|Robert -- Just to let you know, I got THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY by Socrates Scholasticus and read the relevant sections, before, during and after Hypatia. In fact, I read a bit more... |
The book is available on Google Books. I like the real thing.
Anyway, it is as you say, a brief and secular account in which Cyril himself is not to blame for inciting the crowd, but one of his self-appointed mobsters, Peter.
Socrates does allow that Hypatia's "influence" with Orestes -- who was himself struck by a stone thrown during a mobbing earlier -- was a barrier to Cyril's political goals.
But there is not much more, the entire account running about 250 words.
So, what we have, pretty much, is like the much-touted 300, a movie about a time and place in which the director and the audience bring themselves to a historical event. In a sense, it is art, not history.
Similarly -- and differently -- how many versions of the Gunfight at the OK Corral have you seen? I don't know if the Clantons will ever come out well, but you never know ...
Interpretations of the past are always about the present. We will have to judge the movie on its own terms, as always.
The narrative of Socrates Scholasticus is contemporary, more or less. He was born perhaps in 380 CE and his tutors were men who had come to Constantinople from Alexandria when the pagan temples there were torn down. Also, the narrative about Hypatia is believable specifically because it does not contain any mention of demons, spirits, angels or miracles, all of which run through the history as if physically real.