Synesius of Cyrene


THEOPHILUS The twenty-third patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (385-412). A complex and controversial patriarch, Theophilus was much admired for his many writings, his destruction of pagan temples and subsequent church-building program, as well as his important role as a mediator of schisms at Antioch, Bostra, and Jerusalem during the early part of his …

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Synesius (C. 370-C. 414)

SYNESIUS (c. 370-c. 414) The bishop of Ptolemais. Born at Cyrene in the Pentapolis to a wealthy pagan family, he was brought up as a pagan and sent by his parents to complete his higher education in Alexandria under HYPATIA, the famous Neoplatonist Greek philosopher, to whom he became attached and remained loyal despite the …

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PENTAPOLIS This area derives its name from the five Greek cities of Cyrenaica: Berenice-Euesperides/Benghazi, Arsinoe- Taucheira (Teucheria)/Tukrah, Ptolemaïs/Tulmaythah, Apollonia/Sozousa/Marsa Susah, and Cyrene / ‘Ayn Shahhat. The history of the Pentapolis was dominated by three centers of attraction and potential peril: the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the desert hinterland populated by Berber tribes having strong relations, often …

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Hypatia of Alexandria


HYPATIA  Hypatia, a non-Christian philosopher in Alexandria (ca. 355–415), whose murder in 415 has been viewed as a watershed moment in the religious history of the city. Daughter of the mathematician Theon, she studied mathematics and philosophy and in the 380s succeeded her father as head of his school. Teaching in the Plotinian tradition of …

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