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Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria (Inglês) Capa Comum – 20 ago 2009
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The sad truth is that we know more about this woman through her reflection in the writings of others. Her work has been pretty much lost. I found myself wondering how much an outlier was Hypathia. Was she somewhat typical of upper crust Roman women? Or was she truly extraordinary because of what she accomplished? While in Alexandria she may have been the only woman philosopher/mathematician, was there any others like her anywhere in Rome's long history? That's what I mean by saying that I'll likely read another, more purely historical overview.
Overall, it's an interesting read, but I had a hard time keeping myself reading it as I got 2/3rds of the way through. Might be a good summer read for a history buff.
This is not exactly a "spoiler alert" as most people who would be inclined to read this novel would be familiar with Hypatia. For those who are not, Hypatia was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, literary critic and teacher. She was what I would call the last "curator" of the library of Alexandria (before it was burned to the ground by a Christian mob, that is).
The present book focuses on her life, picking up @ the moment-in-time that the library was vanquished by an act of madness. Non-Christian texts were viewed as a threat and therefore needed to be burned. In doing so, the followers of Christ massacred a great many people & also set the world back 1,000 yrs. It would not be until the Italian Renaissance that the denizens of the globe would re-discover what had been lost in the fire @ Alexandria.
The book is told from multiple points of view. Some of the characters, like Hypatia, are historical, while others are fictional. The book delves into an in-depth inquiry into who Hypatia could have been (the primary sources on her life tend to be sketchy). It is said that Hypatia had the form of Aphrodite & the spirit of Plato, and both of these traits shine through the pages of this novel.
For a reference on the convoluted rigmarole of the politics of the late Roman empire (made all the more recondite given the fact that the empire was split in half), I would recommend The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome 318 B.C. - A.D. 476. For those who want to know more about Hypatia, I would recommend Cosmos,Hypatia of Alexandria (Revealing Antiquity),Agora and Anita's Legacy.
Of all of the vile acts committed by humans during what Hegel called the "slaughter bench of history," the murder of Hypatia is one of the most iconic & perhaps symbolic. It was, in fact, a way in which the world "chose" to plummet into the Dark Ages less than a century > her death. You burn down the greatest intellectual reservoir in the world & you kill one of the greatest human beings who ever lived and.....well.....that's what happens.
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