Hypatia of Alexandria: Mathematician and Martyr

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Overview

In the late fourth and early fifth centuries of our era, Hypatia of Alexandria was the world’s greatest living mathematician and astronomer. A strikingly beautiful woman and a devoted celibate, she lived in a city as turbulent and troubled as Baghdad or Beirut is today. She achieved fame not only in her special field, but also as a philosopher, religious thinker, and teacher who attracted a large popular following. Her life ended tragically in violence at the hands of a rampaging mob of Christian fanatics, who killed her for her "pagan" beliefs, some say at the instigation of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

This is the first biography of Hypatia to integrate all aspects of her life. Mathematician Michael Deakin emphasizes that, though she was a philosopher, she was first and foremost a mathematician and astronomer of great accomplishment. In a fascinating narrative that brings to life a richly diverse ancient society, he describes her work so that the mathematics, presented in straightforward terms, finds its true place in the context of her life as a whole. Deakin supplies full detail on the historical, intellectual, and religious context of Hypatia’s times. He also analyzes the pattern of her life and thought, and finally gives an account of the events leading up to her lynch-mob execution.

Although this outrageous crime has made Hypatia a powerful symbol of intellectual freedom and feminist aspiration to this day, Deakin makes clear that the important intellectual contributions of her life’s work should not be overshadowed by her tragic death.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591025207
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. B. Deakin (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) is an honorary research fellow and formerly a senior lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences of Monash University.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     9
A Note on Spelling Conventions     11
Introduction     13
The Historical Context     19
The Intellectual Background     25
The Religious Background
Christianity     31
Neoplatonism     35
The Doctrine of the Trinity     39
The Sources     43
The Details of Hypatia's Life     49
Hypatia's Work, Attitudes, and Lifestyle     57
Hypatia's Death     67
Hypatia's Philosophy     77
Hypatia's Mathematics
Background and Sources     87
Book III of the Almagest     91
Books IV-XIII of the Almagest     93
Apollonius's Conics     95
The Astronomical Canon     96
The Arithmetic of Diophantus     98
The Astrolabe     102
The "Hydroscope"     104
Other Work     105
Evaluation     107
Mathematical Details
Number Representation and Long Division     115
Conic Sections     118
Diophantine Analysis     119
Stereographic Projection     122
Pandrosion     127
The Legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria     135
Translations of the Primary Sources
The Suda, Hesychius, and Damascius     137
Socrates Scholaticus     143
John of Nikiu     148
Synesius of Cyrene     150
Miscellaneous     158
Notes     161
Annotated Bibliography     213
Index     221
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Good book for Hypatia fans

    Unlike so many 'histories' of Hypatia, this one reviews the known facts, without any romanticizing or ideological objective.
    For anyone interested in scholarly research, Deakin's work makes an ideal reference and source-guide - many of the sources are translated in English in the appendices.
    For anyone interested in a factual account of one of humanities true greats, this is very readable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

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    Posted January 2, 2012

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    Posted April 23, 2012

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