Μανουὴλ ὅ Χρυσόλωρας
), one of the most learned Greeks of his time, contributed to the revival of Greek literature in western Europe.
Towards the close of the fourteenth century the Greek empire was in the greatest danger of being overthrown by sultan Bayazid II., who, however, was checked in his ambitious designs by Timur, and being taken prisoner by him, died in captivity.
Before this event, and probably in A. D. 1389, Manuel Chrysoloras was sent by the emperor Manuel Palaeologus to some European kings (among others to the English), at whose courts he remained several years, endeavouring to persuade them to undertake a crusade against the Turks. His efforts, however, were unsuccessful, for the western princes had no confidence in the Greek emperor, nor in his promises to effect the union of the Greek with the Latin church. Having become acquainted with several of the most learned Italians, he accepted their proposition to settle in Italy and to lecture on the Greek language and literature.
This he did with great success in Venice, Florence, Milan (1397), Pavia, and Rome: his most distinguished pupils were Leonardo Aretino, Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciotini, Filelfo, Francisco Strozzi, and many more. His renown as a learned priest and eloquent orator were so great, that he was sent to the council of Constance, where he died a short time after his arrival, in the month of April, 1415.
He was buried in the church of the Dominicans at Constance, and Aeneas Sylvius wrote his epitaph, which is given in the works cited below.
Manuel Chrysoloras was the author of several treatises on religious subjects, and a considerable number of letters on various topics, which are extaut in different libraries in Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden. Only two of his works have been printed, viz.,
These letters are elegantly written.
The first is rather prolix, and is addressed to the emperor John Palaeologus; the second to John Chrysoloras; and the third to Demetrius Chrysoloras. This John Chrysoloras, the contemporary of Manuel and Demetrius Chrysoloras, wrote some treatises and letters of little importance, several of which are extant in MS.
The Greek text with a Latin version by Petrus Lambecius, appended to " Codices de Antiquitatibus Constantinop." Paris, 1665, fol.
This is a grammar of the Greek language, and one of the first that circulated in Italy.
Printed probably for the first time in 1488
, and frequently reprinted at the latter end of that century and the beginning of the next.
Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
xi. p. 409, &c.