Agora: Hypatia of Alexandria

The fall of a civilization

Agora is a Greek term meaning market place or the center where all of life comes together. At this moment in history, there was a collision between Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. This new amazing movie by Alejandro Amenábar, set in Alexandria of Roman Egypt on 391 A.D. concerning the fall of an entire civilization. The film is the story of the violent revolt of Christian fanatic mobs in the streets of Alexandria which spills over into the city's famous Library. The brilliant Greek philosopher and astronomer Hypatia is murdered by the mob after trying to save the wisdom of the Ancient World. The murder of this great woman and philosopher marked the historical end of the Greek-Roman religion and the start of a long dark period for the western world. Philosophy never recovered in Alexandria and Egypt. Science, too.

The scenery of this movie is MAGNIFICENT. Really great artwork. You must watch this movie especially for the views of ancient Alexandria. Also, Rachel Weisz is a beautiful actor in the role of Hypatia.

If you wish to learn about Hypatia, I recommend you to read a book, before you watch the movie. I recommend the book Hypatia of Alexandria written by Maria Dzielska (Harvard University Press). This is the book that clarified the history of Hypatia's murder.

YouTube- Official Agora Trailer English HD

Hapatia. During the fourth century A.D. there lived in Alexandria a lovely intellectual woman by the name of Hypatia, the daughter of Theon. She grew up in an ideal intellectual climate, since her father Theon was a teacher, a mathematician and a philosopher. He taught her astronomy, astrology, mathematics and rhetoric.

Beautiful, Intellectual, Athletic. Hapatia was born in the year 355 A.D. She grew up to be a tall, slim, beautiful woman. Not only was she highly gifted intellectually, but she was unusually athletic. By the time that she was 20 she could walk 10 miles without fatigue, could swim, row, ride horseback and climb mountains. She had bodily grace, beauty of face, and above all an abundance of intelligence.

Exposed Superstitions. By the time she began giving lectures of her own, she began saying such things as "Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-mind accepts and believes them, and only after great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after-years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth — often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable."

Supported by Prefect. Orestes, who was the prefect of the city, attended her lectures. When in one lecture Hapatia stated, "To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force," Orestes applauded her. News of this event was carried to Cyril, the then Bishop of Alexandria. He was infuriated and declared he would excommunicate Orestes.

Bishop Opposed Her. But neither Cyril nor Orestes could unseat each other, since both derived their power from Rome. The quarrel grew more acrimonious, with Bishop Cyril venting his pathological hatred more and more against Hypatia.

Viciously Attacked by Christian Mob. In March of 415 A.D., several years after Bishop Cyril came to power, when Hapatia was 60 years old, she left the lecture hall one night to enter a carriage and go home. She was viciously attacked by a fanatical, hate filled mob. After first stripping her naked, she was barbarously murdered. She was then dragged through the streets by the mob, her flesh cut from her bones and finally burned piecemeal.

Promoting Truth and Culture Her Only Crime. Her crime? She told the truth about unreasoned and superstitious lies, she promoted learning and culture, and thereby undermined the power of a tyrannical  power structure.

- Ben Klassen (WMB, page 472-474)

This film about Hypatia is available on
There is more in the Brittany Hughes' documentary Ancient World.


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