Slike stranica

barbarians, declined. He valued Leo the more, and afterwards arranged his election as archbishop of Thessalonica (c. A.D. 840).1 The interest of Mamun in science and learning is an undoubted fact. He founded a library and an observatory at Baghdad;2 and under him and his successors many mathematical, medical, and philosophical works of the ancient Greeks appeared in Arabic translations.3 The charge that the Arabic geometers were unable to comprehend the demonstrations of Euclid is the calumny of a jealous Greek, but making every allowance for the embellishments with which a story-teller would seek to enhance the interest of his tale, we may accept it as evidence for the stimulating influence of Baghdad upon Byzantium and emulation between these two seats of culture. And in this connexion it is not insignificant that two other distinguished luminaries of learning in this age had relations with the Caliphate. We have seen how John the Patriarch and Photius were sent on missions to the East. Constantine the Philosopher is said to have been selected to conduct a dispute with learned Mohammadans on the doctrine of the Trinity, which was held by the Caliph's request.* The evidence for this dispute is unconvincing, yet the tradition embodies the truth that there was in the ninth century a lively intellectual interest among the Christians and the Mohammadans in the comparative merits of their doctrines. It is not impossible that there were cases of proselytism due not to motives of expediency but to conviction. The controversial interest is strongly marked in the version of the Acts of the Amorian Martyrs composed by Euodios,5

1 The date is inferred from the fact that he held the office for three years (Cont. Th. 192) and must have been deposed after the Council of Orthodoxy in 843.

2 Brockelmann, Geschichte der arab. Lit. i. 202. Cp. Gibbon, vi. 29 sqq. (and recent books mentioned in editorial note 67). For the sources of Abu-'l-Faraj and D'Herbelot, on whom Gibbon relies, cp. M. Steinschneider, "Die arabischen Übersetzungen aus dem Griechischen," in Beihefte zum Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, v. pp. 11, 13 (1889).

3 Ib. Balabakhi, c. 835, who became a Christian, translated from Euclid, Heron, and other mathema

ticians (ib. 204). Mohammad ibn Musa (al-Khwarizmi), who belongs to this period, wrote treatises on algebra and arithmetic, which, translated into Latin, were much used in Europe in the later Middle Ages (216). Tabit ibn Kurra (born 836), a distinguished mathematician, translated into Arabic the 5th book of the Conic Sections of Apollonius of Perge (217). Hunain ibn Ishak (born 809) translated works of Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates (205-206).

4 Vita Const. c. 6. See above, p. 394. 5 He seems to have been well acquainted with Islam and to have known the Koran. One of the Mohammadan arguments was the

but the great monument of the concern which the creed of Islam caused to the Greeks is the Refutation of Mohammad by Nicetas of Byzantium, a contemporary of Photius.1 The fanaticism of the two creeds did not exclude mutual respect. We have an interesting instance in the friendship of Photius with an Emir of Crete. The Patriarch, says one of his pupils, writing to the Emir's son and successor, "knew well that though difference in religion is a barrier, yet wisdom, kindness, and the other qualities which adorn and dignify human nature attract the affection of those who love fair things; and therefore, notwithstanding the difference of creeds, he loved your father, who was endowed with those qualities." 2

When Leo, as an iconoclast, was deposed from his see, he resumed the profession of teaching, and during the regency of Theodora there were three eminent masters at Constantinople -Leo, Photius, and Constantine. It was to Theoktistos that Constantine owed the official chair of philosophy which he was induced to accept; but Leo and Photius belonged to the circle of Bardas, who seems to have had a deeper and sincerer interest in intellectual things than either Theophilus or Theoktistos. To Bardas belongs the credit-and his enemies freely acknowledge it of having systematically undertaken the task of establishing a school of learning. In fact, he revived, on new lines and apparently on a smaller scale, the university of Constantinople, which had been instituted by Theodosius II., and allowed to decay and disappear under the Heraclian and Isaurian dynasties. Leo was the head of this school of advanced studies, which was known as the School of Magnaura, for rooms in the palace of Magnaura were assigned for the purpose. His pupils Theodore, Theodegios, and Kometas became the professors of geometry, astronomy, and philology.5

wonderful success of Moslem arms. Cp. Acta 42 mart. Amor. 102. The disputations in Vita Const. cc. 6 and 11 were probably intended for the edification of Bulgarian ecclesiastics.

1 This treatise is published in Migne, P.G. 105. Cp. Krumbacher, G.B.L. 79; and ib. 78 for Bartholomew of Edessa, whose controversial work (Migne, 104, 1383 sqq.), of uncertain date, shows great knowledge.

2 Nicolaus Mysticus, Ep. 2 (Migne, P.G. 111. p. 37).

3 Cont. Th. 185; he used often to attend the demonstrations (ib. 192). From the passage 184-185, one would infer that the school of Magnaura was founded by the influence of Bardas before the fall of Theoktistos. He endowed it richly (ib. dayıλws ἐπαρκῶν).

4 Ib. τῆς κατὰ τὴν Μαγναύραν φιλοσόφου σχολῆς.

5 Ib. τῆς τὰς φωνὰς ἐξελληνιζούσης γραμματικῆς. Arethas seems to have taken down a lecture of Leo on

The intensity of this revival of profane studies, and the new prestige which they enjoyed, might be illustrated by the suspicious attitude of a monk like the Patriarch Ignatius towards secular learning. But the suspicion which prevailed in certain ecclesiastical or monastic circles is violently expressed in a venomous attack upon Leo the Philosopher after his death by one Constantine, a former pupil, who had discovered the wickedness of Hellenic culture. The attack is couched in elegiacs, and he confesses that he owed his ability to write them to the instruction of Leo:


I, Constantine, these verses wrought with skill,
Who drained the milk of thy dear Muse's rill.
The secrets of thy mind I searched and learned,
And now, at last, their sinfulness discerned.

He accuses his master of apostasy to Hellenism, of rejecting Christ, of worshipping the ancient gods of Greece :

Teacher of countless arts, in worldly lore
The peer of all the proud wise men of yore,
Thy soul was lost, when in the unhallowed sea
Thou drankest of its salt impiety.

The shining glory of the Christian rite

With its fair lustrous waters, the awful might
Of the great sacrifice, the saintly writ,—
Of all these wonders recking not one whit,
Into the vast and many-monster'd deep-
Of heathen Greece did thy fair spirit leap,
The prey of soul-devouring beasts to be.
Who would not pity and make moan for thee?

Then a chorus of good Christians is invited to address the

c. lxi. sqq.
The verses are quite good,
for the period.

2 See below, p. 441, n. 4. Leo had two pupils named Constantine-the Slavonic apostle (see above, p. 394) and the Sicilian. The latter is doubtless

Euclid vi. def. 5. See J. L. Heiberg, Der byz. Mathematiker Leon, in Bibliotheca mathematica, i. 2, 34 sqq. (1887), where attention is also drawn to a note at the end of the Florentine MS. of the treatise of Archimedes on the Quadrature of the Parabola : εὐτυχοίης, Λέον γεωμέτρα, πολλοὺς εἰς λυκάβαντας ἴοις πολὺ φίλτατε Μούσαις. Leo is to be distinguished from Leo Magister, a diplomatist in the reign of Leo VI.; cp. de Boor, B.Z. 10, 63.

1 Printed with the works of Leo VI. (surnamed o oopós and hence confused with the Philosopher) in Migne, 107,

the pupil in question. He wrote good Anacreontics (conveniently accessible in Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci, ed. 4, 348 sqq.). The ᾠδάριον ἐρωτικόν (351 sqq.) is pleasing. It begins:

ποταμοῦ μέσον κατεῖδον
ποτὲ τὸν γόνον Κυθήρης,
ἐνενήχετο προπαίζων
μετὰ Νηΐδων χορείης.

apostate who had made Zeus his divinity, in the following


Go to the house of gloom, yea down to hell,
Laden with all thine impious lore, to dwell
Beside the stream of Pyriphlegethon,

In the fell plain of Tartarus, all undone.
There thy Chrysippus shalt thou haply spy,
And Socrates and Epicure descry,

Plato and Aristotle, Euclid dear,
Proclus,1 and Ptolemy the Astronomer,2
Aratus, Hesiod, and Homer too

Whose Muse is queen, in sooth, of all that crew.3


The satire was circulated, and evoked severe criticism. The author was sharply attacked for impiety towards his master, and some alleged that he was instigated by Leo's enemies to calumniate the memory of the philosopher. Constantine replied to these reproaches in an iambic effusion.1 He does not retract or mitigate his harsh judgment on Leo, but complacently describes himself as "the parricide of an impious master-even if the pagans (Hellenes) should burst with spite." 5 His apology consists in appealing to Christ, as the sole fountain of truth, and imprecating curses on all heretics and unbelievers. The spirit of the verses directed against Hellenists may be rendered thus:

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The sentiment is quite in the vein of the early Fathers of the Church; but it would not have displeased Xenophanes or Plato, and the most enthusiastic Hellenist could afford to smile at a display of such blunt weapons. The interest of the episode lies in the illustration which it furnishes of the vitality of secular learning ( Oúpalev σopía) in the ninth century. Though the charges which the fanatic brings against Leo may be exaggerations, they establish the fact that he was entirely preoccupied by science and philosophy and unconcerned about Christian dogma. The appearance of a man of this type is in itself significant. If we consider that the study of the Greek classics was a permanent feature of the Byzantine world and was not generally held to clash with orthodox piety, the circumstance that in this period the apprehensions of fanatical or narrow-minded people were excited against the dangers of profane studies confirms in a striking way our other evidence that there was a genuine revival of higher education and a new birth of enthusiasm for secular knowledge. Would that it were possible to speak of any real danger, from science and learning, to the prevailing superstitions! Danger there was none. Photius, not Leo, was the typical Byzantine savant, uniting ardent devotion to learning with no less ardent zeal for the orthodox faith.

Another sign of the revival of secular studies is the impression which some of their chief exponents made on the popular imagination-preserved in the stories that were told of Leo, of John the Patriarch, and of Photius. It was said that when Leo1 was archbishop of Thessalonica the crops failed and there was a distressing dearth. Leo told the people not to be discouraged. By making an astronomical calculation he discovered at what time benignant and sympathetic influences would descend from the sky to the earth, and directed the husbandmen to sow their seed accordingly. They were amazed and gratified by the plenteousness of the ensuing harvest. If the chronicler, who tells the tale, perfunctorily observes that the result was due to prayer and not to the

1 That Leo was actually interested in the arts of discovering future events may be argued from the attribution to him of a μέθοδος προγνωστικὴ τοῦ ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου ἢ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου (Krum

bacher, G.B.L. 631) and of a fragmentary astrological treatise on Eclipses (published in Hermes, 8, 174 sqq., 1874), which is evidently copied from a work dating from the pre-Saracenic period.

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