Hypatia of Alexandria, movie character –

Whenever the cinema has touched with its magic wand some historical character, it has managed to get him out of the darkness in which the past often finds itself, even if it is paying the price of the fragmentary and falsified portrait. Hopefully the last movie of amenabar (Agora) fulfills its mission and manages to avoid the tribute of adulterating history, thereby doing justice to a woman like Hypatia of Alexandria.

Hypatia (you will also see her written as Hypatia, Hipacia or Hipateia) was born in Alexandria around the year 370 AD, although there are historians who estimate that her birth occurred earlier. She was the daughter of Theon, mathematician and astronomer who worked at the Museum. That he had a mother is something of which we are convinced, although history has not thought it necessary to reveal her identity to us.

From a very young age, she received a very complete education, jealously supervised by her father, who was determined to make her “a perfect human being”. We do not believe it is possible to achieve such an achievement, no matter how hard a parent may put in, but it is true that Hypatia received a vast education.

His main work was developed in the field of teaching mathematics and philosophy, serving his writings as treatises or textbooks for his students. It is said that there were many who came from other lands to attend his lessons.

His most important work is in the field of algebra, although he also wrote treatises on geometry, philosophy, mechanics, and technology. For a long time, she has been considered the first woman scientist in history. And the truth is that “the wise Egyptian” is, at least, the first scientist of whom we have reliable news.

But what can most attract the general public of the character is not all this. On the contrary, it will be the religious and political intrigues that he lived through and the way in which he died that, without a doubt, have attracted the gaze of the seventh art to Hypatia. Let’s take a look at the script…historical, of course:

Alexandria is in the year 415 AD a hive: the city, third of the Roman empire In number of inhabitants, it had become a Hellenistic cultural center of the first order, being at the same time the seat of the Patriarch of the same name. A few years ago, the emperor Theodosius he had enacted laws forbidding pagan worship or, what amounts to the same thing, making Christianity the only practicable religion.

Cyril He is currently the Patriarch of Alexandria and a man of recognized religious fanaticism. He has enemies among moderate Christians themselves and is determined to stamp out any hint of paganism or heresy. First the Novatians and then the Jews will suffer his fury.

Orestes he is the imperial prefect in the city. Christian, but convinced that religious power should not interfere in civil affairs. And he closes the triangle, of course, Hypatia, a friend of Orestes and equally committed to the triumph of reason over blind faith.

We already have, then, the scenery and the protagonists. Do not expect bed scenes, because the sources tell us at all times of a virgin Hypatia. If we add to this an accusation of witchcraft against Hypatia, a tireless Cyril in his harassment of paganism and a multitude of Christians maddened by the fast of Lent and fanaticism, we already have everything necessary for the tragic end.

One day in March 415 Hypatia returns home after taking her customary walk through the city. A crowd led by a certain Pedro, a secondary actor, takes her out of the carriage and drags her to a church. Once there, she is stripped naked and, still alive, her skin and meat are ripped off with sharp conch shells. After her, already dead, her body is dismembered and burned.

Orestes reported what had happened to the court of Constantinople and repeatedly requested an investigation, pointing to Cyril as, at the very least, the instigator of the events. But these were not the right times to seek punishment from a powerful Patriarch for something as insignificant as the death of a pagan philosopher. Orestes ended up resigning his position and fleeing from Alexandria. Cirilo would end up thickening the saint list.

This story lacks, without a doubt, many nuances that are beyond its object. At least, we are sure that when you see the film, you will look at the beautiful Rachel Weisz in a different way. We are satisfied with achieving this, although for this we had to tell you the ending.

Recommended bibliography:

Hypatia of AlexandriaMaria Dzielska.

Hypatia’s LegacyMargaret Alice.