Hypatia- The OG Surly Girl
Hypatia of Alexandria
First thing's first- Hypatia was the OG Surly Girl. Born around 355 AD, Hypatia is widely recognized as one of the first female mathematicians and astronomers in which detailed knowledge of her life and work exist. She was also a Neoplatonist philosopher and was thus seen as “pagan” at a time where paganism and classical education were intimately linked. Around 400 AD, she became head of the Neoplatonist school in Alexandria that attracted many loyal, male students from all over the empire who came there to receive the best education money could buy and to learn directly from Hypatia.
Alexandria schools were not divided by religion as she taught both Christians and pagans and was allied with them both. Hypatia was cautious about taking sides in the power struggle of these religions and took a more transcendent approach toward spirituality. She was aristocratic and influential in Alexandria but her popularity as a scholar and a woman became her largest liability.
The bishop Cyril had targeted her because of her influence and proclaimed her a sorceress who was bewitching high ranking officials. Her work in astronomy was also inseparable from astrology at the time which sealed her fate.
As Hypatia was riding through Alexandria, a mob of monks dragged her out of her chariot and into a temple where they stripped her naked, brutally attacked her with jagged pieces of oyster shell, pulled her limbs from her body and paraded her through the streets for all to see. Her remains were burned in a mockery of pagan sacrifice. What they didn't realize at the time was that by killing Hypatia, they immortalized her.
The greatest achievement of Hypatia was not introducing new ideas but carrying the flame of philosophical inquiry into an increasingly darkening age.
The product Hypatia's Revenge is named after Hypatia of Alexandria. We feel the ultimate revenge on the ignorant zealots that murdered her is the fact that she has become a powerful feminist symbol in history and a figure of affirmation for intellectual endeavor in the face of sexism and prejudice. At Surly Girl, by sharing her story, we are honoring her ever-tenacious curiosity and wonder and hope it inspires you to stand up for your beliefs like it has inspired us.