As one of the most attention-grabbing figures from antiquity, the necessity for further biographical scrutiny of Hypatia of Alexandria is a question that demands consideration before even opening this slim and handsome volume. But Edward Watts’ balanced and mature study of the female philosopher and mathematician firmly dispels any such reservations. With a clarity and consistency that is the welcome trademark of his scholarship, Watts makes a valuable contribution to the critical reception of Hypatia.

Watts's approach is admirably systematic, taking the reader by the hand in the opening chapter (“Alexandria”) and building a picture of the late-antique city to contextualise the broadly chronological approach to Hypatia's life that follows. Chapter...

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