Hypatia of Alexandria. Who was she? A brilliant young mathematician and scientist, murdered by a religious mob? An aging academic taken out by a rival political party? A sorceress who kept the Prefect and people of Alexandria in thrall through satanic wiles? Did she discover that the earth circled the sun 1000 years before Copernicus or was she merely a gifted geometry teacher?
Hypatia has been the subject of much mythmaking through the centuries. She’s featured in poetry, plays, novels and movies. Many people “quote” her, including one of my favorites: “Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies.” I’ve studied Hypatia and her times since 1980. No writing by her has survived. This oft-quoted statement and many others are fabrications—fables—created by modern authors. Ironically, many who champion truth perpetuate a mythical version of Hypatia’s life and words. This collection of essays pulls back the curtain and lets the reader see the real Hypatia, a remarkable woman in her own right. I’m sure, like me, you’ll find Hypatia needs no embellishment to be a heroine.
This book is also a labor of love.
When my novel (Selene of Alexandria, in which Hypatia is a major character) came out, I started this blog. Mostly posts about my passions—Hypatia, Late Antiquity, Roman history, archaeology—but also author interviews, book reviews and giveaways, and movie “reel vs. real” essays. Like most bloggers, I obsess over my views and track which articles are most popular. Hands down, anything about Hypatia draws the most readers and generates the most discussion. My posts on the historical accuracy of the movie Agora, starring Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, rank Nos. 1, 2 and 3 even after nearly two years. Hypatia has a devoted following in cyberspace.
As a favor to my readers and Hypatia fans, I decided to pull all this material together and create Hypatia: Her Life and Times. These articles and essays are free on the web, but scattered across various sites and blogs. I’ve expanded some of the essays and updated others with new information. I organized the material by relevance to Hypatia. Essays about her life, death and work are in the first part. Later, I branch out into “Her Times” with pieces on the city of Alexandria, the Great Library and other famous women of her era. I finish with an author interview, a sample chapter from my novel and my research bibliography. This collection is not a formal biography…two very good ones are reviewed here…but it does provide a good look at the real woman behind the mythic heroine. Check it out.
- Title: Hypatia: Her Life and Times
- Author: Faith L. Justice
- Published: March 2012
- EPUB ISBN: 978-1476318110
- Ebook available at: Smashwords.com in all digital/eBook formats
- Price: $2.99
- Length: 23,000 words
- Print ISBN: 978-1479157358
- Print 5″x 8″ available at: Create Space or order through any online bookstore
- Price: $6.49
- Length: 115 pages.
Note: I provided the eBook free for fourteen months and 1100+ people downloaded it. Thanks! Since that time, I’ve put out a print copy and put a price on the eBook of $2.99. I hope that modest return for my effort doesn’t discourage anyone from getting the book. However, I know times are tough, so anyone wanting a copy can contact me through this website and I’ll send you a free PDF copy. If you have questions, comments or difficulty downloading/ordering the book; feel free to get in touch with me directly or leave a comment on this post. I love to hear from folks. Enjoy and thanks!