rashness he would not deny Christ". This fact, according to Scholasticus, became apparent to Cyril through general lack of enthusiasm for Ammonius's case for martyrdom. Scholasticus then introduces Hypatia, the female philosopher of Alexandria and the woman who would become a target of the Christian anger that was inflamed during the feud. Daughter of Theon, and a teacher trained in the philosophical schools of Plato and Plotinus, she was admired by most for her dignity and virtue. Of the anger she provoked among Christians, Scholasticus writes, Hypatia ultimately fell "victim to the political jealousy which at the time prevailed". Orestes was known to seek her counsel, and a rumor spread among the Christian community of Alexandria blaming her for Orestes's unwillingness to reconcile with Cyril. A mob of Christians gathered, led by a reader (i.e., a minor cleric) named Peter, whom Scholasticus calls a fanatic. They kidnapped Hypatia on her way home and took her to the "Church called Caesareum. They then completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles." Socrates Scholasticus was hence interpreted as saying that, while she was still alive, Hypatia's flesh was torn off using oyster shells (tiles; the Greek word is ostrakois, which literally means "with or by oystershells" but the word was also used for brick tiles on the roofs of houses and for pottery sherds). Afterward, the men proceeded to mutilate her and, finally, burn her limbs. News of Hypatia's murder provoked great public denouncement, not only against Cyril, but against the whole Alexandrian Christian community. Scholasticus closes with a lament: "Surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort." Bishop John of Nikiu, who lived several hundred years after the events he describes, writes bitterly of Hypatia, claiming that "she beguiled many people through (her) Satanic wiles". Orestes, who Nikiu writes was himself a victim of Hypatia's demonic charm, regularly honored her and took to abandoning the Christian Church in order to follow her teachings more closely. Moreover, the Bishop claimed that Orestes himself persuaded others to leave the Church in favor of Hypatia's philosophical teachings and went as far as to host such "unbelievers" at his house. One day, Orestes published an edict "regarding public exhibitions in the city of Alexandria" and all citizens gathered to read the edict. Cyril, curious to see why the edict caused such an uproar, sent Hierax, a "Christian possessing understanding and intelligence", who, although opposed to paganism, did as Cyril asked and went to learn the nature of Orestes's edict. Meanwhile, the Jews who gathered in anger over the edict believed that Hierax had come only for the sake of provocation (which, according to Scholasticus's text, was Hierax's intent). Upon this assumption, Orestes had Hierax punished for a crime for which "he was wholly guiltless". For the punishment and torture of Hierax, as well as the death of several monks, including Ammonius, Cyril grew increasingly furious with Orestes. (Here, Nikiu blatantly ignores the assault on Orestes by the 500 monks, in which Ammonius played an active role in bringing about his own torture and death.) Cyril then warned the Jews against any further harm upon the Christians. However, with the support of Orestes (which is in no way implied by Scholasticus), the Jews felt confident in defying Cyril's authority, and so one night ran through the streets proclaiming: "The church of the apostolic Athanasius (Alexander) is on fire: come to its succour, all ye Christians." The Christians responded to the alarms only to be slaughtered by the Jews in a coordinated ambush. The next morning, all remaining Christians of the town came to Cyril with news of the massacre, after which Cyril marched with them to purge the Jews from Alexandria. In so doing, Cyril allowed the pillaging of their possessions, and soon after purified all the synagogues in the city and made them into Churches (Scholasticus makes no mention of "purifying" the Synagogues). In the expulsion of the Jews, Orestes was unable to offer them any assistance. Shortly thereafter, a group of Christians, under Peter the magistrate, went looking for Hypatia, the "pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments". They found her sitting in a chair, at which point they seized and brought her to "the great church, named Caesarion", where they proceeded to rip the clothes off her body. Then they dragged her through the streets of Alexandria until she died and burned her remains. Nikiu's description of Hypatia's death also differs from that of Scholasticus. Following the death of Hypatia, Bishop Cyril was named "the new Theophilus". With the death of Hypatia, Nikiu writes, the Christians had expelled the last remnant of pagan idolatry.
Πηγη: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia#Life

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου