In early Byzantine times the Academy ofAthens (q.v.) was the center of philosophical inquiry, especially of Neoplatonism (q.v.) as taught by Proklos and his student Ammonios of Alexandria (q.v.). Ammonios's students included Damaskios and John Philoponos (q.v.), whose attacks on Aristotle's (q.v.) cosmology prefigured later attacks by Galileo. When Justinian I (q.v.) closed the Academy of Athens in 529, Damaskios and six other philosophers sought refuge in Persia (q.v.). Justinian allowed them to return to the empire in 532 with the promise that they would not be harassed. Despite the church's suspicion of Neoplatonism, its impact on theology can be seen in the writings of the so-called Pseudo-Dionysios the Areopagite, also in those of John of Damascus (qq.v.). Prior to the revival of education in the 11th century, Leo the Mathematician, Photios, and Arethas of Caesarea (qq.v.) kept philosophical studies alive. The University of Constantinople, revived by Constantine XI (q.v.), included a school of philosophy led by Psellos (q.v.), whose interests lay chiefly in Neoplatonism. However, Psellos's pupil John Italos (q.v.) focused on Aristotle, as did Italos's students Eustratios of Nicaea and Michael of Ephesus (qq.v.). In the Palaiologan (q.v.) period, philosophical studies flourished under George Akropolites (a student of Nikephoros Blemmydes), George Pachymeres, Theodore Metochites, Nikephoros Choumnos, and Nikephoros Gregoras (qq.v.). Even on the eve of Byzantium's (q.v.) extinction, Neoplatonic studies continued under Bessarion and George Gemistos Plethon (q.v.). Plethon so impressed Cosimo de'Medici at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (q.v.) that Cosimo founded the Platonic Academy. Gennadios II Scholarios (q.v.) defended Aristotle against Plethon's criticism, in addition to defending Thomas Aquinas (q.v.).

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .


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