The new, updated and expanded edition of Hypatia. The True Story (the title of which, intentionally provocative, relates to the contemporary historiographical notion of “false” or “fake history”, as does the overall conceptual and methodological treatment of the book itself), reconstructs both Hypatia's existential and intellectual story, and her modern Nachleben. Truth is that Hypatia has never experienced such an explosion of interest as it has over the decade elapsed between its first and second edition, from scholarly articles to fiction to hybrid contributions that combine both. Although such proliferation of opinions about Hypatia is an interesting, important phenomenon, it has also made her story even less clear. Hypatia. The True Story re-examines the ancient sources and their interpretations of Hypatia’s cold case, evaluating their reliability, and considering them testimonies of a process of distortion and transformation of the facts that was already underway, as well as future developments that they would trigger. The volume’s purpose is to clear the confessional and historiographical prejudices of literary and popular legends, and to correct mistakes caused by ideological infiltrations or, more simply, by an inability to read and interpret ancient texts with historical and philological proficiency. This put out a two-fold challenge: on the one hand, to collect, along with the witnesses of Hypatia’s contemporaries, all of the subsequent versions of her story, and to analyze all of the opinions put forward by modern scholarship, including the most recent ones; on the other hand, to clarify their subject matter and provide facts, in many cases, to counteract fantasy-based arguments or outright mistakes. Furthermore, this volume aims to address a double audience: the broader one of non-specialists and the narrower one of scholars. To this end, each chapter is followed by an Appendix printed in a smaller font, but of a length equal to that of the main text. This part of the work includes the references regarding the main text plus various detailed additions, materials, and comments . Thus, to the main text, as many chapters have been added, whose dossier of information on various aspects addressed in the previous section is as extensive, or even more extensive than the plain narrative. Throughout these Appendices, the historical debate has not only been documented, but also autonomous, significant topics for reflection have been presented, which would, however, have weighed down the main narrative. Such sections are not to be considered as the infamous ceiling-high skirting board of footnotes. The fact that they are often longer than the main narrative is a natural consequence of the three steps of dialectics: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The final result can only be reached by comparing the first two, regardless of how they were formulated in the multitude of arguments and conflicts between scholars. The Appendix of sources, contradictions, thoughts, doubts, additional news, themes and objects for reflection excluded by the need for synthesis from the main narrative, but no less interesting or ‘useful to the truth’, is an integral part of this work. In a way, the Hypatia story proposed here is told in two parallel, intertwined books. And, in the author’s opinion, this is in fact the only possible way to tell any story, or write any history, truthfully.
Ronchey, S. (2023). Hypatia. The True Story, 2nd revised edition. Berlino, Boston : Walter de Gruyter.