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zantine temperament ill consorted with the lively Italian CHAP. V. character: and even in the time of pope Eugenius (14311447) the readiness to assist these Greek wanderers, who were almost entirely useless members of society, had already sensibly declined'.'

b. 1395.


The chief patron of the unfortunate exiles at this junc- Bessarion. ture was the celebrated Bessarion, a native of Trapezus but d. 1472. of Greek descent, and distinguished by his patriotic zeal in behalf of the national cause. His efforts to sustain the tottering empire had been of no ordinary kind, though he had been absent in Italy when the final catastrophe occurred; we even find indeed one of his admirers asserting that to his absence that calamity was mainly due, and that the capital had never fallen had Bessarion been there to animate the spirit of its defenders. Long after the event, he was still His patriotic foremost among those who urged aggressive measures against the Turks, and he is said to have built and equipped at his own expense a trireme to cooperate with the Venetian fleet. In pursuance of the same policy he sought, like Chrysoloras, His efforts to to promote the union of the two Churches; for it was, he Churches. maintained, the religious differences of the East and the West which gave the infidel his chief advantage; it was those differences that had brought about the overthrow of the great Churches of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria; and unless so prolific a source of disunited counsels were removed, he predicted that Europe would share the fate of Africa, and the Crescent everywhere be seen triumphant over the standard of the Cross'.

1 Voigt, p. 332.

2 Ex vetere Græcia oriundus, natusque in Asia, utriusque collegit generosi spiritus semina.' Platinæ Panegyricus, Boerner, p. 82. This panegyric, which contains much valuable material for the life of Bessarion, was composed during the lifetime of the cardinal, and gives no facts subsequent to the elevation of his rival, Pius II, to the papal chair. Hody, who had never seen it, speaks of it (p. 152) as a funeral oration!

3 Constans est certe, Quirites, omnium bene sentientium opinio, et eorum maxime qui suo periculo ista

Such were the sentiments

rum calamitatum gnari sunt, duo
illa imperia nunquam fuisse corrui-
tura, si Bessarion, magni animi at-
que consilii vir, illis in locis tum
fuisset, cum tempestas illa contra
non Græcos tantum sed humanum
genus exorta est. Excitasset enim
vir omnium vigilantissimus dormi-
entem Græcam, armasset nimio otio
languentes animos, ire in hostem
suos, et a cervicibus tantam calami-
tatem avertere quantam passi sunt,
spe veræ et integræ laudis proposita,
compulisset.' Ibid. pp. 84-5.

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unite the two

to which he gave expression in the year 1438, at the council of Ferrara. On the convening of that assembly he had appeared as the advocate of the Greek faith, and had seen in the opposite ranks men like Guarino, Traversari, and Aurispa, whom Pope Eugenius had deputed to defend the Latin tenets. As the debates proceeded Bessarion had been brought to the conclusion that the chief question in dispute, -that respecting the Procession of the Holy Ghost,-turned on a merely verbal distinction; and had consequently, with a candour that offered a marked contrast to the characteristic His conver- obstinacy of his countrymen, given in his adhesion to the Romish faith as the representative of his party'. He was shortly after created cardinal, and twice during his lifetime it seemed more than probable that the supreme dignity of the tiara would also fall to his lot. The attempted union of the two Churches however it was beyond his power to bring about. He continued firm in his allegiance to the western communion, and his bearded countenance, along with that of another convert of eminence, the cardinal of Kiew, was conspicuous in the throng of ecclesiastics at the papal court; but

sion to the western Church.

his example attracted few or no followers. The great majorHis example ity of his countrymen still insisted with wearisome pertina


productive of

little result. city on their distinctive views, which they vindicated by

appeals to the early fathers of the eastern Church. It was

crevisse dum religionis nostræ capita
inter se dissiderent; procedatne Spi-
ritus Sanctus a Patre tantum, ut
Græci, an a Patre et Filio ut Latini
volebant; his enim controversiis fac-
tum, ut ad Mahometanos, partim vi,
partim sponte, deficerent populi, dum
Christianæ religionis principes quid
potissimum teneant incertos vident.
Hinc amissam esse Antiochenam ec-
clesiam, hinc Hierosolymitanam, hinc
Alexandrinam; hinc denique omnem
ferme Asiam et totam Africam hanc
pestem occupasse, et, quod gravius
est, Europa quasdam partes jamjam
infecisse ac longius evagaturam, ni,
propere sublatis tam perniciosis con-
troversiis ac pulsis Christianæ rei-
publica hostibus, in possessionem
veterem labore vigiliis ac sanguine
martyrum comparatam, armati eum

vexillo crucis pervenerint.' Ibid. p. 86.

1 Voigt says of the conduct of the representatives of the Greek party on this occasion:-'Sie kamen und suchten Hülfe; schon in dieser einfachen Situation war es stillschweigend ausgesprochen, dass sie bereit waren, sich um guten Preis den Dogmen der lateinischen Kirche zu fügen. Dennoch wurden erst lange gelehrte Scheingefechte eröffnet, möchte nun der griechische Klerus nicht ganz so glaubensbereit sein wie der Kaiser oder möchte man auch nur den Schein retten wollen.' p. 333. Hody, who has taken his account entirely from Sguropulos, Hist. Conc. Florent., gives a somewhat different aspect to the proceedings, see pp. 137-42.


comes asso

thus that, unhappily for the progress of classical learning and CHAP. V. the peace of the scholar, the Greek language became in the minds of many associated with heresy, and an opposition far Greek bemore irrational even than that which the New Aristotle had ciated with evoked, confronted the professors of the Greek literature not only in Italy but also in Germany and in England.


b. 1416.

his patrons.

We have already mentioned John Argyropulos as one Argyropulos. of the few men of learning in the promiscuous throng of d. 1486 (?). fugitives from Constantinople. He was a native of that city and of noble birth.. Along with the majority of those whose attainments encouraged them to look for assistance at the hands of the patrons of letters, he betook himself to Florence, where Cosmo de Medici was then at the height of his popularity and power. Argyropulos was hospitably The Medici received, and the instruction of the youthful Lorenzo was confided to his care: he thenceforth attached himself to the family of the Medici, and by the lustre which his numerous dedications, the expressions of genuine gratitude and admiration, cast upon that noble house, may be held to have more than repaid the many favours he received. His real learning, united to such powerful patronage, soon drew around him a distinguished circle of scholars seeking to gain a knowledge of the Greek literature, among whom the most eminent was undoubtedly Politian. Driven by the plague from Florence, Argyropulos next took refuge in Rome, where his lectures on Aristotle still further enhanced his reputation. According to the testimony of his illustrious scholar, his He devotes range of knowledge was unusually extended, embracing not improving merely grammar and rhetoric but a perfected acquaintance ledge of with the whole course of the trivium and quadrivium'; he was however singularly disdainful of the Latin language and literature, and his efforts were almost entirely concentrated on promoting a more accurate acquaintance with the Aristo- Admitted extelian philosophy. Philelphus, Cortesius, and Politian vie his transla with each other in their praises of his services in this field. Plura virorum, says Boerner, after quoting their emphatic

himself to

the know


cellence of


1 ' 'disciplinarum cunctarum, quæ Cyclica a Martiano dicuntur, erudi

tissimus est habitus.' Miscellanea,
c. I. Hody, p. 199.

His literary labours.


CHAP. V. encomiums, taceo testimonia, quibus de insigni eximiaque illius eruditione prædicarunt. Theodorus Gaza, whose modest worth stands in such favorable contrast to the vanity and arrogance of many of the scholars of this period, burnt his own translations of the Naturalia and the Ethics when he heard that Argyropulos had also versions of them forthcoming1. We realise the change that had come about since the time of Petrarch, when we find the haughty exile declaring that Cicero, from whose writings Petrarch had chiefly gained his knowledge of the ancient philosophy, -Cicero, whose ascendancy over the minds of educated Italy was inHis deprecia- creasing with every year,-had no true knowledge either of as a philoso- the Greek language or of the systems of the great Greek thinkers. This jealousy of all Roman interpreters of the Greek oracles was however too often exhibited by these ungrateful dependants on Italian charity. Latinos, said Politian sarcastically, in participatum suæ linguæ doctrinæque non libenter admittit ista natio.


Unlike Chrysoloras and Guarino, his rivals in professional fame, Argyropulos left behind him considerable contributions to classical literature. They were chiefly translations from Aristotle, but translations which afforded such assistance to the student of philosophy as was to be found in no other existing versions. Dissatisfied with the labours of Boethius and Petrus Hispanus, he translated anew the Prædicamenta and the De Interpretatione. Roger Bacon, if not completely reassured, would certainly have taken fresh heart could he have seen the versions that now appeared of the Posterior Analytics, the Physics, the De Calo, the De Anima, and the Metaphysics. When we find the most eminent critics of the age disputing whether these translations are to be praised more for their elegance or for their fidelity, it seems reasonable to conclude that both characteristics are present in a

1 Boerner, p. 146.


2 Et ut homo erat omnium (ut tum quidem videbatur) acerrimus in disputando, atque aurem (quod ait Persius) mordaci lotus aceto, præterea verborum quoque nostrorum funditator maximus, facile id vel nobis vel

ceteris tum quidem suis sectatoribus
persuaserat, ita ut, quod pene dictu
quoque nefas, pro concesso inter
nos haberetur, nec philosophicam
scisse M. Tullium nec Græcas lite-
ras.' Hody, p. 199.



marked degree. Their general excellence was rarely called CHAP. V. in question, and they altogether surpassed the versions that appeared under the auspices of Nicholas v, by George Trapezuntius, Gregory Tifernas, or even those by Theodore Gaza1.

Reuchlin and

At Rome Argyropulos was wont to see cardinals, nobles, and others of high civic dignity assemble around him. On D. 1482. one of these occasions, when he was on the point of com- Argyropulos. mencing a lecture on Thucydides, a young man whose modest retinue and address afforded a strong contrast to those of many of the august audience, stepped forward and introduced himself to the lecturer. He expressed in courtly phrase his sympathy with the exiled Greeks, and described himself as a German not wholly ignorant of Greek, but anxious to increase his knowledge of the language. Argyropulos, to test his attainments, forth with invited him to proceed with the translation of one of the Thucydidean orations. Whether or no it was the 'Funeral Oration' by Pericles we are not informed, but the lecturer was startled by the correctness of the new comer's pronunciation and the fidelity of his rendering. Nostro exilio, he exclaimed, Græcia transvolavit Alpes.


The flight of Greece across the Alps had however taken Learning in place long before Argyropulos became apprised of the fact through the visit of John Reuchlin to Rome. Before the close of the first half of the century, the scholars of Germany had heard something about the new learning, and were now already welcoming, though not without certain manifestations of that defiant spirit with which Teutonism has ever been prone to regard the fashions of the Latin race, in their own land, the culture to which they were in turn to impart

1 Freilich ist ihr Verdienst so wie das Bruni's in der Folge durch Argyropulos verdunkelt worden, und für ewige Zeiten haben sie alle nicht gearbeitet.' Voigt, p#355. 'Diversa et contraria inter se de Argyropuli versionibus virorum doctorum sunt judicia. R. Volaterranus eleganter magis quam fideliter Aristotelis libros eum convertisse censet. Contra ea Ioach. Perizonius fideliter magis quam ornate eleganterque illos ipsos

translatos ab eo fuisse ait. Petrus
Nannius autem, ad verba magis quam
ad sensum, Argyropulum attendisse,
ipsiusque adeo interpretationes nec
fideles nec elegantes esse pronuntiat.
Attamen accurate interpretandi lau-
dem illi haudquaquam denegandam
esse, Huetius arbitratur.' Boerner, p.
149. See also Hody, 208-9.

2 The authority for this is Melanch-
thon; see his Oratio de Iohanne Cap.
nione, Declamationes, 1 625.

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