Saturday, March 20, 2010


agora is a historical non fiction film about hypatia, an atheist philosopher who taught at the library of alexandria, 4th century AD in roman egypt.

this was at the time when the roman empire was crumbling and the number of christians
have swelled enough to take over the city. at the behest of the pagans who worshipped their ancestral gods (serapis, mithra, horus and the others - all of which by the way had similar attributes with jesus - virgin birth, saviour of mankind, miracle workers, teller of parables etc)

christian zealots performed spectacles like walking on fire to lure the superstitious crowd. and made challenges to the gods for their seeming absence in the mortal realm. they failed to apply the same standard of scrutiny however, to their own god.

the situation worsened, provoked by public mockery of their god, the followers of serapis attacked the christians. against hypatia's pleading for the church leader of serapis to instead file their case with the prefect.

much to their surprise, they find themselves face to face with the christian mob which retaliated en force. by the time the roman prefect intervened, the pagans and other intellectuals were trapped in the library surrounded by the christian mob outside which appear to be composed of slaves, the uneducated, the impoverished, the marginalized, and lead by warmongering zealots. this is significant as it reflects the same demographic of christians today.

it was painful to watch the christians laid waste to the library, destroying all nowledge of antiquity save a few scrolls which the pagans brought with them on their way out.

much later, it became fashionable to be christian. the social elite had for the most part had been converted. most likely to avoid problems with the then now established christian religion and its leaders.

hypatia in the meantime, lived quietly and continued to philosophize about the movement of the heavens, juggling between the ptolemy system, which had the earth as the center of the universe and the other heavenly bodies revolving around it in perfect circles; and the aristacus? system which had the sun as its center and the other heavenly bodies
revovlving around it in perfect circles as well. but something did not match up with her observations and measurements. this goes against the established biblical teaching, that the world is flat.

after the pagans, the christians when after its other rivals, the jews otherwise known as the beginnings of anti semitism. and then the status of women.

when hypatia's former students (now a bishop and the other a prefect) implored her to convert to christianity or else. she said she couldn't because unlike the christian bishop who don't question his beliefs. she must hers. the essence of what it is to be freehinker.

rating: 5 out of 5

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