Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hipatia de Alejandría” as Want to Read:
Hipatia de Alejandría
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hipatia de Alejandría

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  232 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Hipatia –matemática brillante, neoplatónica elocuente y famosa por su belleza– fue brutalmente asesinada en el año 415 por una turba de cristianos de Alejandría. Desde entonces ha sido una leyenda. En su libro, Maria Dzielska va más allá de la leyenda para ofrecernos la historia verdadera de la vida y la muerte de Hipatia, además de nuevas ideas sobre su mundo. Historiador ...more
Published 2004 by Siruela (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hipatia de Alejandría, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hipatia de Alejandría

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers interested in the legend of Hypatia, or in Neo-Platonism and late antiquity
I read this book several years ago. It's not a long read, about 100 pages of text. It has a serviceable index, and quite a few notes. But the notes will not be useful to readers unless they read French, since they refer mostly to original documents and secondary documents written in French. In this sense it almost strikes one as an academic treatise.

Maria Dzielska claims that her book has corrected some distortions of the Hypatia story, as it has grown up in the west over the last few centuries:
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
When my youngest daughter started high school they had to do this thing for SOSE (Studies of Society and Environment – I think it was what I used to call Geography and History, but such names had to be replaced as they were a complete give-away) called The Night of the Notables. Basically, the kids had to pick someone from history that they would like to dress up as and to prepare a very brief talk about. Maddy asked for my advice as she wanted to do a woman that was really impressive – I sugges ...more
Alice Poon
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history

Several years ago I saw on TV the movie “Agora”, and ever since, the image of Hypatia, the legendary 4th century female scholar and philosopher of Alexandria, has left an indelible mark on my memory. I’m glad that I’ve finally got round to reading Maria Dzielska’s myth-dispelling account of Hypatia’s intellectual life and the times she lived in.

Relying on two ancient historical tomes (Historia Ecclesiastica by Socrates Scholasticus and Suda), plus a collection of correspondence kept by Synesius
Sep 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα βιβλίο που είχε πολύ λίγα στοιχεία για την Υπατία και με τίποτα δεν ανταποκρίνεται στον τίτλο. Το μόνο που έχει σε αφθονία είναι ονόματα, και είναι τόσο πολλά που μερικές στιγμές αισθάνεσαι ότι διαβάζεις τηλεφωνικό κατάλογο!
A scholarly paper turned to book form, this helpful review of documents and literary references to Hypatia goes a long way to clearing the view of this remarkable woman. While the referencing makes it difficult to follow at times, the arguments set up for seeking a clearer idea of the potential for Hypatia to have been a Christian herself, or just a learned woman exploring the range of ideas of those around her, are compelling. The sense that there were other women of the same name around in cir ...more
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Hypatia of Alexandria after hearing about Agora, a film which made some waves at Cannes this year and should be showing on U.S. screens soon. It'll be interesting seeing the movie after reading this book, as director Alejandro Amenábar's Hypatia is exactly the type of literary Hypatia that Dzielska spends the first chapter of her book debunking.

This is a rather boring book about a really interesting subject. Hypatia, noted Alexandrian philosopher and mathematician of the fourth and f
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Dec 31, 2011 marked it as decided-not-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: Greenblatt's The Swerve
Shelves: philosophy, biography
Unfortunately there is not much in the way of source material to base a life of Hypatia on. This seems so speculative that I've decided to give it a pass.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hypatia, the woman philosopher/mathematician of the Fifth Century A.D., is a caricature with little or no grounding in reality. For example, in the 2009 film “Agora,” she is portrayed as the youthful originator of heliocentrism, killed by ignorant Christians opposed to science, who for good measure burn down the famous Library of Alexandria, of which Hypatia was Librarian. None of this is true in any way, of course, although it fits the modern liberal desire to contemptuously dismiss Christians ...more
Faith Justice
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an abbreviated version of a post on my blog titled: Hypatia of Alexandria: Two Books

In March AD 415, a Christian mob murdered Hypatia, the renowned Lady Philosopher of Alexandria. The vicious act shocked the city and shamed the early Church. Socrates Scholasticus tells the story in his Historia Ecclesiastica:

"...Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time...For all men on accoun
Robin Rivers
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
While the research done for this book is remarkable, bringing to light details of Hypatia's life that few have revealed before, I rate this book right in the middle of the pack for one reason - the glaring and continued lack of even simple acknowledgement that Hypatia's status as a female philosopher of incredible rank and influence was otherwise unattainable by women within the ancient world.

The other substantial omission, which I have yet to find a scholar willing to address, is the absence of
Nov 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of my pet peeves. As a work of "scholarship" it leaves so much to be desired it's almost intolerable. And to think it's basically the one non-fiction book out there people depend on. Depressing. Poor Hypatia.
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another instance of what happens when a 'hard-lining' ecclesiastical minority infringes upon the Rights of others - leading to an iconoclastic destruction of Libraries, Monuments and Religiously-fueled violence ( including antisemitism ). . .

Hypatia of Alexandria ( ca. 350-415 ce ) was an innocent women who was caught in this turmoil and suffered mutilation at the hands of an angry mob - instigated by the Archbishop, Cyril.
It was Cyril who had started the accusations that Hypatia practiced
A really interesting and informative book about Hypatia. It discusses the mysteries that shroud her life, as well as the known facts. Highly recommend for those interested in antiquity and women in history.
Hypatia has become a symbol for poets and feminists since her brutal attack and murder in 415 AD. She was a mathematician and a pagan philosopher with a large following. Dzielska uses the few primary sources available for her small biography, but does not shed much light on Hypatia herself. Little is known about her personal life outside of her philosophies, and there is plenty of speculation about Hypatia's role in the culture of Alexandria. While married to the philosopher Isidore, Hypatia wou ...more
I liked this book, but readers should be aware from the beginning that it is not a biography. You do not get a continuous narrative of the life of Hypatia. In fact, that kind of biography is simply not possible, given the dearth of source material, and all the accounts you've seen of that sort are semi-fiction. What this book does is review all the source material we have, picking out what seems established as true, comparing different versions of stories, speculating on the most likely interpre ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does a good job of presenting the legendary figure of Hypatia as a real human being. There are a lot of questions and speculation, but that is inevitable given the small amount of source material. The author makes good arguments for her views and the book is well sourced.
Joel Everett
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent monograph on the life of, and literary history about, Hypatia of Alexandria; nicely sourced as well.
Matt McCormick
Allowances should be made. There appears to be a dearth of verifiable information on Hypatia's life. Our author, Maria Dzielska, a university faculty member in Krakow, was committed to presenting her subject in a scrupulously honest manner. She does her very best to cull supposition from the biography leaving the author with constant references to a handful of meager sources. The reader can feel her frustration with more modern writers who have immortalized Hypatia in ways that support their own ...more
'Hypatia of Alexandria' by Maria Dzielska is the first book I have ever read specifically devoted to the exploration of the life of Hypatia, like many who enjoy reading about the Late Antique I was familiar with the name. This of course in connection with the ideological war for ' the mind of the empire' that was taking place at the time, vaguely remember mentions of her as I attempted to read Gibbon ' The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', not easy I assure you.

Some may consider this book,
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

İ.S 4. yüzyılın sonunda ve 5. yüzyılın başlarında yaşamış olan filozof, matematikçi ve gökbilimci Hypatia'nın hayatı üzerine tarihi inceleme-araştırma kitabı. Peki kim bu Hypatia? Tarihin İskenderiye'nin çöküşünün habercisi olan vahşi politik cinayetlerinin kurbanı kadındır.

Zamanın önemli kültür merkezlerinden olan İskenderiye'de hala çoktanrılı dine inanan insanlar ve Hristiyanlar beraber yaşamaktadır. Bir yandan Hristiyanlığın yayılması için imparatorluk
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book, and this reflects the paucity of real information that we have about Hypatia. Thankfully, the author does a careful job of cutting through all of the mythology that has grown around this famous historical figure and presents an interesting and compelling portrait of her. Well, actually the portrait seems to be more of her milieu and the events that surrounded her. Here is a story that reveals one of those sadly universal patterns which govern so many lives: at the end of he ...more
I've been an admirer of Hypatia for a few years now, but this is the first time I've had a chance to read extensively about her life. I think what interested me the most about her story is the--for lack of a better term--idealism of it. By all accounts, she seems to have lived very much as the archetype of philosophic thought. Her extensive knowledge about various subjects, involvement with the city, the admiration of her students, are all qualities highly praised in the philosophical tradition. ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scholarly assessment of early historical sources on Hypatia of Alexandria, a scientist and well respected teacher murdered around 415 AD.

Dzielska makes a strong case that Hypatia was quite likely a Christian herself. Two of her students became Bishops. Hypatia was murdered by a mob of non-tolerant Christians who were most likely lead by Cyril, later venerated by the early Church, who arrived in Alexandria and swiftly built a private army of 600 or so.

Alexander the Great had founded the city of
Gregg Jones
During the decline of the Roman Empire, Alexandria Egypt was still a great city of wealth, trade, tolerance, but also a very unstable society that was divided between ethnic, religious and much more social strata that was tearing it apart. It was not a united society but a very hostile environment. The pagans were slowly shrinking, The Christians were growing and were vengeful of everyone (pagans, jews, etc). The Jews were well established and contributed to the well being of Alexandria.

At this
Mar 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book intrigued me with the first chapter and the writing seemed concise and inviting, however, after having dragged myself through the whole book hoping that it was like the first chapter, I would never recommend this to anyone.

It seems like a movie based on a fifteen minute premise that this book has been dragged out to a whole book when it should have been a fifth grader's history summary on a barely known woman who lived in Alexandria. The book seemed to use the same points over and over
Tony Gualtieri
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maria Dzielska is a sober guide to this enigmatic figure and she does a thorough job of outlining the little that is known about Hypatia. She shows how authors and artists, including Edward Gibbon, Bertrand Russell, and Judy Chicago, have embellished Hypatia's story, either to romanticize or to fulfill a didactic agenda.

I wouldn't have minded a bit of speculation in the text, especially about Hypatia's mathematics and philosopy; however, Dzielska makes it clear that any such speculation would b
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Full of references to important neo-platonists and figures in the church. Coolly-told account of the political machinations of the church, and the way that 'Saint' Cyril and Orestes' struggle for power led to Hypatia's murder. Cyril gained from her murder, even if he didn't directly press for it (which is not clear). Orestes was no saint either -- he used Hypatia for her political connections in Alexandria. Once she was torn apart by the mob, Orestes slunk out of town.

I always imagin
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This a slight little volume but packs a large amount of information. It is a translation that is lacking in imagination and repetitive at times, one presumes the translation is at fault. In spite of this we have a first (?) encapsulation of the history (and myths?) of the life and horrible death of the woman of her and any times Hypatia of Alexandria. Nicely laid out dealing with all what has been written through the centuries then a recap of the concurrent and postmortem writings about the Phil ...more
Fernanda Luppani
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book densely packed with the results of an exhaustive investigation into what little is known about the Alexandrian philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, Hypatia. The first part of the book explores texts on the subject of various antiquity. Some of these texts offer a fictional treatment of the legend of Hypatia or attempt to reconstruct her life based on calculated intentions to represent the christian church, or those in its opposition, under a certain light; while others are op ...more
For those who have never heard of Hypatia the back of this book gives you a quick summary of the woman: "Hypatia - brilliant mathematician, eloquent Neoplatonist, and a woman renowned for her beauty - was brutally murdered by a mob of Christians in Alexandria in 415. She has been a legend ever since."

This book is thin (106 pages, an additional forty to fifty provide sources, notes, and an index), despite its size, it manages to pull together a summary of Hypatia's life from the texts of the time
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hypatia of Alexandria: Mathematician and Martyr
  • Selene of Alexandria
  • Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia
  • From Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints (History of women in the west, #1)
  • Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh
  • Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria
  • Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics
  • Hell Hath No Fury: True Stories of Women at War from Antiquity to Iraq
  • Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist
  • Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece
  • Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World
  • Inventing the Middle Ages
  • Women in Ancient Egypt
  • Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries
  • I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
  • Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity
  • Darwin: A Graphic Biography
  • The Age of Napoleon