Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the atheist philosopher

The amphitheater was full of scholars, the men of future, the seeds of leaders, derived from various cultural backgrounds. There beautifully stood Hypatia in front of all men, passionately shared what were known and unknown, the unsolved mysteries of the Earth. There sat Orestes among the proud scholars, admiring the stunning Astronomer, desiring her. Nobody had the idea that there, Davus, the Philosopher's slave, secretly soaked himself in all her teaching, secretly fell in love with his mistress.

Just outside the school, the Pagans and the Christians were mocking each other, ridiculing the opposites' gods. Both sides were arrogant, bragged their gods disgustingly. Both sides assumed that everyone who was not in their faith was wrong, then reserved the right to be punished; which was the reason why one day the Pagan felt the need to kill the Christians only to figure out that they're actually outnumbered, then hid in their great Library of Alexandria.

When the Roman authority finally declared that the Christians should be allowed to enter the Library, Hypatia knew that the sciences are in serious thread. The literatures, hypotheses, poems were about to be eradicated by the rage of angry Christians; not to mention the building, statues, the art.. Then she rushed to the rolls of scripts, saving the most importants as many as she could followed by her students and the slaves. While Davus the slave and his confused head helped nothing than wandering around to finally join the angry men, stated himself a Christian. A free man by then.


Years went by and the world changed phase. The Pagan believers were then Christians, including Orestes who had become the Prefect of Alexandria. Then that the Pagans were outcasted, the conflict continued, with the Jews.

One day the Christians successfully attacked the Jews in a theater show on Sabbath day, only because it's Sabbath and they knew that the Jews wouldn't fight back. The Jews claimed the state of unfairness and disrespect on the attack while the arrogant Christians defensively argued that they should've been attending church on Sabbath instead of indulging themselves at the theater. Unable to win in the court, the Jews took revenge by spreading a fire hoax to trap the Christians in one room, then stoned them. The Christians' response to this was full of anger and hatred. Though their mouths said it's god's portion to punish the enemies, they cursed and screamed like mad dogs.

Davus, he grew up in a peaceful surrounding. His mistress didn't treat him as a slave but as a friend. 'Slave' was only an attribute given to him, only got him closer to Hypatia into her personal matters without being able to respond her casually: cleansing rituals, discussions, daily talks.. He never thought that the freedom he pursued was that cruel. He thought Christianity was about forgiveness and care, helping the poor and share as The Book said; not judgmental, narrow minded and even more, brutal. His head once again was full of conflicts as he began to question his so-called faith.


While the world was under a political chaos and despite the new rule forbid her to teach, Hypatia's cravings for science stood still. Observing the stars, wondering the circle as a perfect shape, examining the orbits, and above all, wondering what they all mean.

She had no idea that the Bishop has a rough relationship with the Prefect, only because Orestes the Prefect didn't want to bow in front of their Holy Book after the Bishop stated that only men were considered honorable, no single woman had the right to speak her mind - moreover to teach, and no single woman had the right to show herself in public unless her body was fully cloth-covered, or she would be accused of witch craft. Orestes was still in love with Hypatia. The wise man of the religion deemed that Orestes' faith had been biased with his affection to the Philosopher, and the only way to save her was to have her christened, while the Christian monks outside had planned to kill her.

Davus heard the plan. He ran hard to her house, trying to warn Hypatia, just to figure out that she wasn't home.

Meanwhile at the Prefect's place, given the chance to rethink the rhetorical option, she stated thing that she'd been believing in.

"You don't question what you believe, or cannot. I must."

Soon, her life was at the verge of a catastrophe. Now fully aware of the risk she had taken, she walked home elegantly, refusing the offer of dedicated guards to escort her.

Davus was too late. The violent monks had found her, dragged her along the street to a church named Caesareum, ripped off her cloth, then prepared to execute her.

As the monks busy gathering stones to slay her, Davus secretly suffocated Hypatia so she wouldn't have to bear the pain of thrown stones. His heart was torn, memories flashed tearfully, regretfully.

Then died Hypatia, the uppermost, the supremest.


from the movie Agora (2009), directed by Alejandro Amenabar.