The Alexandrians:  Hypatia, Diophantus & Ptolemy

Ptolemy 85 - 165 AD /  Diophantus 200 - 284 AD /  Hypatia 370 - 415 AD of Alexandria, Egypt

Notable Quotes

Ptolemy: "When I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia, food of the gods."
Quoted in C B Boyer, A History of Mathematics (New York 1968)

Diophantus (reportedly writing his own epitaph):  "This tomb hold Diophantus Ah, what a marvel! And the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life. God vouchsafed that he should be a boy for the sixth part of his life; when a twelfth was added, his cheeks acquired a beard; He kindled for him the light of marriage after a seventh, and in the fifth year after his marriage He granted him a son. Alas! late-begotten and miserable child, when he had reached the measure of half his father's life, the chill grave took him. After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years, he reached the end of his life. 
Quoted in J R Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics (New York 1956).

Hypatia "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all."


Ptolemy Bio Info
Diophantus Bio Info
Hypatia, the First Known Woman Mathematician

Known for work in all areas of mathematics, but in particular an emphasis on algebra.

Ptolemy Links

Alexandria, the Ptolemaic Dynasty
Tour Egypt, Ptolemy the 1st
Private Life in Egypt Under the Empire, read the original papyri
Ptolemy's Theorem
Ptolemaic Egypt and its Culture

Diophantus Links

Diophantus Mathematics
The Development of Algebra - The Greeks
Algebra Fun - Calendar Activity
Internet Links for Algebra

Hypatia Links

Hypatia More Bio Info (MacTutor)
Hypatia - New Foes with an Old Face online
Dr. Sarah's Activities on Hypatia (college level)
More information - credible site
Activities for G. 4-6

Alexandrian Greek - Classical Reading Links

On the marriage of Hermes and Philology

Martianus Capella (c. 410 A.D.), On the marriage of Hermes and Philology (translated in english by W.H. Stahl, Columbia University Press): Hermes is marrying a minor godess Philology. The Seven Liberal Arts (including Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Harmony) come to greet the couple and present themselves."