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account :of tHe extraordinary amount of knowledge which he possessed in nearly all the branches of science ; and the great number of writings which he left prove that his surname was by no means mere flattery. Gemistus was one of the deputies of the Greek church that were present at the council of Florence, held in 1438, under pope Eu-genius IV., for the purpose of effecting a union between the Latin and Greek churches. Gemistus at first was rather opposed to that union, since his opinion on the nature of the Holy Ghost differed greatly from the belief of the Romish church, but he afterwards gave way, and, without changing his opinion on that subject, was active in promoting the great object of the council. The union, however, was not accomplished. Gemistus was still more renowned as a philosopher than as a divine. In those times the philosophy of Aristotle was prevalent, but it had degenerated into a mere science of words. Disgusted with scholastic philosophy, Gemistus made Plato the subject of long and deep study, and the propagation of the Platonic philosophy became henceforth his principal aim : the celebrated cardinal Bessarion was one of his numerous disciples. During his stay at Florence he was introduced to Cosmo de Medici ; and having succeeded in persuading this distinguished man of the superiority of the system of Plato over that of Aristotle, he became the leader of a new school of philosophy in the West. Plato's philosophy became fashionable at Florence, and had soon gained so much popularity in Italy as to overshadow entirely the philosophy of Aristotle. But Gemistus and his disciples went too far : it was even said that he had attempted to substitute Pla-tonismfor Christianism; and before the end of the century Plato had ceased to be the model of Italian philosophers. Gemistus is, nevertheless, justly considered as the restorer of Platonic philosophy in Europe. He was, of course, involved in numberless controversies with the Aristotelians, in the West as well as in the East, among whom Georgius, of Trebizond, held a high rank, and much bitterness and violence were displayed on each side. In 1441 Gemistus was again in the Peloponnesus as an officer of the emperor : he was then advanced in years. He is said to have lived one hundred years, but we do not know when he died.
Gemistus wrote a surprising number of scientific works, dissertations, treatises, compilations, &c. concerning divinity, history, geography, philosophy, and miscellaneous subjects. Several of them have been printed. The principal are : —
Ec twv AioSoJpov Kal H\ovrdpxov, irfpl r&v rvlv ev Wlavnveiq /udxyv, ev K6(pa\aiois 8/rf-atj\|/is, being extracts of Diodorus Siculus and Plu-tarchus, which are better known under their Latin title, De Gestis Graecorum post pugnam ad Man-tineam Duobus Libris Diyesta. Editions : — The Greek text, Venice, 1503, fol.; a Latin translation, by Marcus Antonius Antimachus, Basel, 1540, 4to. ; the Greek text, together with Herodotus Basel, 1541; the Greek text, by Zacharias Orthus, professor at the university of Greifswald, Rostock, 1575, 8vo.; the same by professor Reichard, under the title Fewpyiov repiffrov rod Kal TL\^9<avos 'EAA^i/cdDj/ Bi€\ia B, Leipzig, 1770, 8vo. There are French, Italian, and Spanish translations of this book. ' . 2. • Hei EiJtaiAerris De Fafo, Edition : —
With a Latin translation, and Bessarion's epistle on the same subject, by H. S. Reimarus, Leiden, 1722, 8vo.
3. Uepl 'ApcTcw', De Virtutibus. Editions:—?• The text, together with some of the minor works of the author, Antwerp, 1552, fol.; with a Latin translation, by Adolphus Orcanus, Basel, 1552,: 8vo.; by H. Wolphius, Jena, 1590, 8vo.
4. Orationes duae de Rebus Peloponnesiacis con-stituendis, one addressed to the emperor Manuel Palaeologus, and the other to the despot Theodoras. Ed. with a Latin translation, together with the Editio Princeps of the Eclogae of Stobaeus, by G. Canterus, Antwerp, 1.575, fol.
5. Tlepl $v 'ApfOToreArjs irpbs HXartava, 8ta</>e-perat, De Platonicae atque Aristotelicae PMlosophiae Differentia. Ed.:—The Greek text, with a Latin paraphrase, by Bernardinus Donatus,Venice, 1532, 8vo.; the same, with a dissertation of Donatus on the same subject, ib. 1540, 8vo.; the same, with the same dissertation, Paris, 1541, 8vo.; a Latin translation, by G. Chariandrus, Basel, 1574, 4to. This is one of his most remarkable works.
5. MayiKa \oyia r<£v o.tto Ztapodffrpov Qtiyn-eevra. The Greek title differs in the MSS.: the work is best known under its Latin title, Oracula Magica Zoroastris, and is an essay on the religion of the ancient Persians. Ed.:—The text, with a Latin translation, by T. Opsopoeus, Paris, 1599, 8vo. ; by Thryllitsch, Leipzig, 1719, 4to.
Besides these works, Gemistus made extracts of Appian's Syriaca* his object being to elucidate the history of the Macedonian kings of Syria ; of Theophrastus (History of Plants) ; Aristotle (History of Animals, &c.); Diodorus Siculus (with regard to the kingdoms of Assyria and Media) ; Xenophon, Dionysiils Halicarnasseus, and several other writers, whose works are either partly or entirely lost. He further wrote Prolegomena Artis Rhetoricae, Funeral Orations (G. Gemistii sive Plethonjs et Michaelis Apostolii Orationes Fune-bres Duae, in quibus de Immortalitate Animae ex-ponitur, nunc primum ex MSS. editae, by Professor Fulleborn, Leipzig, 1793, 8vo.) ; Essays on Music, Letters to Cardinal Bessarion, and other celebrated contemporaries, &c. &c., which are extant in MS. in different libraries of Europe. His geographical labours deserve particular notice. The Royal Library at Munich has a MS. of Gemistus, entitled AiaypaQri dirdffris TleXoirovvrfaov irapa\tov Kal tAeffoyeiov, being a description of the Peloponnesus, in which he fixes the positions according to the system of Ptolemy, with the writer's own corrections and additions. Gemistus wrote also a Topography of Thessaly, and two small treatises, the one on the form and size of the globe, and the other on some geographical errors of Strabo, which are contained in the Anecdota of Siebenkees. La-porte Dutheil, the translator of Strabo, derived considerable advantage from extracts of Gemistus, from the 7th, 8th, and llth book of Strabo ; and the celebrated Latin edition of Ptolemy, published in 1478, and dedicated to pope Sixtus IV., by Calderino, was revised after an ancient Greek MS. of Ptolemy, in which Gemistus had written his corrections. A publication of all the different in-edited MSS. of Gemistus extant in various libraries in Europe would be most desirable: the classical no less than the Oriental scholar would derive equal advantage from such an undertaking. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec, vol. viii.;p, 79, not. dd, xii* p. 85