Ancient Sources for Hypatia and Agora

movie poster for AgoraI am teaching the film Agora (2009) for the second time this year in my class Ancient Worlds on Film. Despite some considerable hunting I have not been able to find a convenient collection of the ancient sources on the fascinating philosopher and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, the subject of the film. Since comparison of film and ancient sources is at the heart of the course I was constrained to make my own collection, which I offer here for the benefit of anybody else interested in the film. In include Rufinus’ account of the storming of the temple of Serapis,  which figures prominently in the film. I also put in accounts of Hypatia from both Christian (John of Nikiu, Socrates) and pagan or Neo-Platonist (Palladas, Damascius, the Suda) perspectives.  The main gap is the letters of Synesius, which I did not include. For more on Hypatia and the film, I recommend the following:

  • Michael Deakin, “Hypatia and Her Mathematics,” American Mathematical Monthly 101.3 (1994), 234–243.
  • Donald Viney, “Remembering and Misremembering Hypatia: The Lessons of Agora,” Midwest Quarterly 54.4 (2013), 352–369.
  • Alex McAuley, “Hypatia’s Hijab: Visual Echoes of 9/11 in Alejandro Almenábar’s Agora.” Mouseion, Series III, Vol. 13 (2016): 131–152.
  • Lauren Kaplow, “Religious and Intercommunal Violence in Alexandria in the 4th and 5th centuries CE.” Hirundo: The McGill Journal of Classical Studies 4 (2005-2006) 2-26.

Ancient Sources for Agora-2018-4-27


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