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Synesius’ Letter 137, Hypatia retains the title of Καθηγήτρια, a title – often used for neo-platonic philosophers – that bears the implication of both Teacher and Guide according to the ancient meaning of the word. In fact Hypatia’s lectures were being attended not only by ordinary citizens, but also by city officials that were both pagans and Christians. She was moreover a widely respected woman that could influence through consultation the Alexandrian elite and the authorities of the city. Among her disciples and friends, there were some of the most important people in the empire, such as her close friend Orestes, the Prefect of Alexandria, Simplicius, the Magister Militum of the Orient, and Pentadius, the Imperatorial Governor of Egypt. The Parabolans were a private army of poorly educated but fervent monks, who decided to take direct action against Hypatia, inflicting on her a witch’s death; lynching, mutilation and burning on a bonfire.

Finally there is the hermetic trend, reviving the faith of the texts of ancient Egypt. Hermeticism also called "Greco-Egyptian Hermeticism" was founded on the revelations of Hermes Trismegistus (Fig. 63). The Greek god Hermes, messenger of the Olympic gods was identified as Thoth the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom and magic. Between 100 and 300 AD, many philosophical texts including the very important Corpus Hermeticum appeared, written in Greek. Hermetism, described most simply, combined Egyptian and Greek theology, philosophy, and spiritual practice.

The rise and role of the Christian thought in Roman Alexandria The rise of the Christian thought in the 2nd century AD Alexandria shared common space with another important philosophical movement, noted also above, Neo-Platonism. Although the Christian thinkers and neo-Platonists comprised two different schools, their boundaries were not so distinct. They seem to share common intellectual ground while they departed to different directions that would be violently cleared during the 4th century. Especially in the course of the 3rd century AD, there was an extensive dialogue between them, an exchange of thoughts that would contribute to the development of both doctrines. In fact, both Neo-platonists and early Christian thinkers could be considered as “Platonists”, discussing a major idea of Plato: “The world we live is an imperfect copy of the ideal world”. Both of them recognize the principle of the One, the God, who is above all, the source and the end of all things, creator both of the ideal and physical worlds. For Neo-Platonists the link between the God and the man is the Emanations, while for Christianity Jesus Christ and his


Final study of CulMe-WeOnCT project  
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