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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728
http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 117
19th May 2006

CONTENTS

I. 'On criticism and the purpose of arts' by Vikram Singh

II. 'Some thoughts on what we call real' by Hubertus Fremerey

III. 'John Argyropoulos teacher of Leonardo Da Vinci' by Fotis Vassileiou and
Barbara Saribalidou

-=-

EDITOR'S NOTE

In a continuation of his earlier article 'Monologue on art' (Issue 80) Vikram
Singh argues that there is no single, 'correct' way to approach the
appreciation of art. There is far more to the appreciation and reception of art
than, for example, looking at the historical circumstances or at the intentions
of the artist. 'The fundamental purpose of arts is to inspire further arts.'

Hubertus Fremerey in his contribution piece examines the nature of religion. Is
a religion merely a primitive theory of how the world came to be, or does it
have some other function? Can religion show us some aspects of reality which
science does not know? What is it for something to be 'real' anyway?

Fotis Vassileiou and Barbara Saribalidou focus on the life of the great teacher
John Argyropoulos, placing his work in the context of the explosion of learning
in the 15th century, a time when many of the great European universities were
founded.

Geoffrey Klempner

-=-

I. 'ON CRITICISM AND THE PURPOSE OF ARTS' BY VIKRAM SINGH

I come straight to the point. The most famous french composer of the 20th
century, Maurice Ravel composed one of the best loved pieces in orchestral
music. 'Bolero', as it came to be known, which was commissioned by dancer Ida
Rubenstein to be played while she performed on the stage. Soon it was famous
all over the world as a stand alone orchestral composition.

It has become a method of critics to encompass in their dissection, the very
state of the creator at the time of piece's creation. It has been drawn from
the delicate melodies of Schubert, that they are not unconnected with his
homosexuality. Ravel himself described Bolero as an experiment; a gradual
crescendo. And it found me, among the composition's many admirers. But the
purposes of a piece is incomplete without presence of an observer. It is a
different thing, how much the observer derives from his interactions. This is
my first point. Although my examples could be extended to any piece of art.

My perception of Bolero is formed on its maintained hypnotic rhythm, persistent
theme and evolving orchestration. I must say that I need not build any
hypothesis on ideas of Ravel to define the pleasure which I receive while
hearing it. But soon I learned that, above the Spanish atmosphere, which
Bolero's rhythm so emphatically confirms, it was the sounds of industrial
machines that inspired Ravel to compose it. Certainly, this is quite contrary
to what I have come to associate with it. Even more so, I find it hard to see
it through eyes of the composer. And sometimes it seems even an repulsive idea
to reorganize my thoughts in this direction. Is it possible to attain something
from an piece of art which its creator never fused it with? Is a piece of art an
intellectual property of its creator, such that it should be be looked through
his perception of the world?

Ever since turn of the 19th century, critics have increasingly peeked into the
lives of creators to look out for meaningful explanation for their works. Many
times, the links are quite obvious. And it has almost re-awakened the world's
interest in Da Vinci's paintings ever since the claims of hidden clues have
started to emerge. But how can a critic pass a judgement on a piece linked with
an artist's homosexuality, when half of the audience see wild ocean or flying
birds in it? Is that kind of criticism meant only for the creator, who in many
cases is dead by decades?

Pieces of art and literature, are outbursts of creativity and rhetoric. The
creator might have put many years in contemplating the piece, but the moments
of creation are like mind full of sparks. It would be proper to define these to
timelines before we proceed to outline the proper critic's method. First we have
to look at the process of observation.

Art is a language. It conveys so many things that oral linguistics cannot. The
word 'happy' has a different meaning for everyone. And for everyone its meaning
changes over time. I have discussed this in detail, in my last article,
'Monologue on Art' (Philosophy Pathways 80). If a piece of art is defined by
emotional state of the creator, than it is worthwhile to understand, what
brought the creator to that mental state. But this also intimately links the
purpose of creation to the thought process of artist's mind. This is important
because it rules out the notion that great pieces of art are already made
somewhere and an artist is just God's translator. Many times they reflect the
overall thought process that the world is going through.

If a person is introduced to certain painting through certain dialogue, then
that dialogue is going to have an intermittent effect on the person's
perception of that painting. As I had said before, it is not possible to recall
(or remember) a rather closed chain of thoughts, without committing itself to
other thought processes. The person may know the original intentions of the
creator over a course of time. This means that it is possible to grow totally
different ideas about a piece of art than someone else who is interacting with
the same, side by side. This is even without resorting to our very own ideas
which will be induced after the purporting effect of personal interaction. And
it is not necessary that those two persons' ideas are congruent with that of
the creator. If the artist has created the piece with an intention to convey a
'very defined' state of emotion to the observer, then he has failed. It can be
drawn from this that it is not possible to transit a certain state of mind to
another through process of arts. If any artist sits with these intentions, he
is bound to fail himself.

Now coming back to segregating the timelines. This is again based on my earlier
arguments that no two states of conscious mind are congruent and consequently
there is no method to go back to an earlier emotional state. When Ravel saw
industrial machines let his mental state be C1. When he sat to write Bolero his
mental state be C2. For an authentic reproduction of what he was at C1, it must
be that C1=C2; which is not achievable. I should state here that the moment of
creation and the moment of inspiration are two different sociological points.
They cannot follow each other unless they occur at the same time. So Bolero is
an actual reproduction of the state C2. C2 is the moment of composition. So his
first inspiration is composition itself. Although it is quite contrary to what
we normally believe. And our mind has not evolved enough that we could handle
two emotionally complex states as above, simultaneously.

Recently I read that Ravel had symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and the constant
repeating rhythm may have to do with that!

Coming to my earlier question. Is it possible for me to conclude from a piece
of art, what the composer never induced it with? Here I assume that I am
interacting with a painting, whose creator is alive and standing by my side.
Let us think that an event inspired him to paint it. His mental state at the
time of event was C1. When he painted, it was C2 and when he is standing by my
side, it is C3. Let us also assume that he is aware of what we have discussed
so far. So he says that the painting is reflective of his state at C2. I ask,
is C2=C3? My argument is that, whatever state in which the artist painted the
picture, he cannot recall in authentication while watching it. So even for him
the meaning of his creation is constantly evolving.

Let me give you an extreme example; Assume that the painting is of a Tiger
shown in its splendor. The artist saw that tiger sometime back. After the
creation of that painting, assume his son was attacked by a tiger in a recent
attempt to revisit the place of 'inspiration'. How different would you think
the state C3 would be from C2? (Will Ravel still admire today's industrial
machines? Or what would a boy gather from his remarks who is brought up today?)
If the emotional statement of a creation changes when the creator forms the
observer, how can we be so definitive about the same? It should be understood,
that a creator can be readily changed in place of an observer. His past is
going to effect him as much ours effect us. So it is perfectly tangible to form
our own perception of a piece of art from any perspective. Understanding the
state of creator forms a parallel process and cannot be taken as a more
'correct' or 'positive' approach.

While approaching past masterpieces, it often the case that the artist is dead.
The emotions that the creation arouses in us without any knowledge are our
sincere evaluation of it. It is worthwhile to understand the social limitations
and problems that the artist faced while creating it. But in that case, the
creation is assessed bound to the name of the artist and his time. As a
standalone piece it can only be compared by its creative intensity. We might
think that a certain poem was revolutionary because it broke the mould at that
time, but may not stand in creative intensity in front of more modern poems.
These pieces gave rise to more brighter pieces but this cannot raise their own
intellectual level. Since we can argue that if someone would have written a
more revolutionary poem in some other direction, then the present creations
might be even brighter.

Art has given rise to many new ideas and even political thoughts. For those who
argue that a certain piece of art is higher because it changed the course of
history should also say that it changed for good. And those people must also
convince me that the present state of affairs could not have been done in a
better way, and all is perfect. If the present state of social world is not
perfect, then there is always a possibility that the past could have been
handled in a better way and so could be direction of certain pieces. The
purpose of this is to say that, art and literature changed history, but this
can never be said with certainty that it was changed for good. So it might be
true that someone who wrote about sex in 12th century, was brave. But brave is
all he was.

There is also a method to raise the value of a piece for because it brought
about certain positive changes in the overall thinking of the society. Again,
it cannot be made certain that the same piece can never be used for opposite
purposes in the future. This directly follows from my earlier arguments, that
the value of a piece is constantly evolving. It is not in the hands of its
creator, to create it in such a way that it remains limited to certain domain
of ideas or time. A piece of art is like a two sided window. On one side is the
creator's mind and on other side, observer's mind. Once one of them closes it,
all it remains for him is to see the window in his own way and dress it in his
attire.

Thereof, the methods of a critic should be such that his evaluation should not
be rendered meaningless if the social value of the piece of art should change.
He cannot take the words or mind of the artist as his stepping stone to
dissection. If he looks to produce a definitive argument in either case, he
should be aware that such arguments are limiting in nature and could only be
considered relevant in a particular time-frame. As such, a timeless, definitive
argument could not be produced. So a critic should decide first, what he is
looking to attain. An observer oriented argument can be produced, if the critic
could make the audience see through his eyes. This can be done through method of
dialogue or elegantly produced lecture, preferably at the time of first
interaction.

In other cases, it is possible to draw certain ideas from certain pieces of
arts which may not even be existent during life-time of the creator. Should the
artist be credited for their origination? Here I would like to state that,
whosoever derives concrete ideas is a creator in himself. If a 10th century
painting gives me an idea to write a monograph on Nihilism, than that painting
(and not the artist) is my inspiration. The artist might have got inspiration
for the painting, by watching an apple tree; that is immaterial to me. That
painting serves me the same purpose that the apple tree served him. It is
possible to draw ideas from a piece of art almost contrary to what its creator
held in his lifetime. So a piece of art in itself pregnant with possibilities,
which its creator has no power upon. Neither the painting, nor the artist can
be commented upon being nihilistic.

It must be understood that, just as observer and creator can be interchanged,
art and inspiration can too. It is a chain. An artist creates a piece. The
piece can create an artist. The fundamental purpose of arts is to inspire
further arts. Our method breaks down when we strike out this possibility. Ideas
give rise to arts, and arts give rise to ideas. They exist in a general pool of
society and time frame. A piece of criticism is a creation inspired by
corresponding piece of art. And in that sense, art has succeeded in its
purpose, whatever the critic says!

(c) Vikram Singh 2006

E-mail: vikram.sr@gmail.com

-=-

II. 'SOME THOUGHTS ON WHAT WE CALL REAL' BY HUBERTUS FREMEREY

Atheists always are struggling with theists about the question whether God is
'real'. When the Sputnik was launched into its orbit, some communist papers
jeered that 'it hasn't found God out there'.

It seems quite natural that we should not have our world peopled with 'things
that are not real'. This very probably includes unicorns and the Yeti and
Bigfoot and witches and many other 'things' -- and maybe even God. This would
be a clean and orderly and reliable world, not that of Shakespeare or the
Middle Ages, which was full of strange creatures.

Well, but is 'Oedipus Complex' a 'real' thing? Or 'class struggle'? Some people
would fiercely defend them both, even as atheists. But they both may be as
imaginary and fanciful as any God.

And what about the rainbow? You cannot bag it in. It's only in the eye of the
beholder. Should we call this 'real'? But the rainbow is at least not purely
imaginary, but is a beautiful pattern of 'real' rays of light broken in the
tiny raindrops. In a similar way, 'Oedipus Complex' and 'class struggle' may be
'real' effects broken in some theories. Thus to dismiss 'Oedipus Complex' and
'class struggle' altogether as 'irreal' would screen some true insight from our
awareness. Could it be that removing God from our awareness would be a mistake
of a similar sort? I think so.

While I am a sceptic and a '95% naturalist' myself, if I had the option to
remove religion from the earth I would not do it. There are problems concerning
our human existence in this world that we should be sensitive to, and to sharpen
our awareness religion in any 'advanced' form (as compared to mere magic and
superstition) may be as essential as is good literature or a good work of art
or good music.

The world of humans is too complicated by far to be left to the 'dumb
scientists'. Why do we read novels or go to the cinema and the theater or
attend a talk show or exchange with friends? Because we want to sharpen our
awareness of 'things humane'. We need to see all these human dramas and
tragedies and comedies to keep our understanding of what it means to be a human
in this world alive and sensitive.

The main function of religion is not to explain the world. To think that is an
example of what I call 'common nonsense'. To explain the world in a preliminary
and pre-scientific way is only one and a minor function of religion. The central
function of religion is to give meaning and perspective to our situation in the
world, to establish values and goals by which to get orientation for our plans
and deeds. This sort of orientation science cannot provide. But since humans
are not only thinking ('homo sapiens') but much more 'acting' and 'creative'
animals -- and not only re-acting ones -- they have to know why they should act
this way and not that way and what to defend and go for. No science will tell
them. We overestimate homo sapiens and underestimate homo creator, the creative
human seeking solutions to problems which are neither practical nor technical
nor scientific.

Morality does tell us in certain cases, but morality is not scientific, it's
value ridden. And most of our actions are not even moral actions in the first
place. To build a house or a family or to do a work of art is not a moral act,
but those are activities we can love or leave, no science will tell us, and no
morality either. But religion may do.

Well, religion may not tell us whether to build a house or a family, but
perhaps may tell us to become a monk or nun. Would this be bad? By what
standard? Who decides? Religion shows us some aspects of 'reality' which
science does not know of and which 'common sense' does not know of either.
Whatever we may think of the value of Christendom or Islam, the fact is: Both
have transformed the world of humankind in a very important way. Our Occidental
culture would be very different from what it is today without this strange rabbi
Jesus, whoever he may have been. In the same way the world of Asia and Africa
would be very different from what it is today without the impact of Muhammad.
Same with South East and East Asia without the impact of the Buddha.

Neither the Buddha nor Jesus nor Muhammad even tried to explain something which
science would explain better some day. To explain the physical nature of the
world was never the concern of these 'religious founding fathers'. Thus to
prove them wrong on scientific grounds is just missing the point. This of
course may be read the other way round too: To attack scientific findings by
religious arguments is missing the point likewise. As was said above: To
explain the physical nature of the world at no time was the main concern of any
great religion. Thus neither Darwinism nor Marxism nor Freudianism nor the
theories of Einstein are in contradiction with true Christian or Islamic or
Buddhist convictions. But they may be contradicting vested interests of those
who claim to be 'the faithful'.

And one more remark on 'reality'. Not only is the rainbow in the eye of the
beholder, not only beauty, but so are freedom and justice and progress and 'the
good': Should we skip them all because they are not jumping around on a meadow
like horses? No, they are guiding ideas of utmost importance, even while they
are not 'real' in the sense an atom is. We all have to do some ontology then
and now and accept that the question of what 'reality' means can be very
difficult.

Our modern scientific approach tends to dismiss everything which seems not
'methodologically sound'. But images and symbols and 'theory generated
concepts' like 'Oedipus Complex' and 'class struggle' all show some important
aspects of reality that are missed by scientific methodology. The world of
humans is not the world of the physical labs.

The world of humans is what Dante in the opening sentences of the 'Inferno'
(1st part of Divina Commedia) depicted as 'a dark wood', a symbol standing for
error and sin and confusion where we get lost until some 'light shineth in the
darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not'. (John 1,5) The 'Pilgrims
Progress' from Inferno through Purgatorio to Paradiso is something no science
would ever have suggested, but it is something very characteristic of the human
striving for the good, for getting out of the dark wood and its many fearful
dangers that life is, to something where light and clarity and eternal peace
abound.

Et lux aeterna luceat eis (Let eternal light shine upon them). You cannot
approach the Christian requiem (see
http://members.chello.se/hansdotter/requiem.html) or mass with physical or
logical devices. It would be meaningless. This text is not science, this is not
even Antiquity, but it is what made up the Occidental tradition (think of the
masses of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and many others) and one of the
great visions of humankind and of human self-understanding and of understanding
the world we live in. Should we call it 'real'? Who decides? By what standard?

It's not all physics and math and 'common sense'. But it's all human. It's
about the greatness of human humility. And by this it's even far above
Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud. Man is not that simple an animal.

(c) Hubertus Fremerey 2006

E-mail: hubertus@fremerey.net

-=-

III. 'JOHN ARGYROPOULOS TEACHER OF LEONARDO DA VINCI' BY FOTIS VASSILEIOU AND
BARBARA SARIBALIDOU

Medieval European philosophy on higher education

 Introduction

The fifteenth century is characterized by the revival of Greek Studies. Seven
hundred years before Great Alfred, King of England, translated in English works
of Aristotle and Plato (based on Latin text of Boethius)[1]. John of Salisbury
was the first person to teach the Aristotle's Nuova Logica in Europe[2]. There
were many scholars, teachers and philosophers who escaped from Greece (the land
of terror during the Turkish Empire expansion) to Italy (the land of freedom).
Most of them taught in the schools of Florence, Venice and Rome[3].

One of those 'immigrant' teachers was John Argyropoulos, a man who came from a
Greek family environment, moved to Italy, faced war conflicts around him and
taught people coming from all over the Europe to learn from him.

Argyropoulos was born to be a lecturer. Academic work was his great love. Among
his students we can find today many geniuses, academics, scientists, scholars,
philosophers, politicians and authors. Many of them are famous others not.
After all he dealt with sciences, researches, politics, ethics, authoring,
teaching and philosophy. Definitely we have to reckon with a very productive
personality. His academic and scientific work is still under the eye of
research. But what is the ultimate reason one should remember him? He was one
of Da Vinci's teachers. This is bound to be an important issue in researching
him.

 What was the historical background?

Around the fifteenth century the Greek territories were in difficult situation
because of war. Many Byzantines began to look the Christian West as a possible
escape. Thomas Palaeologus (Despot of Morea and brother of Constantine XI the
Emperor) arrived in Rome in March 1461 and threw himself under the mercy of
Pope Pius II. His daughter Zoe married the Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow in
1472 (Ivan the Great) [4].

In this period the Greek population expansion to Italy was rapidly growing.
This was the basic reason for the declaration of Cardinal Bessarion (in 1478):
'Venice is almost another Byzantium'[5]. Such emigrants were Theodore Gaza,
George of Trebizond, Demetrius Chalcocondyles and John Argyropoulos.

Finally, it is highly important to remember that those days were established
many Academies and Universities[6]: University of Cambridge 1441, University of
Bordeaux 1441, University of Catania 1444, University of Glasgow 1451,
University of Valencia 1452, University of Graifsvald 1453, University of Basel
1459, University of Nantes 1460, University of Bourg 1461, University of
Bratislava 1462, University of Saragossa 1474, University of Magontsa 1476 and
University of Uppsala 1477. Many Universities were founded and of course a lot
of scientific and philosophical work has survived from those years to now.

 Who actually was John Argyropoulos?

John Argyropoulos was born in Greece (Constantinople) in 1415 and died in Rome
(Papal States) on 26th of June 1487[7].

Mr. Dimitris Giakos (Hon. Director of Ministry of Culture in Greece) with Mr.
Christos Theologou and Mrs. Emilia Xanthopoulou gave us a very comprehensive
analysis of Argyropoulos' life[8]. Argyropoulos studied theology and philosophy
in Constantinople. After the Fall of Constantinople he went to Patavio (Italy)
and worked as a teacher in the Universities of Patavio, Florence and Rome. He
taught Greek Philosophy, Literature and Poetry. He also gave his efforts to
transporting Greek Philosophy to Western Europe. It was the best timing for
that. Many people were interested in studying Greek and Roman Philosophy in
those days.

Here is the place we have to remember the expression 'Sacro nectare' (sacred
nectar of the Greeks) from the philosophical dissertation 'De Divisione
Naturae' (860-866) by Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Irish theologian and
philosopher of the ninth century[9]. After the total Fall of Byzantine Empire
(Fall of Moreas) Argyropoulos moved permanently to Italy. Argyropoulos studied
philosophy in Patavio as well. He had students such as Peter and Laurent of
Medici. It is well known until today that students hailing from different part
of Europe came to see and hear of him at those classes, when he taught Greek or
Philosophy courses.

Generally we can say that he was teacher of Ancient Greek Philosophy and member
of the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence. He left a number
of Latin translations, including many of Aristotle's works, but his real
importance lies in his work as a teacher in Italy[10].

He translated Greek philosophical and theological works into Latin besides
producing rhetorical and theological works in his own[11]. He divided his time
between Italy and Constantinople. When Constantinople fell in 1453 he left it
for the Peloponnesus and in 1456 took refuge in Italy[12]. Actually he was an
official in the service of one of the rulers of the Byzantine Morea and he was
sent to Italy on a diplomatic mission[13].

 A general view of his work and his pupils

His basic authoring work consists basically of the following books:

In Greek: 'On Aristotelian Philosophy', 'Introduction and remarks on Porfirius
and Aristotelian Organon', 'On Royalty to Emperor Constantine'. In Latin:
'Comentaria in Ethica Nicomachea'. We can also count in his work many poems,
letters, notes and translations to Modern Greek from Ancient Greek language as
well as a lot of translations of Aristotle's works to Latin. His academic and
philosophical work contains teaching and not only authoring activities. But
what we actually know today about his students?

Leonardo da Vinci (Born April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy, and died in May 2, 1519
in Cloux, France) was an Italian Renaissance architect, musician, anatomist,
inventor, engineer, sculptor, geometer, and painter. He has been described as
the archetype of the 'Renaissance man' and as a universal genius, a man both
infinitely curious and infinitely inventive. The first known biography of
Leonardo was published in 1550 by Giorgio Vasari who wrote Vite de' piu
eccelenti architettori, pittori e scultori italiani ('The lives of the most
excellent Italian architects, painters and sculptors'), and later became an
independent painter in Florence. Most of the information collected by Vasari
was from first-hand accounts of Leonardo's contemporaries, (Vasari was only a
child when Leonardo died), and it remains the first reference in studying
Leonardo's life[14].

Leonardo Da Vinci attended the lectures of John Argyropoulos[15]. This is
something that Geanakoplos also referred in his research work[16]. It is a
necessary to read Deno Geanakoplos book titled 'Constantinople and the West:
Essays on the Late Byzantine (Paleologan) and Italian Renaissances and the
Byzantine and Roman Churches' to understand who Argyropoulos was and to realize
his significance. This is the most relevant book to the study of the life of
Argyropoulos.

Geanakoplos wrote:

     'Argyropoulos was the leading Byzantine expert on Greek
     philosophy and of Greek mechanical literature (eg the
     pseudo-Mechanica of Aristotle); the entire edifice of
     western engineering is based on the transmission of Greek
     manuscripts on engineering which entered Italy at this
     time. It is only when it is realised that the Medici, and
     their sponsorship of the arts was a direct result of their
     encounter with the Greeks from Byzantium that the
     importance of this period is best appreciated. Again it is
     Argyropoulos who became friends with Cosimo de Medici. It
     was under Cosimo's patronage that Argyropoulos taught in
     Florence and it was Argyropoulos who Cosimo chose to be the
     tutor of his grandson Lorenzo de Medici, who has come to be
     known to us as 'Lorenzo the Magnificent' and under whose
     reign the Renaissance bloomed in Florence. It is only when
     it is realised that the Medici and their encouragement of
     intellect was founded on these Greek emigres (Gemistos
     Plethon, Argyropoulos and others) that the contribution of
     Byzantine Greeks to the Italian Renaissance can ever be
     properly appreciated. The Greeks, rather than being
     irrelevant to the West were the foundation upon which was
     built the pursuit of knowledge which ended the closed
     mediaeval mindset of the west European dark ages that had
     prevailed until then.'

John Argyropoulos copied an anonymous chronicle which he found in Venice.
Theodore Skoutariotes is believed to be the writer of this chronicle.
Skoutariotes was an ecclesiastical official and Metropolitan of Kyzikos
(1277-1282)[17].

When Argyropoulos was teaching in Constantinople, he had among his pupils the
scholar Constantine Lascaris. In 1439 he was in Italy for the Council of
Florence and spent some time teaching in Padua. He was professor of Greek in
Florence and in 1471 moved to Rome, where he continued teach Greek until his
death[18].

Demetrius Chalcocondyles replaced John Argyropoulos. He was born in Athens in
1424 (his brother was Chalcocondyles Laonicus -- the only Athenian Byzantine
writer). In 1447 he migrated to Italy, where Cardinal Bessarion gave him his
patronage. He became teacher of Greek letters and Platonic philosophy. In 1463
he was made professor at Padua, and in 1479 he was summoned by Lorenzo de
Medici to Florence to fill the professorship vacated by John Argyropoulos. In
1492 he removed to Milan, where he died in 1511. Demetrius Chalcondyles
published the editio princeps of Homer, Isocrates, Suidas and a Greek grammar
(Erotemata) in the form of question and answer[19].

 Conclusion

The Greek emigres who reached Italy during the fifteenth century played by all
means an important part in spreading knowledge of the classical Greek language
and ancient Greek literature. This was one of the factors for the robust
development of education and philosophy all around Europe called Renaissance.

John Argyropoulos is undoubtedly a part of this European history. It is almost
unknown that he was teacher of many scholars and philosophers such as Leonardo
Da Vinci. This article was an effort to generally summarize information
regarding his life and work.

 Footnotes

1. Prof. George Markou, 'The Ancient Greek contribution on the shaping of
Medieval Europe', Periplous Publications, Athens, 2001

2. Prof. Anny Baldiserra, 'The sacred nectar of the Greeks', Radio Broadcast in
Italy and United States.

3. 'The History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire', Gibbon Edward,
Methuen, London, 1926

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia

5. 'Byzantines in Renaissance Italy', Jonathan Harris, Hellenic Institute-Royal
Halloway/ University of London, Surrey, 2002

6. Prof. George Markou, 'The Ancient Greek contribution on the shaping of
Medieval Europe', Periplous Publications, Athens, 2001

7. 'Argyropoulos, John'. Episteme Links. 2006.
http://www.epistemelinks.com/Main/Philosophers.aspx?PhilCode=Argy

8. Christos Theologou/ Emilia Xanthopoulos/ Dimitris Giakos, 'Biographical
Lexicon', Pagoulatou Publications, Athens.

9. Prof. Anny Baldiserra, 'The sacred nectar of the Greeks', Radio Broadcast in
Italy and United States

10. 'Argyropoulos, John' Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2006.
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocld=9002279

11. Foundation of the Hellenic World- Lexico of Late Byzantine Period.
http://www.fhw.gr/chronos/10/en/lexico/lexa.html

12. 'Argyropoulos, John' Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2006.
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocld=9002279

13. 'Byzantines in Renaissance Italy'.
http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/late/laterbyz/harris-ren.html

14. Leonardo da Vinci -- From Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci

15. Charles Nicholl, 'Leonardo da Vinci, The Flights of the mind', Penguin,
2005.

16. Deno Geanakoplos .'Constantinople and the West: Essays on the Late
Byzantine (Paleologan) and Italian Renaissances and the Byzantine and Roman
Churches', University of Wisconsin Press, 1989

17. http://www.fhw.gr/chronos/10/en/lexiko/lexs.html

18. 'Argyropoulos, John' Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2006.
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocld=9002279

19. 'CHALCIS.' LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia.  2003, 2004 LoveToKnow.
http://59.1911encyclopedia.org/C/CH/CHALCIS.htm

(c) Fotis Vassileiou and Barbara Saribalidou 2006

E-mail: vasfotis@yahoo.co.uk

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