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clamour was artfully propagated against the rem-
of a contested election f.
* Ripaille is situate near Thonon in Savoy, on the southern side of the lake of Geneva. It is now a Carthusian abbey; and Mr Addison (Travels into Italy, vol. ii. p. 147. 148. of Baskerville's edition of his works) has celebrated the place and the founder. Æneas Sylvius, and the fathers of Basil, applaud the austere life of the ducal hermit; but the French and Italian proverbs most unluckily attest the popular opinion of his luxury.
+ In this account of the councils of Basil, Ferrara, and Florence, I have consulted the original acts, which fill the 17th and 18th tomes of the edition of Venice, and are closed by the perspicuous, though partial, history of Augustin Patricius, an Italian of the 15th century. They are digested and abridged by Dupin, (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom. xii.), and the continuator of Fleury, (tom. xxii.); and the respect of the -Gallican church for the adverse parties confines their members to an awkward moderation.
zantine throne were still possessed of a golden key o *. that could unlock the treasures of antiquity; of a ov
musical and prolific language, that gives a soul to - the objects of sense, and a body to the abstractions of philosophy. Since the barriers of the monarchy, and even of the capital, had been trampled under foot, the various barbarians had doubtless corrupted the form and substance of the national dialect; and ample glossaries have been composed, to interpret a multitude of words of Arabic, Turkish, Sclavonian, Latin, or French origin". But a purer idiom was spoken in the court, and taught in the college; and the flourishing state of the language is described, and perhaps embellished, by a learned Italian f, who, by a long residence and noble marriage i, was naturalized at Constantinople about thirty years before the Turkish conquest. “The vulgar speech,” says PhilelI 2 phus, * In the first attempt, Meursius collected 3600 Graeco-barbarous words, to which, in a second edition, he subjoined 1800 more; yet what plenteous gleanings did he leave to Portius, Ducange, Fabrotti, the Bollandists, &c." (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. x. p. 1 ol. &c.). Some Persic words may be found in Xenophon, and some Latin ones in Plutarch ; and such is the inevitable effect of war and commerce; but the
form and substance of the language were not affected by this slight alloy.
# The life of Francis Philelphus, a sophist, proud, restless, and rapacious, has been diligently composed by Lancelot (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 691– 751.), and Tiraboschi (Istoria della Letteratura Italiana, tom. vii. p. 282—294.), for the most part from his own letters. His elaborate writings, and those of his contemporaries, are forgotten; but their familiar epistles still describe the men and the times.
f He married, and had perhaps debauched, the daughter of John, and the grand-daughter of Manuel Chrysoloras. She was young, beautiful, and wealthy; and her noble family was allied to the Dorias of Genoa, and the Emperors of Constantinople.
phus *, “has been depraved by the people, and “infected by the multitude of strangers and mer“ chants, who every day flock to the city and mingle with the inhabitants. It is from the dis“ciples of such a school that the Latin language received the versions of Aristotle and Plato; so “ obscure in sense, and in spirit so poor. But the “Greeks who have escaped the contagion, are “ those whom we follow; and they alone are wor“thy of our imitation. In familiar discourse, they “still speak the tongue of Aristophanes and Euri“pides, of the historians and philosophers of A“ thens; and the style of their writings is still more elaborate and correct. The persons who, by “ their birth and offices, are attached to the Byzantine court, are those who maintain, with the least alloy, the ancient standard of elegance and puri“ty; and the native graces of language most con“spicuously shine among the noble matrons, who are excluded from all intercourse with foreigners. With foreigners do I say : They live retired and “sequestered from the eyes of their fellow-citizens. “Seldom are they seen in the streets; and when “ they leave their houses, it is in the dusk of
* Graeci quibus lingua depravata non sit . . . . ita loquuntur vulgo hac etiam tempestate ut Aristophanes comicus, aut Euripides tragicus, ut oratores omnes ut historiographi ut philosophi . . . . . literati autem homines et doctius et emendatius . . . . Nam viri aulici veterem sermonis dignitatem atque elegantiam retinebant in primisque ipsae nobiles mulieres; quibus cum nullum esset omnino cum viris peregrinis commercium, merus ille ac purus Graecorum sermo servabatur intactus, (Philelph. Epist. ad ann. 1451, apud Hodium, p. 188. 189.). He observes in another passage, uxor illa mea Theodora locutione erat admodum moderată et suaviet maxime At
“evening, on visits to the churches and their near-
the more inquisitive and ambitious minds would ex
plore the sacred and profane erudition of their native language. The ecclesiastics presided over the education of youth; the schools of philosophy and eloquence were perpetuated till the fall of the empire; and it may be affirmed, that more books and more knowledge were included within the walls of Constantinople, than could be dispersed over the extensive countries of the Westf. But an important distinction has been already noticed; the Greeks were stationary or retrograde, while the Latins were advancing with a rapid and progressive motion. The nations were excited by the spirit of independence
I 3 - and
* Philelphus, absurdly enough, derives this Greek or Oriental jealousy from the manners of ancient Rome.
... + See the state of learning in the 13th and 14th centuries, in the learned and judicious Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Eccles.
CompariSon of the Greeks and Latins.
and emulation; and even the little world of the Italian states contained more people and industry than the decreasing circle of the Byzantine empire. In Europe, the lower ranks of society were relieved from the yoke of feudal servitude; and freedom is the first step to curiosity and knowledge. The use, however rude and corrupt, of the Latin tongue, had been preserved by superstition; the universities, from Bologna to Oxford *, were peopled with thousands of scholars; and their misguided ardour might be directed to more liberal and manly studies. In the resurrection of science, Italy was the first that cast away her shroud; and the eloquent Petrarch, by his lessons and his example, may justly be applauded as the first harbinger of day. A purer style of composition, a more generous and rational strain of sentiment, flowed from the study and imitation of the writers of ancient Rome; and
the disciples of Cicero and Virgil approached, with
reverence and love, the sanctuary of their Grecian masters. In the sack of Constantinople, the French, and even the Venetians, had despised and destroyed the works of Lysippus and Homer; the monuments of art may be annihilated by a single blow; but the immortal mind is renewed and multiplied by the copies of the pen; and such copies it was the ambition * At the end of the 15th century, there existed in Europe about fifty universities, and of these the foundation of ten or twelve is prior to the year 1300. They were crowded in proportion to their scarcity. Bologna contained 10,000 students, chiefly of the civil law. In the year 1357, the number at Oxford had decreased from 30,000 to 6000 scholars, (Henry's History of Great Britain, vol. iv. p. 478.). Yet even this decrease is much superior to the present list of the members of