1. Houston, Texas
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    27 Jan '12 01:474 edits
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders converting to Christianity (many in name only for political convenience and power, and to avoid persecution from the Christians).

    I was wondering if the characterization of the Christians was accurate as violent and mobbish, mocking other religions, killing masses of Jewish men, women, and children with crude weapons, destroying the great library in Alexandria, reading scripture from Paul that women should be silent and submissive, and killing as a witch the famous female philosopher (astronomer, mathematician) Hypatia played by Rachel Weisz. (Sorry to give that last part away if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
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    27 Jan '12 02:02
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders c ...[text shortened]... way if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
    I haven't watched it yet...

    Typing SPOILER ALERT in bold across the top and/or in the subject line would be nice.


    And yes, it's probably accurate.
  3. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    27 Jan '12 11:13
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders c ...[text shortened]... way if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
    I thought the Alexandria Library was burnt down by Khalifa Omar. He is said to have proclaimed that, if the books contained material in aggrement with the Quoran, they were superfluous and needed to be burnt and if they contained material against the Quoran, they deserved to be burnt. By the way, Rachel Weisz is a jew ! Coincidence !
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    27 Jan '12 16:07
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders c ...[text shortened]... way if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
    Wrong!!

    The Tea Party was responsible for the fire. Just ask Nero.

    Geesh, the educations around here are pretty pathetic if you ask me.
  5. Houston, Texas
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    28 Jan '12 20:312 edits
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    I thought the Alexandria Library was burnt down by Khalifa Omar. He is said to have proclaimed that, if the books contained material in aggrement with the Quoran, they were superfluous and needed to be burnt and if they contained material against the Quoran, they deserved to be burnt. By the way, Rachel Weisz is a jew ! Coincidence !
    Interesting point. I don't know. The movie depicted the Christian mob ripping and burning the thousands of parchments/scrolls, and yelling that it was "pagan" crap.

    Supposedly, the Alexandria library was the last large collection of great science and philisophy in the world -- centuries of work. The library was a center of documenting and storing scientific and mathematical progress of humankind.

    An essence in the movie was that the Alexandria library was the last comprehensive collection, and if lost, would not be recoverable. The Christian authorities and mob didn't seem to place too much value on it, except to destroy it.
  6. Houston, Texas
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    28 Jan '12 20:36
    Originally posted by whodey
    Wrong!!

    The Tea Party was responsible for the fire. Just ask Nero.

    Geesh, the educations around here are pretty pathetic if you ask me.
    One line in the movie that stood out to me was the top Christian leader in Alexandria giving a speech after reading scripture from Paul that women should be silent and submissive, emphasized that there were no women amongst Jesus disciples.
  7. Houston, Texas
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    28 Jan '12 20:42
    Originally posted by whodey
    Wrong!!

    The Tea Party was responsible for the fire. Just ask Nero.

    Geesh, the educations around here are pretty pathetic if you ask me.
    I would agree that a Tea Party-like wing of the Christians incited the mocking and destructive behavior.
  8. Houston, Texas
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    28 Jan '12 20:43
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    By the way, Rachel Weisz is a jew !
    She is hot too.
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    28 Jan '12 21:03
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders c ...[text shortened]... way if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
    if the christians are depicted as burning down the library, the script writers took some poetic license. it is not known who or when the library burned down, what is known is that it was between 35BCE and 274AD which places the event before the christians gained political power in rome.
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    28 Jan '12 21:47
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I just watched the movie Agora (2009), which takes place in about 300 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. I was wondering how accurate the characterization of the Christians.

    The Christians were gaining power and taking over the city, especially in view of the weakening Roman empire and with Christianity no longer an outlawed religion, and with the Roman leaders c ...[text shortened]... way if you have not watched the movie and may watch it.)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
    I have not seen the film, Agora, and I cannot authoritatively tell whether it accurate or inaccurate. I have read reviews and altogether they are not very positive. On the topic of Hypatia, I will however just point out a few things. As it happens, in my university department, there has been scholarly interest in the story of Hypatia and her history is an interesting insight into racial and religious tensions of the fourth and fifth centuries.

    First, Hypatia since the Enlightenment been glamorised as a humanist saint, a martyr for science against superstition. It is important to recognise the historiographical biases of historians like Edward Gibbon. The period of the Enlightenment saw an increased interest in Hypatia because she was a symbol of reason over superstitious Christianity. Films like Agora could be just mislead into that historiographical bias.

    Second, the evidence is that Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city which contained an intellectual elite of Jews, Christians and various pagans. Hypatia corresponded with Christian bishops and it seems that there were no hostilities between them, only a shared interest in philosophy.

    Third, the circumstances of Hypatia's death are vary hazy. Essentially there are only two sources of information about her death, and the later is obviously relying primarily on the first. What we read in Socrates Scholasticus is that there was tension between Christians and Jews and in a period of political unrest a group of Christians attacked Hypatia and murdered her. Socrates suggests that it was because of rumour that she was inciting enmity between the governor and bishop that roused Christians against her. It is unlikely because of her Neo-Platonic doctrines, which were acceptable to her Christian theologian contemporaries.
  11. Houston, Texas
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    28 Jan '12 22:201 edit
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I have not seen the film, Agora, and I cannot authoritatively tell whether it accurate or inaccurate. I have read reviews and altogether they are not very positive. On the topic of Hypatia, I will however just point out a few things. As it happens, in my university department, there has been scholarly interest in the story of Hypatia and her history is an i f her Neo-Platonic doctrines, which were acceptable to her Christian theologian contemporaries.
    Thanks for the detailed response. That's interesting. I did notice in the movie that one of the powerful Christian bishops was initially a young student of Hypatia and admired and respected her, but in the end he still questioned the idea of a woman being influential or advising the Roman political leader (her former student), and concluding that maybe she placed a spell on men.

    I also noticed that the elite, whether of the Christians, pagans, Romans, or later the Jewish elite, all seemed to basically get along, were usually practical, and wanted order. Yet, mistakes by the Jews, pagans, and Romans, combined with the rising power of the Christians, and the vehemence of the Christian mob was just too much.

    As for reviews, 51% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes recommend Agora. Users give it a 7.1/10. The reasons I watched it is because I like both Rachael Weisz and historical movies. I wasn't expecting the cruel and mobbish behavior by the Christians, or the theme of the tension between science versus religious superstition. An excerpt of Ebert's review:

    BY ROGER EBERT / July 21, 2010

    I went to see "Agora" expecting an epic with swords, sandals and sex. I found swords and sandals, some unexpected opinions about sex, and a great deal more. This is a movie about ideas, a drama based on the ancient war between science and superstition. At its center is a woman who in the fourth century A.D. was a scientist, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer and teacher, respected in Egypt, although women were not expected to be any of those things.

    Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) was born into the family business. Her father Theon (Michael Lonsdale) was the curator of the Library of Alexandria, which had as its mission "collecting all the world's knowledge." Scholars traveled there from across the ancient world, doing research and donating manuscripts. It was destroyed by Christians in 391 A.D., and "Agora" takes place in the years surrounding that incalculable loss.

    The film's title refers to a name for the public assembly places in ancient Greek city-states. The library was such an agora, and we see Hypatia teaching a class of young men who listen to her with open admiration.

    There's an early indication that this won't be a routine "Troy"-like exercise in CGI action scenes: Hypatia actually does teach something, using the first scale model of planetary motion to deduce, centuries before Galileo, that the Earth cannot be the center of the universe.

    *****

    The film's director and co-writer, Alejandro Amenabar, re-creates the Alexandria of Hypatia's time with a mixture of sets and effects, showing it at the tipping point between Greek and Roman paganism and the new religion of Christianity. As she studies with and under her father, drawing from countless parchment scrolls in the library, in the city the Christians burn with a fearful intensity. Hypatia herself is not interested in religion; she feels passion only for her ideas.

    . . . warfare culminates in the destruction of the library. Hypatia races with her students to rescue armloads of scrolls, a few of which may literally have been responsible for our surviving texts from Aristotle and other Greeks.

    . . . After the rise of the Christians, the factions grow even more militant; one group wears black robes and searches streets for dissenters, heretics and Jews.

    ****

    That Hypatia was a genius seems beyond question. Her invention, the hydrometer, is being used in the Gulf at this moment to distinguish oil from water by their specific densities. Although "Agora" avoids the temptation to sneak in a romantic subplot, it gets mileage out of her character as a focus of emotional intrigue for her male students, who would have never seen a woman anything like her.


    The previews of the movie put much emphasis on the fact that Hypatia's slave is in love with her. And while important, the movie is more diverse.
  12. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    29 Jan '12 02:25
    Originally posted by moon1969
    Interesting point. I don't know. The movie depicted the Christian mob ripping and burning the thousands of parchments/scrolls, and yelling that it was "pagan" crap.

    Supposedly, the Alexandria library was the last large collection of great science and philisophy in the world -- centuries of work. The library was a center of documenting and storing sc ...[text shortened]... ristian authorities and mob didn't seem to place too much value on it, except to destroy it.
    I have googled this and it seems that the library was burnt down 3 times, once by romans, then by christians and lastly by Omar. So one can't say what actually happened.
  13. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    29 Jan '12 02:30
    Originally posted by moon1969
    She is hot too.
    Yes, indeed ! Have you seen her " enemy at the gates " ? Please do, you will like the movie and renew your ardour for Rachel.
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    29 Jan '12 03:31
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    I have googled this and it seems that the library was burnt down 3 times, once by romans, then by christians and lastly by Omar. So one can't say what actually happened.
    i doubt there was a library still standing by the time the muslims rolled around.
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    29 Jan '12 03:392 edits
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I would agree that a Tea Party-like wing of the Christians incited the mocking and destructive behavior.
    Let me guess, they are all women hating male conservative book burning Christian fundamentalists.

    I knew it!! 😠
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