Saturday, December 6, 2008


A few weeks ago, I posted about my discovery that there wasn't a "dark ages," but rather a shift in the center of Christian civilization from Rome to Constantinople, where Christian civilization and scholarship thrived for another thousand years. Today, I discovered something else -- the "renaissance" was not so much a rebirth of interest in scholarship as an exodus of scholars from Constantinople in the last 50 years before it fell to the Muslims in ... coincidentally ... 1453 -- right at the beginning of the "renaissance."

Scholars who left Constantinople in the 15th Century:

Manuel Chrysoloras -Florence, Pavia, Rome, Venice, Milan
George Gemistos Plethon -Teacher of Bessarion
George of Trebizond -Venice, Florence, Rome
Theodorus Gaza -First dean of the University of Ferrara, Naples and Rome
John Argyropoulos -Universities of Florence, Rome, Padua teacher of Leonardo da Vinci
Laonicus Chalcocondyles
Demetrius Chalcondyles -Milano
Theofilos Chalcocondylis -Florence
Constantine Lascaris -University of Messina
Henry Aristippus
Michael Apostolius -Rome
Aristobulus Apostolius
Arsenius Apostolius
Demetrius Cydones
Janus Lascaris or Rhyndacenus -Rome
Maximus the Greek studied in Italy before moving to Russia
Ioannis Kottounios -Padua
Konstantinos Kallokratos
Barlaam of Seminara -Teacher of Boccacio
Marcus Musurus -University of Padua
Michael Tarchaniota Marullus -Ancona and Florence, friend and pupil of Jovianus Pontanus
Leo Allatius -Rome, librarian of the library of Vatican
Demetrios Ducas
Leozio Pilatus -Teacher of Petrarch and Boccacio
Leo Allatius, portrait in the Collegio Greco of Rome
Maximus Planudes -Rome, Venice
Leonard of Chios -Greek-born Roman-Catholic prelate
Simon Atumano -Bishop of Gerace in Calabria
Isidore of Kiev
Elia del Medigo -Venice
George Hermonymus -University of Paris, teacher of Erasmus, Reuchlin, Budaeus and Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples
John Chrysoloras -scholar and diplomat: relative of Manuel Chrysoloras, patron of Francesco Filelfo
Andronicus Contoblacas -Basel, teacher of Johann Reuchlin
John Servopoulos -Reading, Oxford; scholar, professor
Johannes Crastonis Modena, Greek-Latin dictionary
Andronicus Callistus -Rome
Gerasimos Vlachos -Venice
George Amiroutzes -Florence, Aristotelian
Gregory Tifernas -Paris teacher of Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples and Robert Gaguin
Nikolaos Sophianos -Rome, Venice: scholar and geographer, creator of the Totius Graeciae Descriptio
Totius Graeciae Descriptio
Zacharias Calliergi -Rome
Mathew Devaris -Rome
Antonios Eparchos -Venice, scholar and poet
Maximos Margunios -Venice
Mathaeos Kamariotis
Nikolaos Loukanis -Venice
Iakovos Trivolis-Venice
Janus Plousiadenos -Venice, hymnographer and composer

So there was no "renaissance of knowledge after a long period of religious superstition." All the smart people were living in Constantinople until the city was taken over by foreign invaders. Those scholars spread throughout Christian Europe, bringing their knowledge with them, and bringing the light of philosophy and science -- which had grown vastly during the 1000 year Christian empire -- to the dark, ignorant continent of Europe.

Just as the "Dark Ages" was merely the shift in cultural power and influence from Pagan Rome to Christianizing Constantinople, the "Renaissance" was merely the shift in cultural power and influence from Christian Constantinople to Christian Europe.

No comments: