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John Argyropulos

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John Argyropulos

John Argyropoulos
Ἰωάννης Ἀργυρόπουλος
Born John Argyropoulos
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died 1487
Florence, Republic of Florence
Occupation Scholar, politician, diplomat, philosopher
Ethnicity Greek[5]
Literary movement Italian Renaissance, Greek literature, philosophy, Aristotelianism

John Argyropoulos (1415 – 26 June 1487; Greek: Ἰωάννης Ἀργυρόπουλος, Ioannis Argiropoulos, Italian: Giovanni Argiropulo, surname also spelt Argyropulus, or Argyropulos, or Argyropulo) was a Greek[6] lecturer, philosopher and humanist, one of the émigré scholars who pioneered the revival of Classical learning in Western Europe in the 15th century.[7] He played a prominent role in the revival of Greek philosophy in Italy[8] and translated Greek philosophical and theological works into Latin besides producing rhetorical and theological works in his own. He divided his time between Italy and Constantinople.

Early life

John Argyropoulos was born in 1415 in Constantinople of Greek extraction.[9][10] Argyropoulos studied theology and philosophy in Constantinople. As a teacher there he had amongst his pupils the scholar Constantine Lascaris. He was an official in the service of one of the rulers of the Byzantine Morea and was sent on a diplomatic mission to Italy in 1439 to attend the Council of Florence.[11]

In 1444 he received a degree from the University of Padua before returning to Constantinople.[12]

When Constantinople fell in 1453 he left it for the Peloponnesus and in 1456 took refuge in Italy where he worked as a teacher in the revival of Greek philosophy in the universities of Padua, Florence and Rome and as head of the Greek department at Florence’s ‘Florentine Studium’ university.[13][14][15] In 1471, on the outbreak of the plague, he moved to Rome, where he continued to act as a teacher of Greek till his death.

He made efforts to transport Greek philosophy to Western Europe. He had students such as Pietro de' Medici and Lorenzo de' Medici, Angelo Poliziano and Johann Reuchlin.

It is well known that students hailing from different parts of Europe came to see and hear him at those classes, when he taught Greek and philosophy courses. Leonardo da Vinci probably attended the lectures of Argyropoulos[16] He was a member of the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence and left a number of Latin translations, including many of Aristotle's works. His principal works were translations of the following portions of Aristotle, —Categoriae, De Interpretatione, Analytica Posteriora, Physica, De Caelo, De Anima, Metaphysica, Ethica Nicomachea, Politica; and an Expositio Ethicorum Aristotelis. Several of his writings exist still in manuscript.

He died on June 26, 1487 at Florence, supposedly of consuming too much watermelon.

See also


  1. Fotis Vassileiou and Barbara Saribalidou in "John Argyropoulos teacher of Leonardo Da Vinci", Philosophy Pathways 117, 2006,
  2. Charles Nicholl, Leonardo Da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind, 2005,
  3. Fotis Vassileiou & Barbara Saribalidou, "Short Biographical Lexicon of Byzantine Academics Immigrants to Western Europe", 2007,


  • Encyclopædia Britannica, “John Argyropoulos”
  • Geanakoplos, Deno J., “Constantinople and the West: Essays on the Late Byzantine (Palaeologan) and Italian Renaissances and the Byzantine and Roman Churches”, University of Wisconsin Press, 1989, ISBN 0-299-11884-3
  • Geanakoplos, Deno J., 'A Byzantine looks at the Renaissance', Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies
  • Harris, Jonathan, 'Byzantines in Renaissance Italy', Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies
  • Fotis Vassileiou & Barbara Saribalidou, Short Biographical Lexicon of Byzantine Academics Immigrants to Western Europe, 2007, ISBN 978-960-93027-5-3
  • Nicholl Charles, “Leonardo Da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind”, Penguin Books Ltd, 2005, ISBN 0-14-029681-6
  • Vassileiou Fotis, Saribalidou Barbara, 'John Argyropoulos teacher of Leonardo da Vinci', Philosophy Pathways Issue 117, 19 May 2006, International Society for Philosophers
  • Vassileiou, Fotis & Saribalidou, Barbara, Short Biographical Lexicon of Byzantine Academics Immigrants in Western Europe, 2007.

External links

  • Mathematics Genealogy Project
  • seems to have mistakes in the years
  • Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes

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