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tion and politics which their virtually exclusive possession of letters procured for them in Western Europe.
The circumstance, however it may be explained, that the period from the Saracen invasion in the reign of Heraclius to the beginning of the ninth century is sterile in literary productions, must not be suffered to obscure the fact that the traditions of literary education were not interrupted. There rose no men of eminent secular learning; the Emperors did not encourage it; but Homer did not cease to be read. The ninth century witnessed a remarkable revival of learning and philosophy, and it is highly probable that at Constantinople this intellectual movement stimulated general education, improved its standards, and heightened its value in public opinion. It is to be noticed that our oldest Byzantine manuscripts of classical writers date from this century, the age of Photius, who stands out, not only above all his contemporaries, but above all the Greeks of the Middle Ages, as a scholar of encyclopaedic erudition.
It is, however, in the field of philosophy and science, more definitely than in that of literature and rhetoric, that we can speak of a revival of learning at this period. During the reign of Michael III, there were three eminent teachers of philosophy at Constantinople-Photius himself, Constantine who became the apostle of the Slavs, and Leo the mathematician. Both Leo and Constantine were official professors, endowed by the State, and the interest taken by the Court in science and learning is perhaps the greatest title of the Amorian dynasty to importance in the history of Byzantine civilisation. Since the age of Theophilus and Bardas, although some generations were not as fruitful as others, there was no interruption, no dark period, in the literary activity of the Greeks, till the final fall of Constantinople.
Theophilus was a man of culture, and is said to have been taught by John, whom he afterwards raised to the patriarchal throne, and who possessed considerable attainments in science and philosophy. His intimacy with the learned Methodius is also a sign of his interest in speculation. He seems to have realized what had not occurred to his pre
This did not escape Gibbon. "In the ninth century we trace the first
dawnings of the restoration of Science "
decessors, that it behoved a proud centre of civilisation like Byzantium to assert and maintain pre-eminence in the intellectual as well as in other spheres. Hitherto it had been taken for granted that all the learning of the world was contained within the boundaries of the Empire, and that the Greeks and Romans alone possessed the vessel of knowledge. Nobody thought of asking, Have we any great savants among us, or is learning on the decline? But the strenuous cultivation of scientific studies at Baghdad under the auspices of Harun and Mamun, and the repute which the Caliphs were winning as patrons of learning and literature, awakened a feeling at the Byzantine court that the Greeks must not surrender their pre-eminence in intellectual culture, the more so as it was from the old Greek masters that in many branches of science the Saracens were learning. If the reports of the magnificence of the palaces of Baghdad stimulated Theophilus to the construction of wonderful buildings in a new style at Constantinople, we may believe that Mamun's example brought home to him the idea that it was a ruler's duty to foster learning. We need not accept the story of the career of Leo, the philosopher and mathematician, as literally exact in all its details, but it probably embodies, in the form of an anecdote, the truth that the influence of suggestion was exercised by the court of Baghdad upon that of Byzantium.
Leo was a cousin of John the Patriarch. He had studied grammar and poetry at Constantinople, but it was in the island of Andros that he discovered a learned teacher who made him proficient in philosophy and mathematics.' Having visited many monastic libraries, for the purpose of consulting and purchasing books, he returned to Constantinople, where he lived poorly in a cheap lodging, supporting himself by teaching. His pupils were generally successful. One, to whom he had taught geometry, was employed as a secretary by a strategos, whom he accompanied in'a campaign in the East. He was taken prisoner and became the slave of a Saracen, who must have been a man of some importance at Baghdad and treated him well. One day his master's conversation turned
A monument of the cultivation of science about the time at which Leo was a youthful student exists in the Vatican Library: a manuscript of
Ptolemy's Geography, illustrated in the reign of Leo V. (perhaps at Constantinople) after an older MS. See Diehl, op. cit. 350.
on the Caliph, and he mentioned Mamun's interest in geometry. "I should like," said the Greek youth, "to hear him and his masters discourse on the subject." The presence in Baghdad of a Greek slave who professed to understand geometry came to the ears of Mamun, who eagerly summoned him to the Palace. He was confronted with the Saracen geometers. They described squares and triangles; they displayed a most accurate acquaintance with the nomenclature of Euclid; but they showed no comprehension of geometrical reasoning. At their request, he gave them a demonstration, and they inquired in amazement how many savants of such a quality Constantinople possessed. "Many disciples like myself" was the reply, "but not masters." "Is your master still alive?" they asked. Yes, but he lives in poverty and obscurity." Then Mamun wrote a letter to Leo, inviting him to come to Baghdad, offering him rich rewards, and promising that the Saracens would bow their heads to his learning. The youth, to whom gifts and honours and permission to return to his country were promised if he succeeded in his mission, was dispatched as ambassador to Leo. The philosopher discreetly showed the Caliph's letter to Theoktistos, the Logothete of the Course, who communicated the matter to the Emperor. By this means Leo was discovered, and his value was appreciated. Theophilus gave him a salary and established him as a public teacher, at the Church of the Forty Martyrs, between the Augusteon and the Forum of Constantine.'
Mamun is said to have afterwards corresponded with Leo, submitting to him a number of geometrical and astronomical problems. The solutions which he received rendered the Caliph more anxious than ever to welcome the eminent mathematician at his court, and he wrote to Theophilus begging him to send Leo to Baghdad for a short time, as an act of friendship, and offering in return eternal peace and 2000 pounds of gold (£86,400). But the Emperor, treating science as if it were a secret to be guarded like the manufacture of Greek fire, and deeming it bad policy to enlighten
In the Middle St. near the Forum of Constantine (ep. Theoph. 267, and Patria, 234). Acc. to Simeon (Add. Georg. 806), Theophilus established him in the palace of Magnaura; but Cont.
Th. 189 has evidently more precise information. In the following reign, Leo did teach in the Magnaura; see below.
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; and under him and his successors many mathematical, medical, and philosophical works of the ancient Greeks appeared in Arabic translations. 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 proselytis 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, 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).
The date is inferred from the fact that he held the oflice for three years (Cont. Th. 192) and must have been deposed after the Council of Orthodoxy in 843.
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 Tb. Balabakhi, c. 835, who became a Christian, translated from Euclid, Heron, and other mathema
Vita Const. c. 6. See above, p. 394. He seems to have been well ac quainted 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. 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.
wonderful success of Moslem arms. Cp. Acta 42 mart. Amor. 102. The disputations in lita Const. cc. 6 and 11 were probably intended for the edification of Bulgarian ecclesiastics.
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 (Migue, 101, 1383 sqq.), of uncertain date, shows great knowledge.
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 181-185, 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. dafixŵs ἐπαρκῶν).
* I. τῆς κατὰ τὴν Μαγναύραν φιλοσόφου σχολῆς.
5 1b. τῆς τὰς φωνὰς ἐξελληνιζούσης γραμματικῆς. Arethus seems to have taken down a lecture of Leo on