Re: PSYCH: Women and Math

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 02:24:59 MST

"Barbara Lamar" <> writes:

> The way I heard it, the Christians scraped Hypatia to death with oyster
> shells, because they didn't think a woman should be doing unfeminine things
> such as pondering mathematics and philosophy and teaching in a university. I
> don't think there's any general agreement about how she was murdered, except
> that it was done by Christians who felt threatened by her scientific
> knowledge.

I think the science part of this sordid affair was not the deciding
factor, more likely it had to do with the power balance of
Alexandria. Hypatia represented the still noticeable power of the
Seraphinum/Library, a stronghold of paganism. The newly appointed
archbishop Cyril got into a row with the prefect Orestes, who was a
friend of Hypatia. After her murder it became easier to shut down the
Seraphinum, and Cyril went on to become St. Cyril. Her murder served
more political interests than any form of luddism, although some of
the bishops evidently disliked her research as being ungodly.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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