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Chrysoloras, Manuel

CHRYSOLORAS, MANUEL [or Emmanuel] (c. 1355-1415), one of the pioneers in spreading Greek literature in the West, was born at Constantinople of a distinguished family, which had removed with Constantine the Great to Byzantium. He was a pupil of Gemistus (q.v.). In 1393 he was sent to Italy by the emperor Manuel Palaeologus to implore the aid of the Christian princes against the Turks. He returned to Constantinople, but at the invitation of the magistrates of Florence he became about 1395 professor of the Greek language in that city, where he taught three years. He became famous as a translator of Homer and Plato. Having visited Milan and Pavia, and resided for several years at Venice, he went to Rome upon the invitation of Bruni Leonardo, who had been his pupil, and was then secretary to Gregory XII. In 1408 he was sent to Paris on an important mission from the emperor Manuel Palaeologus. In 1413 he went to Germany on an embassy to the emperor Sigismund, the object of which was to fix a place for the assembling of a general council. It was decided that the meeting should take place at Constance; and Chrysoloras was on his way thither, having been chosen to represent the Greek Church, when he died suddenly on the 15th of April 1415. Only two of his works have been printed, his Erotemata (published at Venice in 1484), which was the first Greek grammar in use in the West, and Epistolae III. de comparatione veteris et novae Romae.

John Chrysoloras, a relative of the above (variously described as his nephew, brother or son), who, like him, had studied and taught at Constantinople, and had then gone to Italy, shared Manuel's reputation as one of those who spread the influence of Greek letters in the West. His daughter married Filelfo (q.v.).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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