All dates are to the common era (AD). Links for historical figures are to their Wikipedia page.
SOPHIA (307-391) – Title character. Sophia grew up an orphan in Alexandria, Egypt, was sold to a brothel owner in Antioch in 321, was purchased and freed by Timaeus of Kaymakli in 324, when she joined him on his journeys as a Christian Gnostic missionary. Birth name Hypatia. Also known at times as Adama, Sophocles and Hypatius.
TIMAEUS (280-325) – Born in Cappodocia, son of a paper and book merchant. Born and raised a Catholic Christian, took priest’s vows and worked under Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea from 297-311, left eye was put out during the Christian persecutions under Emperor Diocletian, appointed Catholic Bishop of Kaymakli (Cappodocia) in 311, adopted Gnostic beliefs while bishop, removed from office and blinded in right eye under order of Bishop Alexander of Byzantium in 317, wandered throughout the Eastern portion of the Empire advancing Gnostic Christianity from 317-325.
PHILIPPUS (301-330) – Born in Joppa (Judea) to a Christian family. Took priest’s vows and worked under Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea from 319-328). Renounced vows to marry in 328, but remained a faithful Catholic.
BESET (c. 265-340) – Born in Chenoboskion, Egypt, married to an older alcoholic circa 280, had 9 children, widowed and left homeless in 325, hired by Sophia as housekeeper in 325.
SENMONTHIS (c.285-???) – Born and lived in Sheneset, Egypt. Sophia’s landlord and friend from 326-330.
ANKHA AEGYPTOS (292-370) – Son of Beset, left home to join the Roman legion at the age of 16, fought alongside Emperor Constantine in his battles against Licinius (315-324), Counsul guard in Caneopolis Egypt, 325-330, left the Legion in 330 and moved to Alexandria in 330, where he became a successful papyrus merchant.
JOHN OF JERUSALEM (310-391) – A Gnostic Christian who is forced by circumstance and violence to adopt the outward appearance of orthodoxy. John shows up at three key moments in Sophia’s life.
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT (272-337; Emperor (306-337) – After an extended period of sharing power with Emperors Maxentius and Licinius, Constantine I became Emperor of the united Empire in 324 and made Christianity the preferred religion of the Empire. Constantine called the first great Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325 and involved himself in Church governance for the remainder of his life. He was finally baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia on his death bed.
EUNAPIUS (mid 4th century – early 5th century) – Author of “Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists,” providing the only contemporary account of 4th century Neoplatonists. Collects the sayings of Sophia and presents them to her in book form on her 84th birthday in 391. Wrote a contemporary account of the destruction of theSerapeum in 391.
HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA (c. 364-415) – Last great philosopher, mathematician and astronomer of Antiquity. Her death at the hands of a Christian mob in 415 often marked as the end of classical Antiquity. Daughter of Theon. In the novel she is the granddaughter of Sophia.
PAPPUS OF ALEXANDRIA (290-350) – One of the last great mathematicians of Antiquity, author of The Synagoge, a compilation mathematical discoveries through the Third Century AD. In the novel father of Theon and grandfather of Hypatia of Alexandria.
ALEXANDER OF ALEXANDRIA (c. 250-328) – Bishop (Pope) of Alexandria from 313-328. Attended Nicene Council in 325. Opponent of Arianism and fervent Trinitarian. Succeeded by Athanasius.
ALEXANDER OF CONSTANTINOPLE (c. 237-337) – Bishop (Pope) of Byzantium (later named New Rome and Constantinople). Attended Nicene Council in 325. Opponent of Arianism and fervent Trinitarian.
ARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (c. 250-336) – Alexandrian priest, philosopher, author, poet and songwriter who gave his name to the Arian viewpoint. Attended the Nicene Council in 325 and was exiled by Constantine after refusing to avow the first Nicene Creed. Found haven with Eusebius of Caesarea, was later reinstated to the Church. Died from a sudden illness under suspicious circumstances in Constantinople in 336.
ATHANASIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (c.299-373) – Bishop (Pope) of Alexandria from 328-373, with at least five periods of exile totaling 17 years. A saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Attended the Nicene Council in 325. Principal villain of the novel.
EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA (c. 260-c.339) – First great Christian historian whose “Ecclesiastical Histories” cover the development of Christianity from the days of the disciples to around 314. Bishop of Caesarea from c. 314-c. 339. Sided with the Arians in the Arian-Trinitarian conflict. Attended the Nicene Council in 325.
EUSEBIUS OF NICOMEDIA (c.280-341) – Bishop of Berytus (modern day Beirut), then Nicomedia (Greater Constantinople) then Constantinople. Strident Arian in the Arian-Trinitarian conflict. Attended the Nicene Council in 325.
EUSTATHIUS OF ANTIOCH (c.290-c.337) – Bishop (Pope) of Antioch from c. 325-330. Attended Nicene Council in 325. Deposed and exiled to Thrace in 330 on charges that he was having an affair with a married woman.
MACARIUS OF JERUSALEM (c. 270-c. 335) – Bishop of Jerusalem from c. 312 to c. 335. Attended Nicene Council in 325. Strict Trinitarian. A saint in the Roman Catholic Church. His skull and other relics are kept in Saint Anthony’s Chapel (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
MACARIUS OF EGYPT (c. 300-391) – Also known as Macarius the Elder to distinguish him from Macarius the Younger. Founded the Paromeos Monastery in the Nitrian Dessert west of Alexandria. The “Nitrian Monks” were active as the muscle for Alexandrian bishops from Athanasius in the Fourth Century to at least Cyril in the Fifth Century. A saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
MACARIUS THE YOUNGER (c. 300-395) – Founded the Kellii Monastery in the Nitrian Dessert west of Alexandria. The “Nitrian Monks” were active as the muscle for Alexandrian bishops from Athanasius in the Fourth Century to at least Cyril in the Fifth Century. A saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
PACHOMIUS THE GREAT (c. 292-348) – Founder of the first Christian monasteries in Upper Egypt. Although a Trinitarian, fled into the dessert to avoid being ordained as a priest by Athanasius. A saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.