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After reading The Secret Magdalene last March, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer depth of the story she presented to me Not just the depth of the story, but also the beauty of her language, the solid composition of the book thrilled me Having read her latest novel, Flow Down Like Silver, Hypatia of Alexandria, I know that The Secret Magdalene was not a one time high This lady I m referring to the author now contains gold and I can only hope that she s given the perseverance and the time to share of her artistic wealth with us.As in The Secret Magdalene gnosis plays a major role in Flow Down Like Silver, although it is not as much on the surface as in Magdalene Silver relates the story of the last 24 years of the 4th 5th century scientist Hypatia of Alexandria, as told through the eyes of different characters We learn how Hypatia has grown up, as if she were a son to her father Being left with only daughters by his wife, who died in childbirth from the third child, he chooses Hypatia, the middle one, to follow in his footsteps as a teacher of mathematics, philosophy, science, music and so on Her older sister, Lais, is a mysterious and introvert character She seems to understand life, its meaning or is content with the fact that it just lacks all meaning There is something acquiescent about her She and Hypatia love each other very much, as the latter in the beginning of the book says my sister, precious than the beating of my own heart 2 Her younger sister, Jone, is not loved by her father In his eyes she caused the death of his wife and for this he ignores her and with that branding her for life She is the most tragic of the three sisters One of the main characters in the book, Minkah the Egyptian summarizes Hypatia is all mind, Lais all spirit, Jone all bodily emotion 40 The novel starts in the year 391 In Roman Egypt the new religion, christianity, is on the rise These christians are raiding the libraries of the city and are burning books that in their eyes are superfluous Throughout the story it becomes painfully clear that the actions of many so called christians have nothing whatsoever to do with the intentions of the one they claim to follow Jesus Lais is the neutral observer, free of judgment or any urge to evangelize her point of view But the young Hypatia is furious about the way the christians burn books Then Lais says this What they love is not this life , but the one that follows If you were they poor, ignorant, suffering, without privilege of any earthly kind, might you too not listen to this new faith which promises so much after death At this Hypatia marvels My sister is theodidactos God taught 12 13 This book is filled with allusions to or direct descriptions of alchemy even the Atalanta Fugiens appears very briefly , Hermes Trismegistus and all that goes up and comes down with gnosis The table Hypatia inherits from her mother made of stone as green as emeralds might be in fact the Emerald Tablet, that is said to reveal the secret of primordial substance and how life as we know it came into being In Magdalene the whole journey towards gnosis, is stronger interwoven into the story In Silver I find it is hidden between the lines, although hard to miss for an interested reader Lais knows gnosis, she intuitively knows THE ALL Hypatia has to make a long and arduous journey, but at an early age she understands the bliss that surrounds Lais I think if I desire anything, I desire this to know what Lais knows 20 Hypatia repeatedly asks herself who she is and what is her contribution to mankind.Occasionally the reader is confronted with the real background of the Christian faith and its rites and symbols with the cults of Mithras, Isis and Osiris and much that justifies the question of how original the christian faith is More than once does Hypatia question her contribution or her being I am only what I am, a thing of the mind questioning constantly all it sees and all it hears I believe nothing, not even what my senses assure me is so, for fear that by holding to one belief I lose the possibility of another 93 For Hypatia asking questions is a way of life, a way to constantly checking if her reality is still her home It is the way of the scientist that is continuously seeking proof of what his senses tell him After a discussion on religion with a christian she realizes One who believes is like a lover he would hear nothing ill of his beloved 97 Or later on I ask christians where are your questions Where are your great doubters, those who lead us all to discovery 157 During a visit to Constantinople, Hypatia shows courage by questioning Atticus, the Bishop of this Byzantine capital As he rambles on about the low place the woman has, Hypatia speaks up to hear the ignorant speak out with authority is a great evil You repeat what you have heard You question nothing You expect no one to question you 215 Again I underlined very much in this books Sentences that struck me as pure poetry a man whose brain would not threaten a cow 227 , parts that delivered me insight or that rare shock of recognition As shown above, there is a lot of questioning about the christian faith One of the things that I for instance have always wondered about is the strong rules that Islam, or Jewry, or Christianity enforce regarding the human body The many dietary rules, the cloaking of the female body to extremes, circumcision Ki Longfellow lets Hypatia say it thus If God created the world and all that is in the world, how then can anything made by His Hand be impure 110 A very just question.Hypatia has hidden many of the forbidden books, that she saved from the raiding and arsonist christians, in a cave in the desert After the early death of her beloved sister Lais, her poetry is added to this secret library Later on Hypatia comes across Gnostic gospels that had lain hidden under an old temple for hundreds of years This find, with the gospel of Mary Magdalene among them, prompts Hypatia to write her own path to glory The book of Impossible Truth Names that we know from Magdalene come forth, like Seth of Damascus And once again the subjection of women is condemned strongly man has come to fear woman s sexual power before which he is helpless, so turns it back on her, making her the one who is helpless 232 At the very end of her life when it has become clear to her that the end of science and therewith of her part in the world of her time is very near she hides these books in the same cave The Nag Hammadi Scrolls that were found in 1945, are located about 350 miles to the south of Alexandria Wouldn t it be wonderful to believe that there is still a place somewhere near Alexandria, where in a cave are many jars containing not only Gnostic gospels, but also many of the lost books from the ancient library of Alexandria It is a long walk through the cave, and she loses her way Lost in the utter darkness she realizes that this may very well be the end It is one of the most impressive parts of the novel, filled with highly insightful phrases Again Hypatia wonders what the meaning of her life is What did it serve All I have done is learn only to learn this one last true thing I know nothing 281 Even though this truth breaks her heart, she gradually accepts this She undergoes the alchemical process of death and being reborn I am snatched away from me and suddenly I fall out of myself, and then I fall into myself completely 282 In this scene she finally finds gnosis It is one of the most beautiful and pieces of prose I ve ever read on the core of gnosis, and coming very close to finally catching this what is beyond words in words nevertheless The reader who knows, can almost feel the transition.Incredibly beautiful also are the final words of Minkah the Egyptian, when he s on the verge of his death He is the great love in life of Hypatia and she is his I ll not repeat them here, for I ve quoted than enough from this superb novel The best review would be to hand over the book itself and urge the receiver to please, please, read it Ki Longfellow is working on the sequel of The Secret Magdalene With every book she publishes it becomes clear to me that she is one of my favourite authors To all you questioners, searchers and lovers of beauty in words out there please, please, read Flow down Like Silver, Hypatia of Alexandria 4 and a half stars, rounded up.Knowing how much I love classical history, my darling husband suggested we watch Agora , a fictionalized account of the life of Hypatia of Alexandria, who was once the most famous mathematician of the Roman Empire poor thing, he had no idea what he was getting into That sounded fascinating to me, and the movie was beautifully shot and acted But then Then there was a scene when the Library of Alexandria is stormed by fanatics Christians and they burn everything down as Hypatia, her students and her father try to save the books I stopped the DVD and I cried for almost half an hour I cried because of the ignorance and fanaticism that bred that violence and destruction I cried for all the lost knowledge that we will never get back I cried because sometimes I m afraid something like this is going to happen again.I could never bring myself to finish the movie, but I looked for books on Hypatia because I found her story incredibly interesting, inspiring and tragic.The book opens with the same scene that broke my heart in the movie people burning books while other people desperately try to save them It follows the life of Hypatia from that horrific day to her equally horrifying death, at the hand of a mob of mad Christians.The story is told from the points of view of Hypatia herself, Minkah, a man who followed her father for his own mysterious purpose, and Jone, Hypatia s young sister Longfellow has given each of them a unique voice and perspective on this tumultuous period of the Roman Empire s history Alexandria was the unofficial center of the learned world people from all over the known world went there for the mathematicians and philosophers But Christianity was getting a strong traction, and some sects insisted that learning was not as important as believing, and that too much education could ruin faith if it was subversive or demonic Through the characters voices, this opposition between critical thinking and faith is explored, but also how the two can complement each other when there is true curiosity of mind and honesty.What makes this book so interesting is the richness of the ideas that Hypatia and Minkah brew in their minds as they tell the reader what is going on The characters are well constructed, and they have amazing thoughts Hypatia, quite simply, wants to understand everything she comes into contact with She sees learning as a treasure, and her inquisitive and logical mind can t grasp why people would reject that to preach a way of life based on things she sees to be objectively false She does not want to judge them, she wants to know how their minds do this trick of following something that can so easily be shown to make no sense Eventually, her only weapon against this threat to everything she holds dear is to be the most brilliant teacher of the city, in the hopes that some who come to her lecture will start thinking Minkah s original goal is foiled by this very brilliance, when he begins to fall in love with Hypatia, not because she is beautiful, but because she sees the world so differently from everyone else, and can talk about it so eloquently Jone s chapters are heartbreaking her mother died birthing her, and it is made clear right off the bat that her father Theon holds this against her and has no love for her When she becomes a Christian, it is partly out of faith and partly because she knows it is what will hurt her family the most and every step she takes afterwards is dictated by this resentment and anger.I loved the reflection on the idea that faith deprived of thinking becomes bigotry, of intellectual laziness as a slow acting poison that destroys otherwise good people And while not Christian myself, I appreciated that the book is clearly taking a stance against fanatics, bigots and power hungry psychos, and not against Christianity itself In fact, the Gnostic gospels are frequently mentioned as texts of great interest to pagan philosophers and scientists Hypatia develops what I would call an almost Zen understanding of the universe after reading some of them, and seeing how some of their ideas complement what astronomy and mathematics taught her about the universe.I m always on my guard when I pick up historical fiction about the bad ass women of history that I admire so much most writers don t want to write about their accomplishments, they are usually just interested in writing who they fell in love with and slept with This book does a great job of showing the attraction between Hypatia and Minkah without ever putting it at the center of the plot It s a thing, sure, but it s not what drives the story forward There is much to them than romance.A very good book, for ancient history buffs, feminists and people who love to think and learn and read It made me want to dig up all my ancient classics, such as Herodotus, Cicero and Plutarch. More of the rich storytelling and compelling research that Ki Longfellow brought to her previous book, The Secret Magdalene Unlike Magdalene , Flow Down Like Silver is told through, not one, but several 1st person witnesses Hypatia herself, plus intimates and acquaintances of the legendary mathematician philosopher during the latter half of her life This approach tempers a bit of the reader s emotional empathy for the principal character, offering in its place the intimate perceptions of several who came within her sphere of influence This parallels our own awareness of the historical Hypatia we know of her only through references in writings of her contemporaries Hypatia is portrayed as a lovely and guileless intellectual with a streak of heroic stubbornness Her existential example of a life lived with integrity and authenticity provokes equal parts admiration and fear in those who encounter her.5th century Alexandria becomes as much a character in this tale as any one individual, much as 1st century Palestine came so alive in The Secret Magdalene The principal conflict between the tolerant, intellectual, even skeptical, agnosticism represented by Hypatia, and the reactionary intolerance of the disenfranchised yet rising Christian sects offers obvious and troubling parallels with today s world.The story leaves us with the intriguing possibility and for me, a fervent hope that Hypatia s own writings, and perhaps books of the once great Library, are waiting somewhere under the Egyptian desert to one day be recovered. There s not much out there about Hypatia of Alexandria and what there is isn t world class Kind of understandable considering what s left of her work and her life But reading this novel, got me as close to her as I ever expect to get This is a wonderful book and though it might differ from the scanty research done by perhaps dubious scholars, I get the feeling that the rational and emotional jumps made by Longfellow are Hypatia than any dry biased account could ever be I m also annoyed that anyone uses the Suda as a source for this extraordinary woman s life The Suda was written a long time after Hypatia was killed and in a time whose conventions were nothing like Hypatia s yet these conventions are applied to her Celibacy for example Celibacy in the Western World was a convenience urged by the Catholic Church for its own purposes, none of them laudable Hypatia was no Christian and would never have been bound by the Christian dislike of the body and nature Flow Down Like Silver also delves into the alchemical which was surely part of Hypatia s world just as mathematics was Longfellow s clever assumptions based on common sense and a strong mystical understanding far surpasses the Suda And then there s her superb storytelling and her delicious writing Why don t libraries have this book ( EBOOK ) ♫ Flow Down Like Silver ☢ Ki Longfellow, Author Of The Acclaimed The Secret Magdalene, Has Now Written The Astonishing Life Of Hypatia, Famed Throughout The Mediterranean World, A Beauty And A Genius, Yet For Centuries Ignored By History As The Roman Empire Fights For Its Life And Emerging Christianity Fights For Our Souls, Hypatia Is The Last Great Voice Of Reason A Woman Of Sublime Intelligence, Hypatia Ranks Above Not Only All Women, But All Men Hypatia Dazzled The World With Her Brilliance, Was Courted By Men Of Every Persuasion And Was Considered The Leading Philosopher And Mathematician Of Her Ageyet Her Mathematics, Her Inventions, The Very Story Of Her Life In All Its Epic And Dramatic Intensity, Has Gone Untold A Heart Breaking Love Story, An Heroic Struggle Against Intolerance, A Tragedy And A Triumph, Hypatia Walks Through These Pages Fully Realized While All Around Her Egypt S Alexandria, The New York City Of Its Day, Strives To Remain A Beacon Of Light In A Darkening World Ever since I finished The Secret Magdalene, I ve been waiting for the second in this writer s trilogy of the Divine Feminine The Secret Magdalene stunned me It took me places few books go So obviously I was one of the first to get this book and to read it, or at least the first to review it here author Ki Longfellow s first book was about Mary Magdalene, but not the Magdalene who s been so abused for so long Flow Down Like Silver takes place 350 years later in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, the very city Longfellow s Magdalene spent her youth in, practicing the ancient Passion of Osiris There was no Christianity in her day, but by the time Hypatia lived Christianity existed side by side with the old faiths and ancient mystery teachings In cities all over the Roman world the struggle was on between them for the human soul Before Christianity all these teachings tolerated each other But the new faith tolerated nothing but itself Hypatia of Alexandria was the last and greatest teacher of philosophy and the mystery schools She was the last and greatest mathematician She was and lovely and men sought her out from all over the known world for her learning and her beauty As a pagan which is a Christian term that is not used as a compliment , she was unashamed of her body and used it as she alone decreed She valued her own mind, never taking anything on faith She was almost modern in her sense of self and her freedom from males But the time was coming when a woman like Hypatia would no longer be tolerated in the new world fashioned by a new faith This wonderful book makes us see a world and a woman we should never have forgotten In the last few pages of this truly gripping book, I admit it, I cried To think there would be nothing like her until 14 centuries later when Newton took up mathematics where Hypatia so abruptly left off I knew I would love the writing Longfellow writes gorgeous lyrical prose But I d never heard of Hypatia Now that I have, I honor her as much as those who once honored her while she lived And there is a very strong connection here to Mary Magdalene, one that surprised and delighted me Highly recommended Another beautiful book And I loved the cover. Hypatia lived sixteen centuries ago This was a woman who should be better known and much better respected than Cleopatra and certainly Nefertiti She was a genius and a beauty and the last great teacher of what we call Paganism in all that was left of the Great Library of Alexandria I grabbed this book as soon as I knew the subject, but I would have read it eaqerly anyway since I was changed by Longfellow s The Secret Magdalene A Novel than a read, an experience And here she s done it again I don t know if Longfellow is a great writer though her writing is beautiful but I do know she writes of the most important things an artist can tackle Our deep longing for the personal Divine. Another wonderful book from Longfellow who wrote The Secret Magdalene A Novel This one is set in the 4th and 5th century in Alexandria Egypt when Christianity is the state religion of Rome But all over the Empire Hellenists still teach and ancient religions still compete for the minds of the people Hypatia of Alexandria was one of the last of the great early mathematicians and hilosophers with complete access to what still remained of the Great Library of Alexandria This is a fast racy tale of courage and ultimate tragedy, but with the same underlying profundity of Longfellow s Magdalene The story is not as well known, in fact it s barely known at all But it should be and I, for one, am so pleased that Longfellow in particular took it on It s a huge story deserving of a huge audience and has everything a reader of historical fiction could want As for those who love good writing and philosophy beautifully told, this is here too. I saw the movie Agora and even though it wasn t quite the best movie I ve seen, I became fascinated by the lead character, Hypatia of Alexandria So I went looking for a book about her and this is what I found Finding this book alone was worth sitting through the overlong Agora I don t know my history but it seems the writer does, and the way she presents it is so alive The book s vitality crackles The city, the huge conflict as the Christian church seeks to dominate all minds, the disintigration of Rome at least the Rome of the west , and the last of the free and tolerant early mystery teachingsexemplified by a magnificent woman called Hypatia I was engrossed from first page to last This is one of my keepers Now to find anything else Longfellow has written. I m a bit of a history buff and there are some writers who can really deliver This writer is my latest discovery The world in which she sets her characters blazes under the sun of the last gasp of Egypt, the characters themselves quiver with conflicted life I ve heard of Hypatia, so much so that she d become one of my heroes And I ve been frustrated that she isn t as well known as Joan of Arc But the Church has conspired to bury her, and they ve done a pretty good job of it But if this book were to get out, to get read, a great many women would find the very female they re looking for to hold up as a shining example, to inspire them, to be in awe of and emulate Hypatia was a real one off in a time of grinding change and the suppression of everything she valued And we should value Men and Women Freedom of thought, of belief, of questioning, of learning A genius, a free woman, a beauty Longfellow paints her portrait as well as anyone could I treasure this book.