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As MJ's resident Neoplatonist it was perhaps inevitable that I tackle the infamous fatal lynching of Hypatia (d. 415 CE).

I first encountered her story back in the early 1990s and was deeply impacted by it. She has become a heroine of mine.

Combining the beauty of Helen of Troy and the wisdom and piety of the lesser known Diotima (Plato, Symposium 201d-212b), Hypatia was a paragon of womanhood.

For any interested in reading about her beyond what can be found on Wikipedia, a recent and fairly solid scholarly source is:

Hypatia of Alexandria, by Maria Dzielska (Harvard University Press).

---I've personally researched the original source materials and do not fully embrace the author's conclusions; but it is still the best monograph in print.

This is an art/progressive rock song suite. the mid-section---consisting of three parts and featuring acoustic and electric guitars along with synthesized accordion, strings, cello, flute, and oboe---is a kind of musical summary of her story as I FEEL it.

I've never attempted anything quite like this before. Not entirely sure I pulled it off.

Thanks for listening!
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1st Movement: The Teacher

Long ago in Alexandria...
hub of knowledge in the ancient world;
chaste and beautiful;
brilliant as the Sun divine
was her mind.

She taught mathematics and philosophy.
Her students came from far and wide.
I can see her in my mind's eye,
standing straight and proud,
and pointing to a higher beauty.

You lit up the night.
The dignity of woman,
shining Oh so bright...

You could not foresee,
your death at the hands of
the denizens
of envy.

2nd Movement: Reflections

A) In the Shadow of the Church
B) The Teacher and Her Students
C) In the Hands of the Righteous

3rd Movement: The Martyr

Her teaching was so influential, but
her religion was suspect.
The guardians of superstition deemed her,
a force that must be checked.

They dragged you from your teaching post.
Stripped you naked in the street.
And for your beauty and intelligence,
reduced you to a bloody heap...

Down ages dark and long;
somehow the memory lingers,
of how you suffered wrong.

Your soul it did not die.
If you can hear me now
have pity,
on our ignorance...
Song Stats
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Uploaded: Jan 22, 2017 - 06:36:46 PM
Last Updated: Jan 22, 2017 - 06:36:46 PM Last Played: May 11, 2018 - 01:29:00 PM
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Dean acoustic guitar
Epiphone semi-hollow body electric guitar
Cort electric bass
cheapo keyboard as interface for Logic pro Synthesizer
Logic Pro x
Drums on Demand
Philip18 said 573 days ago (January 22nd, 2017)
Interesting concept driving this. I like the changes (love the tones of the guitars at 3:50 then at 4:50). The vocal from 5:30 has plenty of emotion in it. Powerful section from 6:50 introduced by those forceful strings. Impressive perfromance, Michael!
Check out my latest song called Refuge
Calchas said 573 days ago (January 22nd, 2017)
I was truly in over my head...
This is mix number 50-something... I had numerous timing issues, and a heck of a time with the bass and the drum fills. (My hair thinned considerably in the process of trying to mix this beast...)

Well, it's good to get this subject off my chest. The movie of several years back really obscured who she was and what she represented. I refused to see it. Hollywood screws everything up.

Anyway, as a Neoplatonist myself, I've tried to convey a kind of insider's view, based on my personal reading of sources from late antiquity.

There is a tremendous amount of sub-text herein. Some of it, of course, bound to be misunderstood. I love science and philosophy, and have no quarrel with religion. (Like the ancients, I regard impiety as the greatest of sins.)Only with those who abuse it at the expense of others.

Thanks for the kind words re the music. I'm still too close to it to be objective...

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
MarkHolbrook said 573 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
Found this haunting
The music alone... Beautiful... Your voice is smooth as chocolate milk!
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Calchas said 572 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
Hi'ya Mark!
Nice to see you here! Personally, I think my choco milk is slightly clotted in a couple of places! Ha ha...

Glad you enjoyed this little experiment. (Where's YVES when you need him!?!?)

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
VicDiesel said 573 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
Too short!
This is good stuff. What is there is well designed and well executed.

But for a good piece of prog rock I would expect somewhere a bit of high energy. Somewhere something is missing. Double tempo, histrionic vocals, screaming guitars, .... Right now nothing feels like the high point of the song to me.
Check out my latest song called Closing hour
Calchas said 572 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
PROG rock is too ambitious? I guess it's really more of an Art-rock ballad. Maybe even a species of folk-rock? I dunno. Genres can be problematic.

"Too short"! I know what you mean. Maybe someday, when and if the Muses are kindly so disposed, I can expand the rocky part of the mid-section. Knowing me, though, I'll probably just leave it be, and do an entirely different prog piece.

Thanks for the critical ear Vic. You keep me humble!

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
richard13 said 572 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
I'm impressed by the sheer ambition and audacity of attempting something like this Mike. It is operatic and very well done. It could easily be a section of a theatrical production. Thanks for introducing me to a person/event who obviously means a lot to you.

I also envy you your grandchildren ;-)
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
Calchas said 572 days ago (January 23rd, 2017)
Thanks Rich...
"audacity" may well be the best word choice! :-)

"operatic"---that I LIKE!

Thanks for the kind words!

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
KCsGROOVE said 571 days ago (January 24th, 2017)
a fine song
Has a very dreamy vibe, 60-s mood.
Cool sounding guitars.
excellent song!
enjoyed it!
Check out my latest song called MADE FOR ME (band version)
Calchas said 570 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
Thanks KC
I appreciate your stopping by.

Rock on!

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
mystrag said 571 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
I enjoyed this a lot. Has that authentic 60/70s art rock vibe. Must have been a lot of work, and I must say it was well worth it. Cheers.
Check out my latest song called Fuguelogue
Calchas said 570 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
Hi Jay...
It WAS more work than I'm used to. I do this for fun, and HYPATIA came perilously close to being just plain hard work... Glad you think it payed off.

Many thanks for listening and commenting.

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
PeterB7858 said 570 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
Great concept for a song. Classic understated acoustic prog intro. Fine story-telling. Love the Reflections section. Impressive guitaring on display. The time flew by. Lyrical and melodic. You reached for the sky with this and didn't burnt your wings, Mike. Super impressive. The time was worth it. Thanks!
Check out my latest song called The Parting Of The Ways
Calchas said 569 days ago (January 26th, 2017)
Thank you Peter...
I worked harder on this than I ever worked on any other song.

I may not have burned my wings...but I do believe they got slightly singed. (There's a faint odor of burnt feathers...)

I like the Reflections section best too.

Thanks for listening and commenting.

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Henke said 570 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
Your work paid off
Very impressive in many ways. Had to download to listen again... Sat working through the first listen but that instrumental piece in the middle caught my ears and I had to listen again more closely. And what can I say? Well done! An educational piece that is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to ;-)

Thanks and take care,
Check out my latest song called Summer (Promenade) (WIP)
Calchas said 569 days ago (January 26th, 2017)
Hi Henrik!
I don't want to be a one trick pony, so I try to venture off and so different things now and then.

Thanks for the thumbs up my friend!

Be well!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Vic Holman said 570 days ago (January 25th, 2017)
the grand finale!

much more refined Mike! I know how much you put into this with all the blood sweat & tears (probably mostly tears :-) )... it's pretty easy to say mission accomplished!
Check out my latest song called Feeding The Sharks
Calchas said 569 days ago (January 26th, 2017)
Thanks Vic...
Taming the beast was a chore, but I finally managed it. Calming those roaring left and right electric guitars and getting them into balance was tricky. And then there were the numerous timing issues... There were no tears though, just an occasional bout of colorful language! :-)

Thanks for the critical ear and tech advice bro!

Be well!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Daugrin said 569 days ago (January 26th, 2017)
Yer on the Moody's trip? Terrific singing! The filters were expertly applied... the guitar playing is spot on as well...
The baseline pushes the tune right along, yer quite a musician Mike. Be free!


Check out my latest song called canis et in cathedra inanis
Calchas said 568 days ago (January 27th, 2017)
Thanks Daug!
Good to see you here friend. Thought you'd forgotten all about me! Ha ha...

Many thanks for the kind words...

Be well!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Hickling_Stan said 567 days ago (January 28th, 2017)
Hi concept
Wow this was one that kept me enthralled to the end. Not only educated but entertained as well!! Beautiful instrumentation. Reminded me slightly of Aphrodite's Child. I salute your creativity on this epic. Cheers Mark
Check out my latest song called Crows in the Snow
Calchas said 561 days ago (February 3rd, 2017)
I've heard OF Aphrodite's Child
but have never listened to them. I'm curious now...

Anyway, I'm glad this held your attention. I worried about it being a tad long. I appreciate the salute friend!

Be well!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Warren Smith said 563 days ago (February 1st, 2017)
The Fate of Hypatia 1
Your excellent opus on Hypatia caused me to recall some reading I did on the subject, which I thought I would reproduce here. It from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Swerve,” by Stephan Greenblatt, which documents the rediscovery of Lucretius’s philosophic poem “On the Nature of Things.” Sorry about the length, but it does speak about things you are saying.

"In the early fourth century the emperor Constantine began the process whereby Rome’s official religion became Christianity. It was only a matter of time before a zealous successor—Theodosius the Great, beginning in 391 ce—issued edicts forbidding public sacrifices and closing major cultic sites. The state had embarked on the destruction of paganism.
In Alexandria, the spiritual leader of the Christian community, the patriarch Theophilus, heeded the edicts with a vengeance. At once contentious and ruthless, Theophilus unleashed mobs of Christian zealots who roamed through the streets insulting pagans. The pagans responded with predictable shock and anxiety, and tensions between the two communities rose. All that was needed was an appropriately charged incident for matters to be brought to a head, and the incident was not long in coming. Workmen renovating a Christian basilica found an underground sanctuary that still contained pagan cult objects (such a sanctuary—a shrine to Mithras—may be seen today in Rome, deep below the Basilica of S. Clemente). Seeing a chance to expose the secret symbols of pagan “mysteries” to public mockery, Theophilus ordered that the cult objects be paraded through the streets.
Pious pagans erupted in anger: “as though,” a contemporary Christian observer wryly noted, “they had drunk a chalice of serpents.” The enraged pagans violently attacked Christians and then withdrew behind the locked doors of the Serapeon. Armed with axes and hammers, a comparably frenzied Christian crowd burst into the shrine, overwhelmed its defenders, and smashed the celebrated marble, ivory, and gold statue of the god. Pieces were taken to different parts of the city to be destroyed; the headless, limbless trunk was dragged to the theater and publicly burned. Theophilus ordered monks to move into the precincts of the pagan temple, whose beautiful buildings would be converted into churches. Where the statue of Serapis had stood, the triumphant Christians would erect reliquaries holding the precious remains of Elijah and John the Baptist.
After the downfall of the Serapeon, a pagan poet, Palladas, expressed his mood of devastation:

Is it not true that we are dead, and living only in appearance,
We Hellenes, fallen on disaster,
Likening life to a dream, since we remain alive while
Our way of life is dead and gone?

The significance of the destruction, as Palladas understood, extended beyond the loss of the single cult image. Whether on this occasion mayhem reached the library is unknown. But libraries, museums, and schools are fragile institutions; they cannot long survive violent assaults. A way of life was dying.
A few years later, Theophilus’ successor as Christian patriarch, his nephew Cyril, expanded the scope of the attacks, directing pious wrath this time upon the Jews. Violent skirmishes broke out at the theater, in the streets, and in front of churches and synagogues. Jews taunted and threw stones at Christians; Christians broke into and plundered Jewish shops and homes. Emboldened by the arrival from the desert of five hundred monks who joined the already formidable Christian street mobs, Cyril demanded the expulsion of the city’s large Jewish population. Alexandria’s governor Orestes, a moderate Christian, refused, and this refusal was supported by the city’s pagan intellectual elite whose most distinguished representative was the influential and immensely learned Hypatia."

Check out my latest song called Looking-Glass War
Warren Smith said 563 days ago (February 1st, 2017)
The Fate of Hypatia 2
Hypatia was the daughter of a mathematician, one of the Museum’s famous scholars-in-residence. Legendarily beautiful as a young woman, she had become famous for her attainments in astronomy, music, mathematics, and philosophy. Students came from great distances to study the works of Plato and Aristotle under her tutelage. Such was her authority that other philosophers wrote to her and anxiously solicited her approval. “If you decree that I ought to publish my book,” wrote one such correspondent to Hypatia, “I will dedicate it to orators and philosophers together.” If, on the other hand, “it does not seem to you worthy,” the letter continues, “a close and profound darkness will overshadow it, and mankind will never hear it mentioned.”
Wrapped in the traditional philosopher’s cloak, called a tribon, and moving about the city in a chariot, Hypatia was one of Alexandria’s most visible public figures. Women in the ancient world often lived sequestered lives, but not she. “Such was her self-possession and ease of manner, arising from the refinement and cultivation of her mind,” writes a contemporary, “that she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates.” Her easy access to the ruling elite did not mean that she constantly meddled in politics. At the time of the earlier attacks on the cult images, she and her followers evidently held themselves aloof, telling themselves perhaps that the smashing of inanimate statues left intact what really mattered. But with the agitation against the Jews it must have become clear that the flames of fanaticism were not going to die down.
Hypatia’s support for Orestes’ refusal to expel the city’s Jewish population may help to explain what happened next. Rumors began to circulate that her absorption in astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy—so strange, after all, in a woman—was sinister: she must be a witch, practicing black magic. In March 415 the crowd, whipped into a frenzy by one of Cyril’s henchmen, erupted. Returning to her house, Hypatia was pulled from her chariot and taken to a church that was formerly a temple to the emperor. (The setting was no accident: it signified the transformation of paganism into the one true faith.) There, after she was stripped of her clothing, her skin was flayed off with broken bits of pottery. The mob then dragged her corpse outside the city walls and burned it. Their hero Cyril was eventually made a saint.
The murder of Hypatia signified more than the end of one remarkable person; it effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life and was the death knell for the whole intellectual tradition that underlay the text that Poggio [Lucretius "On the Nature of Things"] recovered so many centuries later. The Museum, with its dream of assembling all texts, all schools, all ideas, was no longer at the protected center of civil society. In the years that followed the library virtually ceased to be mentioned, as if its great collections, virtually the sum of classical culture, had vanished without a trace. They had almost certainly not disappeared all at once—such a momentous act of destruction would have been recorded. But if one asks, Where did all the books go? the answer lies not only in the quick work of the soldiers’ flames and the long, slow, secret labor of the bookworm. It lies, symbolically at least, in the fate of Hypatia."

Excerpt From: Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D. “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.” W. W. Norton & Company, 2011-09-15. iBooks.
Check out my latest song called Looking-Glass War
Calchas said 563 days ago (February 1st, 2017)
Thanks for providing this. Most of this I am aware of and agree with about 98% of it. (Greenblatt had his own agenda of course...) This will be helpful to the interested who might not have the time or resources to research the subject more in depth. Again, THANKS!

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Warren Smith said 562 days ago (February 2nd, 2017)
Book learning
Right. His primary thrust is to explore and document why Classical literature disappeared, which, of course, is an expansive subject. This just seemed like a great place to insert those observations - you know, in the name of Hypatia : )
Check out my latest song called Looking-Glass War
Narad said 563 days ago (February 1st, 2017)
Fabulous stuff ! I did a composition about her too :
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Calchas said 562 days ago (February 2nd, 2017)
Thanks for listening and commenting bro! I'm off to hear your take on our beloved Hypatia!

Be well!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Calchas said 562 days ago (February 2nd, 2017)
Your piece is quite beautiful...
I tried to leave a comment but am having password issues. As soon as I get them straightened out I will return for another listen and leave comments.
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Moviz said 557 days ago (February 7th, 2017)
I think
you excelled yourself here Mike, the lyrics, the vocal and the choice of instrumental sounds, are great and very apt to the stories mood. Guitar is so good sounding. To me this comes across as an operatic piece with three scenes; an excerpt from a bigger piece.........really well done my friend, regards M
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Calchas said 540 days ago (February 24th, 2017)
Thank you Maurice...
I had to work much harder than usual on this one. I'm glad folks think I managed to pull it off. The story is important to me and I wanted to give it the best delivery I possibly could with my current skill set.

Be well my friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
Doug Somers said 541 days ago (February 23rd, 2017)
The style takes me back to the early 70s and some of the creative prog that came out then. While the overall concept is very good, the mid section really shines. Powerful windup makes for a great listen. Thanks Michael.
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Calchas said 540 days ago (February 24th, 2017)
Ahh Doug!
So good to see your smiling face once again! I agree about the early 70s prog vibe. Thanks for the thumbs up on the mid-section. It's very encouraging coming from the likes of you!

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called NOTION [2.0]
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Name: Micheal Wark/WINDSOCK
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Been working hard to prepare an album's worth of music for a limited edition CD release. It will NOT be under the name Calchas (which is merely a convenient online persona) but under the name WINDSOCK. This symbolic moniker has connotations for m... [see more]

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Genre Info
Art rock is a sub-genre of rock music that is characterized by ambitious lyrical themes and melodic or rhythmic experimentation, often extending beyond standard pop song forms and toward influences in jazz, classical, or the avant-garde. The art rock

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