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Demetricocondyles or Demetrios Chalcocondylis (Greek: Δημήτριος Χαλκοκονδύλης) or Chalcocondylas or Chalcondyles (1424 – 1511), was a Greek humanist, scholar and Professor who taught the Greek language in Italy for over forty years; at Padua, Perugia, Milan and Florence. Among his pupils were Janus Lascaris, Poliziano, Leo X, Castiglione, Giraldi, Stefano Negri, and Giovanni Maria Cattaneo, 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. Chalcondyles published the first printed publications of Homer in (1488), of Isocrates in (1493), and of the Suda lexicon in (1499). In 1463 Demetrius Chalcondyles delivered an exhortation for crusade and the recovery and liberation of his homeland Greecemarker from the invading Ottoman Turks. He was one of the most eminent Greek scholars in the West and also contributed to Italian Renaissance literature and was the last of the Greek humanists who taught Greek literature at the great universities of the Italian Renaissance (Padua, Florence, Milan).


Demetrius Chalcondyles was born in Athensmarker in 1424 of Greek ancestry, and belonged to one of the noblest Athenian families and was a first cousin of the chronicler of the fall of Constantinople, Laonicus Chalcondyles. He soon moved to the Peloponnisosmarker, with his Athenian family who had migrated after its persecution by the Florentinemarker dukes. He migrated to Italy in 1447 and arrived at Romemarker in 1449 where Cardinal Bessarion became his patron. He became the student of Theodorus 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 Perugiamarker, Paduamarker, Romemarker, Florencemarker, and Milanmarker. One of Demetrius Chalcondyles Italian pupils described his lectures at Perugia in 1450 and wrote:

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 Florencemarker. Demetrius Chalcondyles composed orations and treatises calling for the liberation of his homeland Greecemarker from what he called “the abominable, monstrous, and impious barbarian Turks.” In 1463 Chalcondyles called on Venicemarker and “all of the Latins” to aid the Greeks against the Ottomans, he identified this as an overdue debt and reminded the Latins how the Byzantine Greeks once came to Italy’s aid against the Goths in the Gothic Wars (535-53 C.E.):

Gravestone, in Milan.

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. Demetrius Chalcondyles got married in 1484 at the age of sixty-one and fathered ten children. His edition of Homer, dedicated to Lorenzo, Piero de' Medici's son, is his major accomplishment. Finally, invited by Ludovico Sforza, he moved to Milanmarker (1491/1492), where he taught until he died.


He wrote in Ancient Greek the grammar handbooks "Summarized Questions of the Eight Parts of Word After Their Rules" (Ἐρωτήματα συνοπτικὰ τῶν ὀκτὼ τοῦ λόγου μερῶν μετὰ τινῶν κανόνων). He translated Galen's Anatomy into Latin.

As a scholar, Chalcondyles published the editio princeps of Homer, ('Ὁμήρου τὰ σωζόμενα', Florence, 1488), Isocrates, (Milan, 1493) and the Suda (Σοῦδα), the Byzantine lexicon (1499).



  • Proctor, the Printing of Greek in the Fifteenth-Century, pp. 66–69.
  • Vassileiou, Fotis & Saribalidou, Barbara, Short Biographical Lexicon of Byzantine Academics Immigrants to Western Europe, 2007.

See also

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