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The film Agora follows the philosopher Hypatia, a historical person portrayed in the film, through the process of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire near the end of the fourth century AD. It also follows a central cast of character who surround Hypatia, and her school in Alexandria, through this tumultuous time period.The film consciously inverts the understanding of religion that we have in Western society today, where the Christians are dominant and other religions are more in the minority. In this film, Christians are the minority religion, though growing quickly and set to replace Pagans as the most powerful religion in the Roman Empire, but much of the state is still in the control of the Pagans. Hypatia and those around her get into frequent conflict with the Christians, including at one point being mobbed by a group of them during conflict over the teaching and interpretation of science. The Christians then go on to vandalize a library, one of the first assaults on science in the film. Hypatia frequently refuses to bow to demands that she stops studying sciences, which end up in her getting persecuted, and eventually stoned (though she is mercifully killed before the stoning by a good friend of hers, who strangles her). Hypatia was a scientist who taught at a platonic school that taught the most powerful people in the Empire. She had a love of science that rivaled almost anything else. She began the film as a highly respected person of a relatively high cast of society – her father was an important person and a slave owner, and she had a small cadre of very loyal follows and students in her school. Hypatia has several admirable qualities that are important to her. Firstly, she is a vastly intelligent person, as demonstrated by her qualification as one of the most important teachers in one of the most important schools in the most scientific city in the Ancient world. Beyond this alone, Hypatia is also a brave, and to be quite frank, an incredibly stubborn person. When put on by a mob of Christians who begin burning down the most important library in the world, Hypatia risks her life to save many of the scrolls of science that might be completely irreplaceable if they end up destroyed. Furthermore, she continues studying subjects that are forbidden by the newly powerful Christian religion, such as the theory of heliocentrism, which says that the sun is at the center of the universe instead of the earth, despite the fact that her life is threatened again and again because of her refusal of studying. Even when her former students, such as Orestes, give up and on several occasions review to answer questions regarding what they believe and do not believe because of their fear of consequences (or possibly because they have genuinely changed their minds because of conversions to Christianity), Hypatia stands firm with her beliefs in science over religion, despite the threats to her life. Finally, she is a good person, which is shown by the incredible loyalties that she develops, with her friends willing to stand firm with her through thick and thin, and even kill her mercifully when there is no other option. This film displays the decline and fall of the Roman Empire as centering around one issue and almost entirely one issue: the rise of Christianity and its replacing traditional Paganism. This represented a fundamental shift in the Roman Empire for several reasons. Firstly, the traditional Pagan religion allowed for the worship of a wide variety of gods and a great deal of different cultures and backgrounds. It would allow for other traditional religions to also exist in addition to the Roman one, it allowed for a great deal of cultural plurality. Christianity, on the other
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