Dear colleagues, Can any one answer tell me more, with refs, about the motives of the mob who are said to have murdered Hypatia? And the details, and repercussions?
Socrates Scholasticus (History of the Church, Book VII, Chapter 15) says she was killed by a mob of `Christians', led by someone called `Peter'. Most histories of mathematics seem to assume that the motives of the crowd were religious, that is, Hypatia was killed because she refused to be converted to the Christian Faith, or because she fell out with Cyril, the Christian Bishop of Alexandria. In contrast, W S Anglin (Mathematics: A Concise History and Philosophy, Springer 1994) says `there is no evidence to support this accusation. Cyril was a zealous leader, but we have no reason to think he incited the crowd to make a physical attack on the pagan mathematician. Indeed, we have no reason to think that the murder had anything to do with religion and science. For all we know, the mob killed Hypatia simply because they were poor and unemployed, while Hypatia had a permanent well-paid job.'