Church historian; b. c. 380 (Constantinople), d. c. 450.
Knowledge about the life of Socrates Scholasticus comes exclusively from his work Historia Ecclesiastica (Church History), which is, however, one of the most reliable works of historical writing. According to v. XXIV 9 of this work he was educated by two Greek grammarians, Helladius and Ammonius Grammaticus, who had been Egyptian priests in Alexandria but had to flee to Constantinople after an attack upon the temples by Christians in 390.
Socrates himself converted to Christianity and became a legal consultant. He began to write a history of the years 305-439. It was organized as a history of the Church, but as its author was a layperson with a non-Christian upbringing, his writing was relatively impartial and often critical of events.
The Historia Ecclesiastica is an outstandingly scholarly work and an indispensible source of information for historians. It quotes earlier sources verbatim and with accurate reference. Wherever possible it includes original documents, such as proeceedings from meetings and letters from emperors and bishops, and tries to support its observations by eyewitness accounts.
"There was a woman in Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time.
Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions.
On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her more.
Yet even she fell victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled with the bishop.
Some of them, therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles" [i.e. cut her with broken tiles]. After tearing her body in pieces, they took the mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.
This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius."