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ANCIENT GREEK SCHOLARS

By Ronan Almeida, 5/3

CONTENT

JOHN ARGYROPOULOS ..3

BASILIOS BESSARION.4

THEODORUS GAZA..5

MARCUS MUSURU..6

LEO ALLATIUS....7

John Argyropoulos (1415 26 June 1487) was a lecturer, philosopher and humanist, one of the migr scholars who pioneered the revival of Classical learning in Western Europe in the 15th century. He played a prominent role in the revival of Greek philosophy in Italy and translated Greek philosophical and theological works into Latin besides producing rhetorical and theological works in his own. He divided his time between Italy and Constantinople. He studied theology and philosophy in Constantinople. As a teacher there he had amongst his pupils the scholar Constantine Lascaris. He was an official in the service of one of the rulers of the Byzantine Morea and was sent on a diplomatic mission to Italy in 1439 to attend the Council of Florence. In 1444 he received a degree from the University of Padua before returning to Constantinople. When Constantinople fell in 1453 he left it for the Peloponnesus and in 1456 took refuge in Italy where he worked as a teacher in the revival of Greek philosophy in the universities of Padua, Florence and Rome and as head of the Greek department at Florences Florentine Stadium university. In 1471, on the outbreak of the plague, he moved to Rome, where he continued to act as a teacher of Greek till his death. He made efforts to transport Greek philosophy to Western Europe. He had students such as Pietro de' Medici and Lorenzo de' Medici, Angelo Poliziano and Johann Reuchlin. It is well known that students hailing from different parts of Europe came to see and hear him at those classes, when he taught Greek and philosophy courses. Leonardo da Vinci probably attended the lectures of Argyropoulos. He was a member of the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence and left a number of Latin translations, including many of Aristotle's works. His principal works were translations of the following portions of Aristotle, Categoriae, De Interpretatione, Analytica Posteriora, Physica, De Caelo, De Anima, Metaphysica, Ethica Nicomachea, Politica; and an Expositio Ethicorum Aristotelis. Several of his writings exist still in manuscript.
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Basilios Bessarion (January 2, 1403 November 18, 1472), a Roman Catholic Cardinal Bishop and the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, was one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century. He has been mistakenly known also as Johannes Bessarion due to an erroneous interpretation of Gregory III Mammas. Bessarion was one of the most learned scholars of his time. Besides his translations of Aristotle's Metaphysics and Xenophon's Memorabilia, his most important work is a treatise directed against George of Trebizond, a vehement Aristotelian who had written a polemic against Plato, which was entitled In Calumniatorem Platonis ("Against the Slanderer of Plato"). Bessarion, though a Platonist, was not so thoroughgoing in his admiration as Gemistus Pletho, and he strove instead to reconcile the two philosophies. His work, by opening up the relations of Platonism to the main questions of religion, contributed greatly to the extension of speculative thought in the department of theology. His library, which contained a very extensive collection of Greek manuscripts, was presented by him in 1468 to the senate of Venice, and forms the nucleus of the famous library of St Mark's, the Biblioteca Marciana. Most of Bessarion's works are in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 161.

Theodorus Gaza was a Greek humanist and translator of Aristotle. His translations were superior, both in accuracy and style, to the versions in use before his time. He devoted particular attention to the translation and exposition of Aristotle's works on natural science. Gaza stood high in the opinion of most of his learned contemporaries, but still higher in that of the scholars of the succeeding generation. His Greek
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grammar (in four books), written in Greek, first printed at Venice in 1495, and afterwards partially translated by Erasmus in 1521, although in many respects defective, especially in its syntax, was for a long time the leading textbook. His translations into Latin were very numerous, including:

Problemata, De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium of Aristotle the Historia Plantarum of Theophrastus the Problemata of Alexander of Aphrodisias the De instruendis aciebus of Aelian the De compositione verborum of Dionysius of Halicarnassus some of the Homilies of John Chrysostom.

Marcus Musuru ( 14701517) was a Greek scholar and philosopher born in Retimo, Castello, Venetian Crete (modern Rethymno, Crete). The son of a rich merchant, he became at an early age a pupil of John Lascaris in Venice. In 1505, Musurus was made professor of Greek language at the University of Padua. Erasmus, who had attended his lectures there, testifies to his knowledge of Latin. However, when the university was closed in 1509 during the War of the League of Cambrai, he returned to Venice where he filled a similar post. In 1516, Musurus was summoned to Rome by Pope Leo X, where he where he lectured in the pope's Gymnasium and established a Greek printingpress. In recognition of a Greek poem prefixed to the editio princeps of Plato, Leo appointed him archbishop of Monemvasia (Malvasia) in the Peloponnese, but he died before he left the Italian peninsula. Many of the Aldine classics were published under Musurus' supervision, and he is credited with the first editions of the scholia of Aristophanes (1498), Athenaeus (1514), Hesychius of Alexandria (1514) and Pausanias (1516). Musuros' handwriting reportedly formed the model of Aldus' Greek type. Among his original
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compositions Musurus wrote a dedicatory epigram for Zacharias Kallierges' edition of the Etymologicum Magnum, in which he praised the genius of the Cretans.

Leo Allatius ( 1586 - January 19, 1669) was a scholar, theologian and keeper of the Vatican library. Leo Allatius was a Greek, born on the island of Chios in 1586, his father was Niccolas Allatzes and his mother was Sebaste Neurides, both of Greek extraction. He was taken by his maternal uncle Michael Nauridis to Italy to be educated at the age of nine, first in Calabria and then in Rome where he was admitted into the Greek college. A graduate of the Greek College of St. Athanasius in Rome, he spent his career in Rome as teacher of Greek at the Greek college, and devoting himself to the study of classics and theology. His Drammaturgia (1666), a catalogue of Italian musical dramas produced up to that year, is indispensable for the early history of opera. A new edition, carried down to 1755, appeared at Venice in that year. His works are listed by Johann Albert Fabricius, in Bibliotheca Graeca (xi. 437), where they are divided into four classes:

editions, translations and commentaries on ancient authors works relating to the dogmas and institutions of the Greek and Roman Churches historical works miscellaneous works.

His manuscripts (about 150 volumes) and his voluminous scholarly correspondence are in the library of the Oratorians in Rome. The number of his unpublished writings is also very large; the majority of them are included in the manuscripts of the Vallicellian library.

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