Demetrius Chalcondyles

Demetrius Chalcocondyles or Demetrios Chalcocondylis or Chalcocondylas or Chalcondyles (1423 – 1511), born in Athens, was one of the most eminent Greek scholars in the West. He contributed also to Italian Renaissance literature. He was associated with Marsilius Ficinus, Angelus Politianus, and Theodorus Gaza in the revival of letters in the Western world. One of his pupils at Florence was the famous Johann Reuchlin. Demetrius belonged to one of the noblest Athenian families. He was a first cousin of the chronicler of the fall of Constantinople, Laonicus Chalcondyles, and the last of the Greek humanists who taught Greek literature at the great universities of the Italian Renaissance (Padua, Florence, Milan).

Life

He was from the Peloponnisos, where his Athenian family had moved after its persecution by the Florentine dukes. He was brought to Italy in 1447 by Cardinal Bessarion and arrived at Rome in 1449, where he became the student of Gaza and,later gained the patronage of Lorenzo de Medici, serving as a tutor to his sons. Chalcondylas spent the rest of his life as a teacher of Greek and philosophy at Perugia, Padua, Rome, Florence, and Milan. In 1463 he was made professor at Padua and later, in 1479 at Francesco Philelpho's suggestion, he took over the place of Ioannis Argyropoulos, as the head of the Greek Literature department and was summoned by Lorenzo de Medici to Florence. It was during his tenure at the Studium in Florence that Chalcondyles edited Homer for publication. He assisted Marsilio Ficino with his Latin translation of Plato. His edition of Homer, dedicated to Lorenzo, Piero de' Medici's son, is his major accomplishment. Finally, invited by Ludovico Sforza, he moved to Milan (1491/1492), where he taught until he died.

Work

He wrote in Ancient Greek the grammar handbooks "Summarized Questions of the Eight Parts of Word After Their Rules" (Ερωτήματα Συνοπτικά Τον Οκτώ Του Λόγου Μερών Μετά Τινών Κανόνων). He translated Galen's "Anatomy" into Latin.

As a scholar, Chalcondyles published the "editio princeps" of Homer, ('Ομήρου τα Σωζόμενα', Florence, 1488), Isocrates, (Milan, 1493) and the "Suda" (Σούδα), the Byzantine lexicon (1494).

*Greek Grammar, edited 1546 by Melchior Volmar in Basel
*Latin translation of the "Anatomical Procedures" of Galen, edited and published in 1529 by Jacopo Berengario da Carpi
*1488, "editio princeps" of Homer's "Ilias" and "Odyssey", "Poiesis Hapasa", edited by Bernardus Nerlius and Demetrius Chalcondylas, appeared in Florence, not before 13 January 1489, in two folio volumes. It was the first Greek book to be printed in Florence. The Greek type used to print the 1488-89 Homer is believed to have been cast by the Cretan Demetrius Damilas from the type that he had used to print Constantinus Lascaris’ "Erotemata" (Milan, 1476), the first book to be printed entirely in Greek, based upon the hand of Damilas’s fellow scribe Michael Apostolis.

References

*1911
*Proctor, "the Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth-Century", pp. 66-69.

ee also

*Byzantine scholars in Renaissance


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