Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Case Study No. 0639: Hypatia

Agora-Hypatia-last moments of the Library of Alexandria
Humanity has conquer a vast amount of work pieces, in every field, and beyond imagination, during its small part of time-existence in the universe. And it is through the creation of civilization that all this become real.
On the contrary, it is unthinkable to see humanity itself to proceed in a self-amputation by leaving ruins of its achievements to the next generations, who will lament about for ages.
There is a greek word that is really difficult to translate because it doesn't exist in english : ????????? / sophomoros. It 's composed by two words: ????? / sophos which means wise and ????? / moros which means foolish.
-To be wise and foolish at the same time.
Unfortunately this is something that characterize man.

A dramatic scene, taken from the Agora movie (December 2009) showing Hypatia of Alexandria (brilliant mathematician and philosopher renowned for her natural beauty, high intelligence and moral standards as well as for her rhetoric and teaching skills) among scholars of the Library of Alexandria (the largest and most famous library of the ancient times,collecting all the worlds knowledge ) and the siege of the Library of Alexandria by the Christian mob (one of the 3 main stories of the Librarys destruction), probably in the beginning of the 4th century.
It is to be noticed that Hypatia died young in a dreadful manner when she was torn to pieces by monks in 415 in Alexandria (during the reign of Theodosius II).Famous for her excellence in philosophy (neoplatonist) and sciences (mathematician, astronomer), her brilliant mind, fine manners and exceptional beauty. Some count her as the last Head Librarian after Aristarchus.
Tags: Library of Alexandria hypatia cosmos alejandro amenabar carl sagan egypt rachel weisz agora mob
Added: 2 years ago
From: monohordo
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[scene opens as Hypatia stands before the various scholars inside the Library of Alexandria]
HYPATIA: What if ... What if there were a simpler explanation for the wondrous?
SCHOLAR 1: [from off camera] There is.
[the camera pans up to reveal a lone scholar standing by himself]
SCHOLAR 1: But it is so absurd, so old, that no one gives it any credit.
STUDENT 1: What theory is that?
HYPATIA: Do you speak of Aristarchus?
SCHOLAR 1: Aristarchus maintained that the Earth moves. The strange behavior of the wanderers was nothing more than an optical illusion, caused by our movement in combination with Earth's around the sun.
STUDENT 1: Heliocentric model.
SCHOLAR 1: That's right. The sun would be in the center, as Logistus Dignatius, king of the stars.
HYPATIA: [whispering to herself] Which would make Earth just ... another wanderer.
SCHOLAR 1: His work was lost in the fire that destroyed the mother library. This is why we have to take great care of this place. Our library is all that remains of the wisdom of man.
DAVUS: [from off camera] But every time you drop an object, it ...
[she looks behind her]
HYPATIA: Who speaks?
DAVUS: [from off camera] Forgive me, mistress.
[camera pans to reveal her slave Davus hiding in the shadows]
DAVUS: I was listening.
HYPATIA: Speak up, Davus.
DAVUS: If the Earth is moving, every time you drop an object, it would ... fall further behind. And the wind would always blow against us. And the birds would lose their way in flight.
SCHOLAR 1: I told you, Aristarchus' hypothesis makes no sense at all!
[Hypatia sits down next Davus]
HYPATIA: I feel what you just said can be refuted ... but right now, I don't know how.
[she laughs, then [cut to an angry mob of Christians outside of the Library, when a troop of Roman soldiers march through their ranks]
ROMAN GUARD 1: [from off camera] Make way for the prefect! Make way! Make way for the prefect! Make way!
[cut to a shot inside of the Library's walls (where the scholars are nervously listening), then back to the prefect addressing the mob]
ROMAN GUARD 1: Listen, one and all!
PREFECT: Prepare to hear and obey the verdict of our emperor!
[he reads from a scroll]
PREFECT: "I, Flavius Theodosius Augustus, emperor and supreme head of the provinces of the Orient, having been informed of the events which recently took place in the city of Alexandria, do hereby declare and command that the insurgents shall be pardoned and freed--"
[cut to inside of the Library, as a cheer goes up from the assembled scholars (although Hypatia and Theon still show a look of concern), then back to the prefect]
PREFECT: "In exchange for my generosity, the insurgents will abandon the Serapeum and the library immediately, allowing the Christians to enter and dispose of the premises--"
[a cheer goes up from the Christians outside the library, as the prefect attempts to shout over them]
PREFECT: "As they see fit!"
[cut to inside the library]
SCHOLAR 2: What are we to expect? They'll destroy everything!
[Theon quickly turns to Hypatia]
THEON: The books ...
[cut back to the prefect]
PREFECT: You pagans will leave by the stables, where you will be escorted to your homes. Obey this instant!
[he turns to look at the angry mob, then speaks to the two guards on either side of him]
PREFECT: Send half of the regiment to the other side, and send the rest later.
ROMAN GUARD 1: Yes, sir.
[he rides off, as one of the guards yells after him]
ROMAN GUARD 2: Prefect, we won't be able to contain this mob for long!
[cut to inside the Library (where scholars are scrambling to save as many scrolls as they can), as Theon turns to one of the students]
THEON: Leave the lesser works!
STUDENT 2: Which are the lesser works?
HYPATIA: Just take the important ones, the important ones!
[cut to outside the library, as one of the lookouts yells down to the scholars assembled in the courtyard]
SCHOLAR 3: The soldiers are withdrawing!
[the scholars start to retreat, as the Christian mob begins to knock down the gates surrounding the library]
SCHOLAR 4: Come on, quickly!
SCHOLAR 5: Hypatia and her students are still in the atrium!
SCHOLAR 4: Are they out of their minds? If that's what they want, let them burn!
[they continue towards the library's back entrance]
SCHOLAR 4: Come on, quickly!
[cut to the students trying to brace the gates, but it isn't working]
[they also run away, then cut to inside the Library, as the few remaining scholars/students continue to try and save the books]
SCHOLAR 6: There's no time! There's no time!
[the scholar runs into Hypatia, knocking the scrolls out of her hands ... she tries to pick them up, but Davus grabs her]
DAVUS: My lady! You have to leave them, you have to leave them!
[they freeze as the sounds of the gates being forced open reach their ears, then cut back to the courtyard as the Christian mob pours through]



At night Hypatia talks about the stars. She tells Orestes that he is right. The heavens should be simple. She goes to the top of the Serapeum to look at the heavens. She asks: "What if there were a simpler explanation?" A man shouts down to her that Aristarchus believed that the earth moves around the sun, but there are lots of problems with his model.

Outside the gates a Roman shouts to make way for the prefect. The prefect tells the people to listen up. Emperor Flavius Theodsius Augustus has decided that the insurgents (the pagans) shall be pardoned and freed, but they must abandon the Serapeum and the library immediately. This order from the emperor means that the Christians will be able to enter the Serapeum and dispose of the premises as they see fit. A big roar of approval comes up from the Christians.

Hearing the announcement, Hypatia and Theon, together with the students, try to grab the most important manuscripts from the library to save them from the Christian mob. The Christians start attacking the gates and the pagans start to leave the Serapeum out a back exit. Hypatia asks Davus why are slaves never around when one needs them? Davus starts helping her.

The Christians start breaking through the gates. Davus grabs a weapon and says he will fight. Hypatia yells to him not to go, but Davus ignores her. The Christians shout: "God is one!" as they rush into the Serapeum. Davus just stands there as the Christians swarm past him. They start pushing some of the pillars of the buildings down. Ammonius sees Davus in the crowd and yells to him to come and help him tear down the pagan statues. Davus starts his own attack on a statue with his sword, hitting it over and over again. He then pushes the statue over and it cracks in several places. The people roar their approval for Davus.

Going into the library the Christians start throwing the manuscripts and various loose items into the middle of a large circular room. Manuscripts are also taken outside and burned.

Theon's wound is festering and Hypatia cries over her father. Later she looks over some of the saved manuscripts. Davus comes in and pushes her up against a wall and starts sexually assaulting her, but soon he starts crying with his head on her shoulder. He gives her his sword and Hypatia tells him: "You're free. Go! Go!"

Henceforth in Alexandria, only Jewish and Christians are allowed to worship openly. All pagan symbols are to be removed from the city. After the storming of the library, many pagans convert to Christianity. This gives Alexandria a time of peace. Hypatia continues her teaching and research. Her former disciples start occupying important posts among the social elite. The Roman Empire divides into two parts and many Christians see this as a sign of the coming end of the earth and start leading holier lives. The order of monks known as "Parabalani" take charge of patrolling the streets of Alexandria to insure Christian morality. The pagans are no longer a real presence in the city.



"Agora" (2009)
Starring Rachel Weisz as Hypatia

A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, the famous female philosophy professor and atheist Hypatia of Alexandria.



The loss of the ancient world's single greatest archive of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, has been lamented for ages. But how and why it was lost is still a mystery. The mystery exists not for lack of suspects but from an excess of them.

Alexandria was Ptolemy's Column - Last remnant of the Library of Alexandriafounded in Egypt by Alexander the Great. His successor as Pharaoh, Ptolomy II Soter, founded the Museum or Royal Library of Alexandria in 283 BC. The Museum was a shrine of the Muses modeled after the Lyceum of Aristotle in Athens. The Museum was a place of study which included lecture areas, gardens, a zoo, and shrines for each of the nine muses as well as the Library itself. It has been estimated that at one time the Library of Alexandria held over half a million documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and many other nations. Over 100 scholars lived at the Museum full time to perform research, write, lecture or translate and copy documents. The library was so large it actually had another branch or "daughter" library at the Temple of Serapis.

The second story of the Library's destruction is more popular, thanks primarily to Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". But the story is also a tad more complex. Theophilus was Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 AD. During his reign the Temple of Serapis was converted into a Christian Church (probably around 391 AD) and it is likely that many documents were destroyed then. The Temple of Serapis was estimated to hold about ten percent of the overall Library of Alexandria's holdings. After his death, his nephew Cyril became Patriarch. Shortly after that, riots broke out when Hierax, a Christian monk, was publicly killed by order of Orestes the city Prefect. Orestes was said to be under the influence of Hypatia, a female philosopher and daughter of the "last member of the Library of Alexandria". Although it should be noted that some count Hypatia herself as the last Head Librarian.

Alexandria had long been known for it's violent and volatile politics. Christians, Jews and Pagans all lived together in the city. One ancient writer claimed that there was no people who loved a fight more than those of Alexandria. Immediately after the death of Hierax a group of Jews who had helped instigate his killing lured more Christians into the street at night by proclaiming that the Church was on fire. When the Christians rushed out the largely Jewish mob slew many of them. After this there was mass havoc as Christians retaliated against both the Jews and the Pagans - one of which was Hypatia. The story varies slightly depending upon who tells it but she was taken by the Christians, dragged through the streets and murdered.

Some regard the death of Hypatia as the final destruction of the Library. Others blame Theophilus for destroying the last of the scrolls when he razed the Temple of Serapis prior to making it a Christian church. Still others have confused both incidents and blamed Theophilus for simultaneously murdering Hypatia and destroying the Library though it is obvious Theophilus died sometime prior to Hypatia.

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