The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self


Astro Queen

posted by Donna Henes

CONGRATULATIONS!!!
To the 3 winners of the Third Anniversary Book Give Away:

Linda Null, North Carolina
Kali Frye, New Hampshire
Meredith Sterling, Texas

***

Astro Queen

Hypatia of Alexandria was a brilliant, eloquent and beautiful Hellenized Egyptian philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and teacher, who was savagely murdered by Archbishop Cyril and his fanatical Christian mob. Hypatia was born before her time, and she died before her time.

She lived during the late 4th and early 5th centuries, a golden age of great learning and culture in Alexandria. Hypatia was raised by her father, Theon, a mathematician, philosopher and  noted astronomer and astrologer. Theon educated Hypatia, teaching her mathematics, science, literature, philosophy and the arts. In addition, he had her participate in a daily routine of vigorous exercise with him. Legend has it that he was determined that his daughter would develop into the “perfect human being.”

Lovely Hypatia was pursued, but she never married, choosing instead to pursue her scholarly endeavors. Hypatia is the earliest woman scientist whose life is well documented. In addition to her work in the sciences, she was a philosopher and teacher of pure Pagan Greek philosophy —  Platonic and Aristotelian. She was a lover of wisdom, not of faith or godliness, but of mind and the “Supreme Good” — those noblest rules of human conduct and happiness.

Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can
comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best
preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.
– Hypatia

She wrote many books on mathematics as well as on astronomy, her favorite subject. Her greatest invention was the astrolabe. She created it to locate and track the movement of the stars, which she also noted in detailed tables of her observations. Sailors used the astrolabe and her navigation tables for the next 1200 years. But Hypatia’s love for astronomy was to be her doom. And the fact that she was a pagan didn’t help.

“Heathenism” didn’t sit well with the Christian leaders. St. Cyril of Alexandria, patriarch of the city, soon made himself known by his violent treatment against Jews, pagans and heretics. He initiated the destruction of old temples and their works of art by mob-led priests and monks. And he burned the great college and library of Alexandria, the last bastians of Greek culture, incinerating more than 500,000 volumes.

And here was our Hypatia — A 65-year old Queen of great stature and influence. a prominent, respected figure with a large and loyal following of students and disciples. There is no doubt that she would have been seen as a threat to patriarchal Christianity.

There was a woman in Alexandria named Hypatia . . . who surpassed all the philosophers of the time . . . They (monks) watch her returning to her house, pull her out of her carriage, and drag her to the Caesarean church. They strip her of her clothes and kill her with tiles (oyster shells or crockery). They tore her body limb from limb and burned the parts in a place called the ‘Cinaron.’
- Ecclesiastical History, book VII

The murder and dismemberment of the noble Hypatia by mad Christian monks was the death of philosophy in Alexandria and the demise also of the growing recognition of women’s dignity.  

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.



  • D’Light

    Thank you so much for this biography of Hypatia.
    I first encountered her name in the book Cosmos by Carl Sagan.
    I have introduced others to her, through conversation. But this is the first time that I have seen so complete a description of her life.

  • http://www.DonnaHenes.net Donna Henes

    Hypatia’s story is amazing. Especially for her time. But it is so horrendous that she should have been tortured to death for her knowledge, her accomplishments, her charisma and her free spirit. She was killed because she dared to be the Queen of her Self.

  • Eric

    Actually Hypatia did not invent the astrolabe. Indeed who did exactly did is a bit fuzzy, though her father, Theon, invented the published a paper on the mathematics. The first astrolabes appeared in the hands of the Muslim Arabs, who credited Greek scholarship. She was a brilliant mathematician. But bear in mind before you make judgement that very little of that period survives and much of her biographical details were published years after her death and ruthlessly embellished (often by Christians themselves). Consider that she was allegedly 65 in a rough era where life expectency was about 40-50. How beautiful could she be physically? Also, Alexandria was a cosmopolitan, multi cultural city. Hypatia might actually have been Egyptian or even black African. Finally, the late, great Library of Alexandria was destroyed three times. Once by Julius Caeser (by mistake), once by the Christians (who rebuilt it), and finally by the Muslims (who did not but recognized their mistake later and built “Houses of Wisdom” elsewhere).

  • http://www.DonnaHenes.net Donna Henes

    Eric – Thanks for your comments about Hypatia. She certainly could have been Egyptian or subSaharan African. I do take exception, however, with your remark, “Consider that she was allegedly 65 in a rough era where life expectancy was about 40-50. How beautiful could she be physically?” The whole point of The Queen of My Self blog is to affirm the inherent beauty of aging women, based as it is — and certainly was with Hypatia — on experience, wisdom, Self-esteem and potency. Her reputation was as a beautiful, charismatic, influential personage. I am sorry that you don’t appreciate that women grow ever more beautiful as they assume their own sovereignty.

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