Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Hypatia, lady of Alexandria
Hypatia (1). Socrates (H. E. vii. 15) says: "There was a lady in Alexandria, by name Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon. She advanced to such a point of mental culture as to surpass all the philosophers of her age and to receive the office of lecturer in the Platonic school, of which Plotinus had been the founder, and there expound all philosophic learning to any desirous of it. Students of philosophy came from all quarters to hear her. The dignified freedom of speech, which her training had implanted in her, enabled her to appear even before the public magistrates with entire modesty; none could feel ashamed to see her take her station in the midst of men. She was reverenced and admired even the more for it, by reason of the noble temperance of her disposition. This then was the woman upon whom malicious envy now made its attack. She was wont to have frequent communications with Orestes [the prefect]; this aroused enmity against her in the church community. The charge was that it was through her that Orestes was prevented from entering upon friendly relations with the bishop [CYRIL]. Accordingly some passionate fanatics, led by Peter the Reader, conspired together and watched her as she was returning home from some journey, tore her from her chariot, and dragged her to the church called Caesarium; there they stripped her and killed her with oyster shells, and, having torn her in pieces, gathered together the limbs to a place called Cinaron, and consumed them with fire. This deed occasioned no small blame to Cyril and the Alexandrian church; for murders, fightings, and the like are wholly alien to those who are minded to follow the things of Christ. This event happened in the fourth year of the episcopate of Cyril, in the consulships of Honorius (for the tenth time) and Theodosius (for the sixth time) in the month of March, at the season of the fast"c (i.e. Mar. 415). Little can be added to this. Synesius of Cyrene (afterwards bp. of Ptolemais) was a devoted disciple of hers. According to Suidas, she married Isidorus. No trustworthy account connects Cyril directly with her murder.