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Theon of Alexandria and Hypatia

By Michael Lambrou

Abstract. In this paper we present the story of the most famous ancient female mathematician, Hypatia, and her father Theon of Alexandria.

The mathematician and philosopher Hypatia flourished in Alexandria from the second part of the 4th century until her violent death incurred by a mob in 415. She was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, a mathematician and astronomer, who flourished in Alexandria during the second part of the fourth century. Information on Theon’s life is only brief, coming mainly from a note in the Suda (Suida’s Lexicon, written about 1000 AD) stating that he lived in Alexandria in the times of Theodosius I (who reigned AD 379-395) and taught at the Museum.

He is, in fact, the Museum’s last attested member. Descriptions of two eclipses he observed in Alexandria included in his commentary to Ptolemy’s Mathematical Syntaxis (Almagest) and elsewhere have been dated as the eclipses that occurred in AD 364, which is consistent with Suda.

Read the full article [NOTE: Opens as a pdf.]

(H/T History of the Ancient World)

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