The Last Alexandrian Mathematician

mathematical introduction to philosophy
includes understanding of the division of objects
to discrete and continuous

say, lions act separately, each at its own
the same for a philosopher finding a way
through inexplicable
whereas a mob is the whole body with a singular mind
provided the mob has mind and conscience

hence the division of mathematics into arithmetic
geometry, harmonia and spherica and discussion
of the significance of these subjects for the philosophy study

she taught Platonic philosophy in Alexandria
wrote commentaries to Diophantus and Apollonius
not a lion herself against early Christian martyrs
vice versa
in her name one can hear a hint for a horse:
hippo – Hypatia

arithmetic is the first of them all for it was conceived
by the demiurge as a cosmic model and exemplary design
for all things and sciences
creator relied to it to produce
and arrange everything else to perfection

perfect order and desire for scientific knowledge
was lost to her time
the library once famous for its collection
was desolated near to chaos
Hypatia worked in the only remaining
library at the Serapis temple

at the same time it is the last and the final
because not other science without arithmetic is possible
with its disappearance they all disappear
while it remains even after their loss

they came from nowhere
they came from rough desert
radicals and fanatics
led by a lector named Peter
called to the city by the bishop named Cyril
they thought her being a witch
huge number of them on one wise old woman

the objects mathematics studied
are ideal and at the same time material
because they are meditated in the ideal world
also existing real and forever in the material one

they pulled her out of a cartage
dragged her by a street to an old pagan temple
converted into a church
and murdered her violently
as if she was the greatest villain
as if they were shearing a sheep

the number is the ordered basis of everything
number one is the beginning, the root, seed and mother of all
numbers, odd and even, prime and compound, perfect, friendly
figured: triangular, polygonal, pyramidal, plane and in volume ones

her death shocked the empire
the last library was destroyed
philosophers turned away from the church
Alexandrian sciences finished there

ascending from perceived things to eternal and unchanging ideals
comprehensible only through reasoning
one climbs the stairs from the corporal feelings to high soul and mind
the rational part of the soul instructs its unreasonable part
binds straight impulses and attracts the soul to the eternal identity
this is the goal and virtue for a rational man
and a woman

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya


Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya was born in former Soviet Union and moved to Australia in 2002. She is an author of a great number of publications in Russian. Her texts in English appeared in The POEM; Rochford Street Review, The Esthetic Apostle, Cagibi, etc. Tatiana is also an exhibiting visual artist.

© 2019