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philosophy and piety to the gods were compelled to retire into secret places, and to dwell in contented poverty and dignified meanness of appearance. The temples were turned into tombs for the adoration of the bones of the basest and most depraved of men, who had suffered the penalty of the law, and whom they made their gods.”
Such was the end of the Serapion. Its destruction stands forth a token to all ages of the state of the times.
In a few years after this memorable event the Archbishop Theophilus had gone to his account. His throne was occupied by his nephew, St. Cyril, who had been expressly prepared for that holy and respon
St. Cyril. sible office by a residence of five years among the monks of Nitria. He had been presented to the fastidious Alexandrians with due precauiions, and by them acknowledged to be an effective and fashionable preacher. His pagan opponents, however, asserted that the clapping of hands and encores bestowed on the more elaborate passages of his sermons were performed by persons duly arranged in the congregation, and paid for their trouble. If doubt remains as to his intellectual endowments, there can be none respecting the qualities of his heart. The three parties into which the population of the city was divided -Christian, Heathen, and Jewish-kept up a perpetual disorder by their disputes. Of the last it is said that the number was not less than forty thousand. The episcopate itself had become much less a religious than an important civil office, exercising a direct municipal control throngh the Parabolani, which, under the disguise of city missionaries, whose duty it was to seek out the sick and destiture, constituted in reality a constabulary force, or rather actually a militia. The unscrupulous manner in which Cyril made use of this force, diverting it from Deter its ostensible purpose, is indicated by the fact supremacy in that the emperor was obliged eventually to take Alexa the appointments to it out of the archbishop's hands, and reduce the number to five or six hundred. Some local circumstances had increased the animosity between the Jews and the Christians, and riots had taken Riots in that place between them in the theatre. These were city. followed by more serious conflicts in the streets ; and the
Jews, for the moment having the advantage over their antagonists, ontraged and massacred them. however, but for a moment; for, the Christians arousing themselves under the inspirations of Cyril, a mob sacked the synagogues, pillaged the houses of the Jews, and endeavoured to expel those offenders out of the city. The prefect Orestes was compelled to interfere to stop the riot; but the archbishop was not so easily disposed of. His old associates, the Nitrian monks, now justified the prophetic forecast of Theophilus. Five hundred of those fanatics swarmed into the town from the desert. The prefect himself was assaulted, and wounded in the head by a stone thrown by Ammonius, one of them. The more respectable citizens, alarmed at the turn things were taking, interfered, and Ammonius, being seized, suffered death at the hands of the lictor. Cyril, undismayed, cansed his body to be transported to the Cæsareum, laid there in state, and buried with unusual honours. He directed that the name of the fallen zealot should be changed from Ammonius to Thaumasius, or “the Wonderful," and the holy martyr received the honours of canonization.
In these troubles there can be no doubt that the pagans sympathized with the Jews, and therefore drew upon themselves the vengeance of Cyril. Among the culti
vators of Platonic philosophy whom the times Hypatia.
had spared, there was a beautiful young woman, Hypatia, the daughter of Theon the mathematician, who not only distinguished herself by her expositions of the Neo-Platonic and Peripatetic doctrines, but was also honoured for the ability with which she commented on the writings of Apollonius and other geometers. Every day before her door stood a long train of chariots ; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. Her aristocratic audiences were more than a rival to those attending upon the preaching of the archbishop, and perhaps contemptuous comparisons were instituted between the philosophical lectures of Hypatia and the incomprehensible sermons of Cyril. But if the archbishop had not philosophy, he had what on such occasions is more valuable-power. It was not to be borne that a heathen sorceress should thus divide such a metropolis with a prelate; it was not to be borne that the rich, and noble, and young should thus be carried off by the black arts of a diabolical enchantress. Alexandria was too fair a prize to be lightly surrendered. It could vie with The city of Constantinople itself. Into its stree's, from the Alexandria. yellow sand-hills of the desert, long trains of camels and countless boats brought the abundant harvests of the Nile. A ship-canal connected the harbour of Eunostos with Lake Mareotis. The harbour was a forest of masts. Seaward, looking over the blue Mediterranean, was the great lighthouse, the Pharos, counted as one of the wonders of tho world; and to protect the shipping from the north wind there was a mole three quarters of a mile in length, with its drawbridges, a marvel of the skill of the Macedonian engineers. Two great streets crossed each other at right angles-one was three, the other one mile long. In the square where they intersected stood the mausoleum in which rested the body of Alexander. The city was full of noble edifices--the palace, the exchange, the Cæsareum, the halls of justice. Among the temples, those of Pan and Neptune were conspicuous. The visitor passed countless theatres, churches, temples, synagogues. There was a time before Theophilus when the Serapion might have been approached on one side by a slope for carriages, on the other by a flight of a hundred marble steps. On ihese stood the grand portico with its columns, its chequered corridor leading round a roofless hall, the adjoining porches of which contained the library, and from the midst of its area arose a lofty pillar visible afar off at
On one side of the town were the royal docks, on the other the Hippodrome, and on appropriate sites the Necropolis, the market-places, the gymnasium, its stoa being a stadium long; the amphitheatre, groves, gardens, fountains, obelisks, and countless public buildings with gilded roofs glittering in the sun. Here might be seen the wealthy Christian ladies walking in the streets, their dresses embroidered with Scripture parables, the Gospels hanging from their necks by a golden chain, Maltese dogs with jewelled collars frisking round them, and slaves with parasols and fans trooping along. There might be seen the ever-trading, ever-thriving Jew, fresh from the
wharves, or busy negotiating his loans. But, worst of all, the chariots with giddy or thoughtful pagans hastening to the academy of Hypatia, to hear those questions discussed which have never yet been answered, “ Where am I?” “ What am I ?” “ What can I know ?”—to hear discourses on antenatal existence, or, as the vulgar asserted, to find out the future by the aid of the black art, soothsaying by Chaldee talismans engraved on precious stones, by incantations with a glass and water, by moonshine on the walls, by the magic mirror, the reflection of a sapphire, a sieve, or cymbals; fortune-telling by the veins of the hand, or consultations with the stars.
Cyril at length determined to remove this great re proach, and overturn what now appeared to be the only obstacle in his way to uncontrolled authority in the city. We are reaching one of those moments in which great general principles embody themselves in individuals. It is Greek philosophy under the appropriate form of Hypatia; ecclesiastical ambition under that of Cyril.
of Their destinies are about to be fulfilled. As Hypatia by Hypatia comes forth to her academy, she is Cyril. assaulted by Cyril's mobếan Alexandrian mob of many monks. Amid the fearful yelling of these barelegged and black-cowled fiends she is dragged from her chariot, and in the public street stripped naked. In her mortal terror she is haled into an adjacent church, and in that sacred edifice is killed by the club of Peter the Reader. It is not always in the power of him who has stirred up the worst passions of a fanatical mob to stop iheir excesses when his purpose is accomplished. With the blow given by Peter the aim of Cyril was reached, but his merciless adherents had not glutted their vengeance. They outraged the naked corpse, dismembered it, and incredible to be said, finished their infernal crime by scraping the flesh from the bones with oyster-shells, and casting the remnants into the fire. Though in his privacy St. Cyril and his friends might laugh at the end of his antagonist, his memory must bear the weight of the righteous indignation of posterity.
I'hus, in the 414th year of our era, the position of philo sophy in the intellectual metropolis of the world was
determined; henceforth science must sink into obscurity and subordination. Its public existence will no
Suppression o longer be tolerated. Indeed, it may be said that Alexandrian from this period for some centuries it altogether disappeared. The leaden mace of bigotry had struck and shivered the exquisitely tempered steel of Greek philosophy. Cyril's acts passed unquestioned. It was now ascertained that throughout the Roman world there must be no more liberty of thought. It had been said that these events prove Greek philosophy to have been a sham, and, like other shams, it was driven out of the world when detected and that it could not withstand the truth. Such assertions might answer their purposes very well, so long as the victors maintained their power in Alexandria, but they manifestly are of inconvenient application after the Saracens had captured the city. However this may be, an intellectual stagnation settled upon the place, an invisible atmosphere of oppression, ready to crush down, morally and physically, whatever provoked its weight. And so for the next two dreary and weary centuries things remained, until oppression and force were ended by a foreign invader. It was well for the world that the Arabian conquerors avowed their true argument, the scimitar, and made no pretens ons to superhuman wisdom. They were thus left free to pursue knowledge without involving themselves in theological contradictions, and were able to make Egypt once more illustrious amung the nations of the earth--to snatch it from the hideous fanaticism, ignorance, and barbarism into which it had been plunged. On the shore of the Red Sea once more a degree of the earth's surface was to be measured, and her size 'ascertainedbut by a Mohammedan astronomer. In Alexandria the memory of the illustrious old times was to be recalled by the discovery of the motion of the sun's apogee by Albategnius, and the third inequality of the moon, the variation, by Aboul Wefa ; to be discovered six centuries later in Europe by Tycho Brahe. The canal of the Pharaohs from the Nile to the Red Sea, cleared out by the Ptolemies in former ages, was to be cleared from its sand again. The glad desert listened once more to the cheerful cry of the merchant camel-driver instead of the midnight prayer of the monk.