“To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.”

Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her by scraping her skin off with tiles and bits of shell. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.

Socrates Scholasticus 5th century AD

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not easy being a woman in the sciences.

Hypatia, born somewhere between 350 and 370 AD, died March 415 (see above) was a Greek scholar from Alexandria in Egypt. Considered the first notable woman in mathematics, she also taught philosophy and astronomy. She was killed by a Christian mob who falsely blamed her for local religious turmoil.

Notable quotes:

“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”

“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for under standing those that lie beyond.”

“To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.”

Happy Ada Lovelace day. Large chunks of above from the Wikipedia article on Hypatia.

5 thoughts on ““To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.”

  1. This quite from the movie In the Loop might be apropos.

    Toby: We called some builders. They didn’t turn up when they said they would.

    Jamie: What did you expect? They’re builders! Have you ever seen a film where the hero is a builder? No, no, because they never fucking turn up in the nick of time. Bat-builder? Spider-builder? Huh? That’s why you never see a superhero with a hod!

  2. There is a reference to a lost play by Shakespeare about Hypatia in Pynchon’s MASON & DIXON.

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