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Byzantine and Italian City States

Byzantine and Italian City States

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Article about Byzantium and Italian City States
Article about Byzantium and Italian City States

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Journal of Early Modern History 14 (2010) 451-504

brill.nl/jemh

Between Chimera and Charybdis: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Views on the Political Organization of the Italian City-States
Vasileios Syros*
The University of Chicago

Abstract This article offers a detailed investigation of Byzantine and post-Byzantine perceptions of the political organization of the Italian city-states. Drawing on philosophical and historical writing produced by Byzantine and post-Byzantine authors between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, it identifies the main patterns and motifs that informed Byzantine discourse about the constitutional arrangements of such Italian cities as Genoa, Venice, Florence, and Milan. It shows how these come into play in the writings of major figures of Byzantine and post-Byzantine intellectual life such as Theodoros Metochites, John Kantakouzenos, Nikephoros Gregoras, George of Trebizond, Cardinal Bessarion, Laonikos Chalkokondyles, and John Kottunios. It also explores the ways in which the classical legacy of political thought was applied by Byzantine writers in their analysis of various constitutional forms. The findings of this survey provide new insights into cross-cultural exchanges between the Byzantine world and medieval and early modern Europe and the formation of Byzantine identity. Keywords Byzantine, medieval and early modern western intellectual and cultural history, cross-cultural exchanges between Byzantium and Italy, Byzantine historiography and political thought, constitutional history of medieval and early modern Italy; Italian city-states; “myth of Venice”; Italian humanism; reception of classical political thought * I would like to thank Christos Baloglou, Börje Bydén, Jonathan Harris, Walter Kaegi, Anthony Kaldellis, George Karamanolis, Dimitris Krallis, Stelios Lampakis, Leslie MacCoull, Dominic O’Meara, Chris Schabel, and Alfred Vincent for their insightful comments on early drafts of this paper.—Note on transliteration: I have used direct transliterations from the Greek for proper names (e.g. Kottunios instead of Cottunios), but I chose non-transliteration for names which have passed into English usage (e.g. John instead of Ioannes, George instead of Georgios, Matthew instead of Matthaios). In my transliteration of Greek names and terms, I have used ch for χ, d for δ, ē for η, g for γ, ō for ω, ou for ου, ph for φ, ps for ψ, th for θ, v for β, x for ξ, y for υ, z for ζ.
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/157006510X530089

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Introduction While there is a good deal of scholarship on the economic and diplomatic relations between Byzantium and medieval Italy, notably Genoa and Venice, the topic of Byzantines’ views about the political and constitutional arrangements of the medieval Italian city-states has to date been addressed in piecemeal fashion. This paper purports to fill this lacuna by examining the ways in which a number of major Byzantine and post-Byzantine political writers and historians contemplated the political organization of the Italian cities. A great multiplicity and diversity of sources could be consulted, such as popular legends or songs as well as political works advocating ideas reminiscent of the constitutional practices followed in the Italian city-states.1 However, this paper draws predominantly on philosophical and historical texts, as well as treatises with an ostensible political intent, written by Byzantine and post-Byzantine authors between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries. My specific objective is to cut a path through this terrain and offer a map of the chief positions, intellectual forces, and motifs operative in Byzantine discussions about Italian civic life. I will show how these come into play in the writings of seminal figures of Byzantine and post-Byzantine intellectual life such as Theodoros Metochites (1270-1332), John Kantakouzenos (1292-1383), Nikephoros Gregoras (ca. 1295-1359/60), George of Trebizond (1394-ca. 1472), Cardinal Bessarion (ca. 1400-1472), Laonikos Chalkokondyles (ca. 14231490?), and John Kottunios (1572-1657). In addition, my survey will investigate the ways in which classical political ideas were used and appropriated by Byzantine writers as they analyzed various constitutional forms and justified particular regime types. This piece represents the first detailed study of the Byzantine and postByzantine writers’ ideas on the political conditions that prevailed in mediFor songs, see, e.g., Manuela Dobre, “The Venetians in the 15th Century Byzantine People Songs,” Annuario dell’ Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica di Venezia 4 (2002): 69-81; Petros P. Kalonaros, Venice in the Legends and Songs of the Greek People (Athens, 1942) [in Greek]; Silvio G. Mercati, “Venezia nella poesia neo-greca,” in Italia e Grecia: Saggi su le due civiltà e i loro rapporti attraverso i secoli (Florence, 1939), 309-39, in Collectanea Byzantina, ed. Augusta Acconcia Longo (Bari, 1970), 2: 572-602. For political works, see Theodore Palaeologos’ (1382-1464) De regimine principis—Les enseignements de Théodore Paléologue, ed. Christine Knowles (London, 1983). See also the discussion in Teresa Shawcross, “‘Do Thou Nothing without Counsel’: Political Assemblies and the Ideal of Good Government in the Thought of Theodore Palaeologus and Theodore Metochites,” Al-Masāq 20 (2008): 89-118.
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eval and early modern Italy. It recovers and presents hitherto unknown or neglected material, such as Kottunios’ works and epigrams composed by Greeks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It brings new authors to the fore and identifies aspects of their writings that merit inclusion in the history of Byzantine and post-Byzantine political thought.

Classical Precedents and Sources Republic and Democracy Byzantine accounts of the constitutional organization of the Italian citystates were often framed in terms of comparisons with two ancient Greek patterns of political organization, democracy and the mixed constitution, even though the Byzantines’ knowledge of the political history of ancient Greece often comes out as inaccurate or defective.2 The great majority of Byzantine writers expressed a strong predilection for monarchy. Nonetheless, and although it would certainly be too great a stretch to affirm the existence of a distinct republican strain within the Byzantine political tradition, we do come across isolated defenses of republican or democratic ideas or of election as a precondition for healthy governance. Zosimos (Zosimus, who lived from the second half of the fifth century to the beginning of the sixth century) in his Historia Nova (New History) argues for the desirability of the Republic versus the Empire.3 John Lydos
2 Johannes Irmscher, “Die hellenische Polisideologie und die Byzantiner,” in Hellenische Poleis: Krise-Wandlung-Wirkung, ed. Elisabeth C. Welskopf (Berlin, 1974), 3: 1639-67; and, in general, Elizabeth M. Jeffreys, “The Attitudes of Byzantine Chroniclers towards Ancient History,” Byzantion 49 (1979): 199-238. On Byzantine views on the ancient Greek city-states, see Johannes Irmscher, “L’ideologia ellenica della polis e i Bizantini,” Byzantinische Forschungen 8 (1982): 71-85. Compare Michael Choniates’ (ca. 1140-1220) description of ancient Athens in Paul Speck, “Eine byzantinische Darstellung der antiken Stadt Athen,” Hellenika 28 (1975): 415-18, English trans. as “A Byzantine Depiction of Ancient Athens,” in idem, Understanding Byzantium: Studies in Byzantine Historical Sources, ed. Sarolta Takács (Aldershot, 2003), no. V (29-32). See also Silvio G. Mercati, “Intorno alla elegia di Michele Acominato sulla decadenza della città di Atene,” in Eis mnemen Spyridonos Lamprou (Athens, 1935), 423-27, in Collectanea Byzantina, 1: 483-88. 3 A suvey of middle Byzantine views of ancient Rome appears in Athanasios Markopoulos, “Roman Antiquarianism: Aspects of the Roman Past in the Middle Byzantine Period (9th-11th Centuries),” in Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, vol. 1: Plenary Papers, ed. Elizabeth Jeffreys (Aldershot, 2006), 277-97.

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(sixth century) exemplifies a group of early Byzantine writers who valued the benefits of elective versus hereditary monarchy and emphasized constitutional limitations and checks on royal authority. In his De Magistratibus reipublicae Romanae (On the Magistracies of the Roman Republic), Lydos makes a strong case for an elective king who would rule in accord with the laws and the consent of the best men and be solicitous for the welfare of his subjects. Lydos calls into question the legitimacy of the Roman emperors, glorifies the political freedom that characterized the Roman Republic, and strongly disapproves of Justinian’s reign, comparing it to that of the early kings of Rome and the rulers of the Republic.4 Aristotle’s doctrine of the sovereignty of the multitude seems to have appealed to some Byzantine writers. For instance, in his scholia on the Politics, Michael of Ephesus (1059-1129) draws on the Politics to argue that the Many will not engage in unjust actions towards the Few and rich, if they collectively operate like a single good and just man.5 In this way, he reasons, many men together combine various qualities and possess the sum of the virtue found in a good or the best man. Thus, they will not act unjustly towards the rich by confiscating and distributing the possessions of the latter among the poor.6 Though the people’s role in Byzantine politics was often nothing more than cosmetic, popular organs did exert power and influence at various times. For example, guilds in eleventh-century Constantinople performed
Anthony Kaldellis, “Republican Theory and Political Dissidence in Ioannes Lydos,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 29 (2005): 1-16; and, in general, idem, “The Religion of Ioannes Lydos,” Phoenix 57 (2003): 300-16; Michael Maas, John Lydus and the Roman Past: Antiquarianism and Politics in the Age of Justinian (London, 1992). 5 Aristotle, Politics, 1281b4-7. On Aristotle’s notion of collective wisdom, see Jeremy Waldron, “The Wisdom of the Multitude: Some Reflections on Book 3, Chapter 11 of Aristotle’s Politics,” Political Theory 23 (1995): 563-84, reprinted in Aristotle’s Politics: Critical Essays, ed. Richard Kraut and Steven Skultety (Lanham, MD, 2005), 145-65. 6 Michael’s scholia are found in Aristotelis politica, ed. Otto Immisch (Leipzig, 1909; reprinted 1929), 293-327, English trans. in Ernest Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium: From Justinian I to the Last Palaeologus, Passages from Byzantine Writers and Documents (Oxford, 1957), 137-39. Michael’s political ideas are discussed in Sotiria Triantari-Mara, The Political Ideas of the Byzantine Thinkers from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century AD (Thessalonike, 2002), 57-73 [in Greek]; Agostino Pertusi, Il pensiero politico bizantino, ed. Antonio Carile (Bologna, 1990), 152-57. I have followed the English, French, German, Italian, and Modern Greek translations of some of the Greek and Latin sources cited throughout the present paper; in certain places I made changes to better reflect the original which I have not indicated due to space limitations.
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a political function analogous to that of the old demes and served as a vehicle of popular political expression and as a potent actor in Byzantine political life.7 In 1042, the people of Constantinople rose up to depose Michael V because of his decision to deprive his adoptive mother and coruler of her rights to the throne. In his Historia (History), a work that covers the military and political history of the period 1034-1079, Michael Attaleiates (eleventh century) describes the mob as a democratic assembly that displays collective prudence in making decisions and enforcing justice.8 Indeed, popular assemblies often influenced the appointment of a new emperor or negotiations with the Turks throughout the fifteenth century.9 George Pachymeres (1242-ca. 1308) was representative of a group of Byzantine writers who compared the virtues and limitations of monarchy and democracy. Pachymeres composed a fictional speech by Pericles against allegations that he was planning to set himself up as tyrant. Pachymeres has Pericles say that in a monarchy, the administration of justice is based on the judgment and whims of the ruler and that anyone who challenges his decisions is punished by death, while the monarch is susceptible to his passions and irrational appetites and nobody dares to criticize him. According to Pericles, democracy is the best form of government, since every citizen is free and has a say in civic affairs.10
7 Constantine N. Tsirpanlis, “Byzantine Parliaments and Representative Assemblies from 1081 to 1351,” Byzantion 43 (1973): 432-81; Hélène Ahrweiler, L’idéologie politique de l’Empire byzantin (Paris, 1975), 58-59; Speros Vryonis, Jr., “Byzantine ∆ημοκρατια and the Guilds in the Eleventh Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963): 289-314. See, in general, Klaus-Peter Matschke, Fortschritt und Reaktion in Byzanz im 14. Jahrhundert: Konstantinopel in der Bürgerkriegsperiode von 1341 bis 1354 (Berlin, 1971); Francis Dvornik, “The Circus Parties in Byzantium: Their Evolution and Their Suppression,” ByzantinaMetabyzantina 1 (1946): 119-33; Diogenes A. Xanalatos, Byzantine Studies: a Contribution to the History of the Byzantine People (Athens, 1940) [in Greek]. 8 Dimitris Krallis, “‘Democratic’ Action in Eleventh-Century Byzantium: Michael Attaleiates’s ‘Republicanism’ in Context,” Viator 40 (2009): 35-53; idem, A Courtier’s Tale: History, Politics, and Culture in Eleventh Century Byzantium (Tempe, AZ., forthcoming). See further Anthony Kaldellis, “A Byzantine Argument for the Equivalence of all Religions: Michael Attaleiates on Ancient and Modern Romans,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 14 (2007): 1-20. 9 Tonia Kiousopoulou, Basileus or Oikonomos: Political Power and Ideology before the Fall (Athens, 2007), 159-63; Ioannes E. Karayiannopoulos, The Political Theory of the Byzantines (Thessalonike, 1988), 55-59 [both in Greek]. 10 Jean F. Boissonade, Anecdota græca e codicibus regiis (Paris, 1833; reprinted Hildesheim, 1962), 5: 354-56. On this point, see also Dimiter Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political

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Pachymeres’ advocacy of democracy, set as it is in the context of a rhetorical exercise, is rather lukewarm and does not dispute the standard Byzantine view that kingship is superior to democracy because the latter is associated with instability and internecine strife.11 In his History, Pachymeres has the partisans of Michael VIII Palaiologos’ (r. 1259-1281) ascension to power averring that they would be utterly surprised if anyone would seek to rule the state of the Romans in any way other than through a monarchy. Pachymeres provides a succinct statement of the advantages of strong monarchical rule even in the case the ruler is deficient or inadequate: the existence of a monarch is a prerequisite for the salutary and successful administration of the realm because he is used to one-man rule and will be in command of other persons whom he surpasses in power and rank. Thus, the fact that there is only one ruler gives the image of monarchy and even though he is a single person, the fact that he acts with the support of a number of people allows him to impose his authority by virtue of his rank.12 Most thirteenth- and fourteenth-century discussions on Genoese-Byzantine relations described Genoa as the archetype of democracy.13 The majority of Byzantine writers from the thirteenth to the fourteenth century were opposed to democracy and pointed to Genoa as a prime example of a regime inherently unstable and prone to generate disorder and social
Thought in Byzantium, 1204-1330 (Cambridge, 2007), 202. On Pachymeres’ life and works, consult Stylianos Lampakis, Georgios Pachymeris: Protekdikos and Dikaiophylax: an Introductory Essay (Athens, 2004) [in Greek]. 11 On Pachymeres’ progymnasmata and meletai (declamationes), see Stylianos Lampakis, “The Meletes of George Pachymeres,” Erytheia 28 (2007): 91-98 [in Greek]. The history of progymnasmata is discussed in Progymnasmata: Greek Textbooks of Prose Composition and Rhetoric, trans. George A. Kennedy (Leiden, 2003), esp. “Introduction,” ix-xvi; George A. Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric (Princeton, 1994), 83-84, 202-208; Demetra A. Koukoura, Rhetoric and Homiletics: A Diachronic Study (Thessalonike, 2003), 106-12 [in Greek]. On declamationes, see Kennedy, A New History of Classical Rhetoric, 83-84, 166-72, 209-15. 12 Georges Pachymérès, Relations historiques vol. 1: Livres I-III, ed. Albert Failler, French trans. Vitalien Laurent (Paris, 1984), 109-11 (Greek text), 108-10 (French trans.). See also the discussion in Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium, 202. 13 On Byzantine views on democracy, see Alan Cameron, Circus Factions: Blues and Greens at Rome and Byzantium (Oxford, 1976), 305-06; Georges I. Bratianu, “‘Démocratie’ dans le lexique byzantin à l’époque des Paléologues,” in Mémorial Louis Petit: Mélanges d’histoire et d’archéologie Byzantines (Bucharest, 1948), 32-40; idem, “Empire et ‘démocratie’ à Byzance,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 37 (1937): 86-111.

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chaos. In an oration addressed to Michael VIII, Manuel Holobolos (1240-1290), set a precedent for the view that Genoa replicated Athenian democracy and extolled the skills of the Genoese in seamanship, sea fighting, cavalry, and trade activities.14 After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the focus of Byzantine discussions on the political organization of the Italians shifted to Venice as the showcase of the best qualities of various forms of constitution, a shift that had an enduring impact on a substantial body of literature on the politics of the Serenissima up to the seventeenth century. Not only Byzantine authors but also thinkers in the Latin West themselves perceived certain affinities between the political organization of the Italian city-states and that of the ancient Greek poleis, most notably classical Athenian democracy as depicted in Aristotle’s Politics. Albert the Great (ca. 1200-1280) associated the communes of Lombardy and Genoa with the radical form of democratic rule in which, according to Aristotle, sovereignty rests with the multitude and not with the law, and the decrees of the popular assemblies override the law. Ptolemy of Lucca (ca. 1236-1327), indicates that many cities in his contemporary Italy resembled Athens in being ruled by the many.15 As in ancient Athens, ultimate power in the Italian communes emanated from and resided with the body of the citizens.16 The highest executive organ of the communal regime was the podestà, and his foremost duty was to administer justice and ensure civic harmony and unity by mediating among the various interest groups within the city. The office was held
14 Manuelis Holoboli orationes, ed. Maximilian Treu (Potsdam, 1906), 1: 45-46; Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium, 201. 15 Antony Black, “The Commune in Political Theory in the Late Middle Ages,” in Theorien kommunaler Ordnung in Europa, ed. Peter Blickle (Munich, 1996), 99-112, 107, reprinted in idem, Church, State and Community: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Aldershot, 2003), no. XII. For comparisons between the ancient Greek and medieval Italian city-states, see City-States in Classical Antiquity and Medieval Italy, ed. Anthony Molho et al. (Stuttgart, 1991). See, in general, also Giorgio Chittolini, “Cities, ‘City-States,’ and Regional States in North-Central Italy,” Theory and Society 18 (1989): 689-706. 16 On the history and political organization of the Italian city-states, see Giuliano Milani, I comuni italiani: secoli XII-XIV (Rome, 2005); Daniel P. Waley, The Italian CityRepublics (London, 3rd ed., 1988); John K. Hyde, Society and Politics in Medieval Italy: the Evolution of the Civil Life, 1000-1350 (New York, 1973); Hagen Keller, “‘Kommune’: Städtische Selbstregierung und mittelalterliche ‘Volksherrschaft’ im Spiegel italienischer Wahlverfahren des 12.-14. Jahrhunderts,” in Person und Gemeinschaft im Mittelalter, ed. Gerd Althoff (Sigmaringen, 1988), 573-616.

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by an alien noble with a juristic education who was elected by the council, took an oath upon assuming his duties to govern according to the statutes of the city, and was subject to scrutiny at the end of his tenure.17 In the wake of the emergence of the signoria, a form of despotic permanent oneman rule, in most cities of Northern Italy in the second half of the thirteenth century,18 Italian writers looked to Aristotle as a source for illuminating the causes of the friction and social crisis that afflicted late medieval Italy and resulted in the eclipse of communal rule.19
See I podestà dell’Italia comunale Part I: Reclutamento e circolazione degli ufficiali forestieri (fine XII sec.-metà XIV sec.), ed. Jean-Claude M. Vigueur (Rome, 2000); Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA., 1983), 386-403; Christoph Ludwig, Untersuchungen über die frühesten ‘Potestaten’ italienischer Städte (Vienna, 1973); Gustav Hanauer, “Das Berufspodestat im dreizehnten Jahrhundert,” Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 23 (1902): 377-426; Vittorio Franchini, Saggio di ricerche su l’instituto del podestà nei comuni medievali (Bologna, 1912). 18 On the history of the signoria, see Trevor Dean, “The Rise of the Signori,” in The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 5: c. 1198-c. 1300, ed. David Abulafia (Cambridge, 1999), 458-78; Philip J. Jones, The Italian City-State: from Commune to Signoria (Oxford, 1997); Ovidio Capitani, “Dal comune alla signoria,” in Comuni e Signorie: Istituzioni, società e lotte per l’egemonia, ed. Ovidio Capitani et al. (Turin, 1981), 135-75; Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy (New York, 1979), 94-110; Ernesto Sestan, “Le origini delle signorie cittadine: un problema storico esaurito?,” Bullettino dell’Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo e Archivio Muratoriano 73 (1961): 41-69; Francesco Ercole, Dal comune al principato: Saggi sulla storia del diritto pubblico del rinascimento italiano (Florence, 1929); Ernst Salzer, Ueber die Anfaenge der Signorie in Italien: Ein Beitrag zur italienischen Verfassungsgeschichte (Berlin, 1900, reprinted, Vaduz, 1965). The role of the popolo in the political life of the Italian city-states is discussed in John C. Koenig, “The Popolo of Northern Italy (1196-1274): a Political Analysis” (Ph.D. Diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1977; Guy Fourquin, The Anatomy of Popular Rebellion in the Middle Ages, trans. Anne Chesters (Amsterdam, 1978). See, in general, Maria Ginatempo, “Le città italiane, XIV-XV secolo,” in Poderes públicos en la Europa Medieval: Principados, Reinos y Coronas (Pamplona, 1997), 149-207. 19 On this, see, e.g., Ulrich Meier, “Molte rivoluzioni, molte novità: Gesellschaftlicher Wandel im Spiegel der politischen Philosophie und im Urteil von städtischen Chronisten des späten Mittelalters,” in Sozialer Wandel im Mittelalter: Wahrnehmungsformen, Erklärungsmuster, Regelungsmechanismen, ed. Jürgen Miethke and Klaus Schreiner (Sigmaringen, 1994), 119-76; Stephan R. Epstein, “The Rise and Fall of Italian City-States,” in A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures, ed. Mogens H. Hansen (Copenhagen, 2000), 277-93; Giovanni Tabacco, The Struggle for Power in Medieval Italy: Structures of Political Rule, trans. Rosalind Brown Jensen (Cambridge, 1989); John K. Hyde, “Contemporary Views on Faction and Civil Strife in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy,” in Violence and Civil Disorder in Italian Cities, 1200-1500, ed. Lauro Martines
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The Italians were also keenly aware of the weaknesses of their political organization. In fact, there seems to be a peculiar consensus among Italian writers and Byzantines on the moral pathology that characterized late medieval Italian politics. The famous pre-humanist Albertino Mussato (1261-1329), one of the most energetic defenders of the communal values and ideals and a vocal opponent of seigneurial rule in Padua, one of the last bastions of Italy’s communal tradition, typifies this tendency. He points to moral depravity and especially avarice (avaritia) as the prime corrosive force for communal government in his contemporary Padua. Yet, while the Italian writers’ preoccupation with the process of moral degeneration that lay at the root of the communal crisis was driven by a nostalgia for the communal past and aimed to salvage or reconstitute communal institutions and to forestall the establishment of perpetual rule,20 Byzantine intellectuals and men of letters almost uniformly looked upon communal rule as the seedbed of moral decay, and their accounts of Genoese democracy were animated by chagrin fueled by the antagonism and volatility in Byzantine-Genoese relations.21
(Berkeley, 1972), 273-307. See further Louis Green, “The Image of Tyranny in Early Fourteenth-Century Italian Historical Writing,” Renaissance Studies 7 (1993): 335-51; Humanism and Tyranny: Studies in the Italian Trecento, trans. Ephraim Emerton (Gloucester, MA., 1964). 20 Vasileios Syros, Die Rezeption der aristotelischen politischen Philosophie bei Marsilius von Padua: Eine Untersuchung zur ersten Diktion des Defensor pacis (Leiden, 2007), 29-35, 94-97; and, in general, Nicolai Rubinstein, “Some Ideas on Municipal Progress and Decline in the Italy of the Communes,” in Fritz Saxl 1890-1948: A Volume of Memorial Essays from His Friends in England, ed. Donald G. Gordon (London, 1957), 16583; idem, “Marsilius of Padua and Italian Political Thought of His Time,” in Europe in the Late Middle Ages, ed. John R. Hale, et al. (Evanston, IL., 1965), 44-75—both reprinted in idem, Studies in Italian History in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, vol. 1: Political Thought and the Language of Politics: Art and Politics, ed. Giovanni Ciappelli (Rome, 2004) 43-60 and 99-130, respectively. 21 See, in general, Nikos G. Moschonas, “The Italian Maritime Cities and Their Role in the Eastern Meditteranean,” in Le Repubbliche marinare italiane: Amalfi, Pisa, Genova, Venezia e il Mediterraneo orientale, ed. Nikos G. Moschonas (Athens, 2008), 15-25 [in Greek]; Gerald W. Day, Genoa’s Response to Byzantium, 1155-1204: Commercial Expansion and Factionalism in a Medieval City (Urbana-Champaign, 1988); Angeliki Laiou, Constantinople and the Latins: The Foreign Policy of Andronicus II, 1282-1328 (Cambridge, MA., 1972). See, in general, Johannes Koder, “Latinoi: The Image of the Other According to Greek Sources,” in Bisanzio, Venezia e il mondo franco-greco (XII-XV secolo), ed. Chryssa A. Maltezou and Peter Schreiner (Venice, 2002), 25-39; Günter Prinzing, “Vom Umgang der Byzantiner mit den Fremden,” in Der Umgang mit den Fremden in der Vormoderne:

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Byzantine images of the Venetians were equally colored by aversion and rancor.22 In his Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus (1180s), John Kinnamos (b. ca. 1143) denounces the Venetians for being dissolute in morals, jesting and rude more than any other people, because they are filled with sailors’ vulgarity. Kinnamos also stresses that their excessive wealth induces them to insolence and that they treat Byzantine citizens like slaves.23 Ever since the twelfth century, a considerable number of Venetian traders operated in several Byzantine cities, such as Thessalonike, and the Byzantine critique of them continued unabated.24
Studien zur Akkulturation in bildungshistorischer Sicht, ed. Christoph Lüth, et al. (Cologne, 1997), 117-43, esp. 137-41; Herbert Hunger, Graeculus perfidus, Iταλος ιταμος: Il senso dell’alterità nei rapporti greco-romani ed italo-bizantini (Rome, 1987). 22 For views on the Venetians, see Gilbert Dagron, “Le ‘mythe de Venise’ vu de Byzance,” in Il mito di Venezia: Una città tra realtà e rappresentazione, ed. Peter Schreiner (Rome, 2006), 61-80; Paolo Lamma, “Venezia nel giudizio delle fonti bizantine dal X al XII secolo,” Rivista storica italiana 74 (1962): 457-79. For the late Byzantine period, consider Manuela Dobre, “Les Vénitiens dans les sources de Thessalonique du XVe siècle,” in Byzance et le monde extérieur: Contacts, relations, échanges, ed. Michel Balard (Paris, 2005), 59-66. 23 Ioannis Cinnami epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum, ed. Augustus Meineke (Bonn, 1836), 280-81; John Kinnamos, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, trans. Charles W. Brand (New York, 1976), 210. For further discussion, see Catherine Asdracha, “L’image de l’homme occidental à Byzance: le témoignage de Kinnamos et de Choniatès,” Byzantinoslavica 44 (1983): 31-40; and, in general, Paris Gounarides, “The Image of the Latins,” in The Fourth Crusade and the Greek World, ed. Nikos G. Moschonas (Athens, 2008), 43-59 [in Greek]; Peter Schreiner, “Byzanz und der Westen: Die gegenseitige Betrachtungsweise in der Literatur des 12. Jahrhunderts,” in Friedrich Barbarossa: Handlungsspielräume und Wirkungsweisen des staufischen Kaisers, ed. Alfred Haverkamp (Sigmaringen, 1992), 551-80. 24 Julian Chrysostomides, “The Penetration of Western Economy into the Byzantine Empire,” in The Fourth Crusade and the Greek World, 27-42 [in Greek]; Chryssa A. Maltezou, “Venetian habitatores, burgenses and Merchants in Constantinople and its Hinterland (Twelfth-Thirteenth Centuries),” in Constantinople and its Hinterland, ed. Cyril Mango and Gilbert Dagron (Aldershot, 1995), 233-41; Angeliki E. Laiou, “Venetians and Byzantines: Investigation of Forms of Contact in the Fourteenth Century,” Thesavrismata 22 (1992): 29-43; Silvano Borsari, Venezia e Bisanzio nel XII secolo: I rapporti economici (Venice, 1988); Agostino Pertusi, “Venezia e Bisanzio: 1000-1204,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 33 (1979): 3-22; idem, “Venezia e Bisanzio nel secolo XI,” in La Venezia del Mille (Florence, 1965), 119-60. See also Michel Balard, et al., Les Italiens à Byzance (Paris, 1987); Johannes Lilie, Handel und Politik zwischen dem byzantinischen Reich und den italienischen Kommunen Venedig, Pisa und Genua in der Epoche der Komnenen und der Angeloi (1081-1204) (Amsterdam, 1984); Peter Schreiner, “Untersu-chungen zu den Niederlassungen westlicher Kaufleute im byzantinischen Reich des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts,” Byzantinische Forschungen 7 (1979): 175-91, and, in general, Angeliki E. Laiou, “The Foreigner and the

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Mixed Constitution Another notion at work in Byzantine discussions on the constitutional organization of the Italian city-states, especially from the beginning of the fifteenth century, was that of the mixed regime. Byzantine thinkers derived the notion of the mixed constitution from three sources: a) Plato’s Laws, a work cited by Pachymeres in his critique of Andronikos II Palaiologos’ (1259/60-1332, r. 1282-1328) policy of relying on foreign mercenaries;25 b) Aristotle’s Politics, which sets out the idea of blending various forms of constitution;26 and c) the Tripoliticus of the Peripatetic philosopher Dicaearchus of Messena (326-296 B.C.E.), which puts forth the idea of a mix of the existing constitutional forms (the monarchical, the aristocratic, and the democratic, with each one of them contributing its own advantages, thereby making it truly the best) and saw the Spartan constitution as its embodiment.27 Dicaearchus’ notion of the mixed constitution was mediated in the Byzantine context through the sixth-century Justinianic anonymous dialogue Peri politikēs epistēmēs (On Political Science). In addition, Patriarch Photius (ca. 810-ca. 893), in his Bibliotheca points to the existence of this work that included six books in which the author introduced
Stranger in Twelfth-Century Byzantium: Means of Propitiation and Acculturation,” in Fremde der Gesellschaft: Historische und sozialwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zur Differenzierung von Normalität und Fremdheit, ed. Marie T. Fögen (Frankfurt am Main, 1991), 71-97. 25 Angelov, Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium, 346. On Plato’s Byzantine reception, see Dimiter G. Angelov, “Plato, Aristotle and Byzantine ‘Political Philosophy’,” in The Greek Strand in Islamic Political Thought, ed. Emma Gannagé et al (Beirut, 2004), 499-523; Jonathan Harris, “Plato, Byzantium, and the Italian Renaissance,” History Teaching Review Year Book 19 (2005): 11-16. The classical background of Byzantine political thought is discussed in Milton V. Anastos, “Byzantine Political Theory: Its Classical Precedents and Legal Embodiment,” in The “Past” in Medieval and Modern Greek Culture, ed. Speros Vryonis, Jr. (Malibu, CA., 1978), 13-53, reprinted in idem, Aspects of the Mind of Byzantium: Political Theory, Theology, and Ecclesiastical Relations with the See of Rome, ed. Speros Vryonis, Jr. and Nicholas Goodhue (Aldershot, 2001), no. I. 26 On the Nachleben of Aristotle’s political thought in the Byzantine world, see Anthony Kaldellis, “Aristotle’s Politics in Byzantium,” in Well Begun is only Half Done: Tracing Aristotle’s Political Ideas in Medieval Arabic, Syriac, Byzantine, and Jewish Sources, ed. Vasileios Syros (Tempe, AZ., 2010), 123-45; Dominic O’Meara, “Spätantike und Byzanz: Neuplatonische Rezeption—Michael von Ephesos,” in Politischer Aristotelismus: Die Rezeption der aristotelischen Politik von der Antike bis zum 19. Jahrhundert, ed. Christoph Horn and Ada Neschke-Hentschke (Stuttgart and Weimar, 2008), 42-52. 27 On Dicaearchus, see Dicaearchus of Messana: Text, Translation, and Discussion, ed. William W. Fortenbaugh and Eckart Schütrumpf (New Brunswick, NJ., 2001).

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a form of constitution besides those already expounded by ancient writers, i.e., the “dicaearchan.”28 Eustathios (d. ca. 1194), Archbishop of Thessalonike, in his commentary on a Pentecostal Hymn, depicted the Christian order as a trinitarian scheme of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, in which the people (dēmos) represented the component of free will. In Eustathios’ view, the only people who had maintained a system resembling this constitutional order were the Venetians of his own day, with the Doge representing the monarchic element, the Senate as a body of select counselors standing for aristocracy, and the people corresponding to democratic rule.29 Eustathios
28 Menae patricii cum Thoma referendario De scientia politica dialogus, ed. Carlo M. Mazzucchi (Milan, 2002); Three Political Voices from the Age of Justinian: Agapetus, Advice to the Emperor; Dialogue on Political Science; Paul the Silentiary, Description of Hagia Sophia, trans. Peter N. Bell (Liverpool, 2009), 123-88. On the content and sources of the work, see ibid., 49-79; Leslie S. B. MacCoull, “Menas and Thomas: Notes on the Dialogus de scientia politica,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 46 (2006): 301-13; Dominic O’Meara, “The Justinianic Dialogue On Political Science and its Neoplatonic Sources,” in Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources, ed. Katerina Ierodiakonou (Oxford, 2002), 49-62; Athanasios S. Fotiou, “Dicaearchus and the Mixed Constitution in Sixth Century Byzantium: New Evidence from a Treatise on Political Science,” Byzantion 51 (1981): 533-47; idem, “Plato’s Philosopher King in the Political Thought of Sixth-Century Byzantium,” Florilegium 7 (1985): 17-29; Elisabetta Matelli, “La dottrina dello stato nel dialogo Sulla scienza politica e il suo autore,” in Il Mondo del diritto nell’epoca giustinianea: Caratteri e problematiche, ed. Gian G. Archi (Ravenna, 1985), 209-23. 29 Sapientissimi et doctissimi Eustathii Thessalonicensis metropolitæ Opera quotcunque argumenti sunt ecclesiastici [= Patrologia græca; 136], ed. Jacques-Paul Migne (Paris, 1865), 717. On Eustathios’ views on Venice, see also the discussions in Mikka Hakkarainen, “Regimen mixtum—μικτη πολιτεια,” in Roma, magistra mundi: Itineraria culturae medievalis, ed. Jacqueline Hamesse (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1998), 1: 111-21, 112-16; Robert Browning, “Eustathius of Thessalonike Revisited,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 40 (1995): 83-90, 89; Paul Magdalino, “Aspects of Twelfth-Century Byzantine Kaiserkritik,” Speculum 58 (1983): 326-46, 334-5; Paolo Cesaretti, “Su Eustazio e Venezia,” Aevum 62 (1988): 218-27; Alexander Kazhdan, Studies on Byzantine Literature of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Cambridge, 1984), 161. On the ancient idea of the mixed constitution, see e.g. Ricardo Martínez Lacy, “La constitución mixta de Polibio como modelo político,” Studia historica. Historia antigua 23 (2005): 373-83; Charlotte Schubert, “Mischverfassung und Gleichgewichtssystem: Polybius und seine Vorläufer,” in Rom und der griechische Osten, ed. Charlotte Schubert and Kai Brodersen (Stuttgart, 1995), 225-35; Kurt von Fritz, The Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Antiquity: a Critical Analysis of Polybius’ Political Ideas (New York, 1954); Gerhard J. D. Aalders, Die Theorie der gemischten Verfassung im Altertum (Amsterdam, 1968); Paula Zillig, Die Theorie von der gemischten Verfassung in ihrer literarischen Entwickelung im Altertum und ihr Verhältnis zur Lehre Lockes und Montesquieus über Verfassung (Würzburg, 1916).

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most likely derived the idea of the mixed constitution from Aristotle, and he seems to have had knowledge of the doctrines of the Politics as well: in reviewing the sequence of the Norman kings of Sicily, he holds that Aristotle was right in observing that “tyrannies flourish until the third generation and then wither.”30 The foregoing writers notwithstanding, it was only in the fifteenth century that the theory of the mixed constitution would be developed in a systematic fashion by George of Trebizond, and then it would resurface in a reworked version in Kottunios in the seventeenth century.

Metochites on the Italian City-States The Grand Logothete of Emperor Andronikos II, Metochites (ca. 12701332), articulated the most ardent critique of the Italian political systems. Metochites was an idiosyncratic writer, steeped in classical literature and deeply involved in the political developments during Andro-nikos’ rule (1282-1328). He held a number of high offices until the fall of Andronikos in 1328.31 Of particular interest are Metochites’ Ēthikos or
30 Eustathios, The Capture of Thessaloniki, trans. John R. Melville Jones (Canberra, 1988), 58 (Greek text); 59 (English trans.). Eustathios’ reference is to Politics 1315b11, but he subtly revises Aristotle’s point; Aristotle does note that tyrannies are short-lived and mentions examples of tyrannies in the ancient Greek world that lasted for a few generations, but does not limit their duration to three generations. On this point, see Kaldellis, “Aristotle’s Politics in Byzantium,” 143. 31 On Metochites’ life and works, see Marina Bazzani, “Theodore Metochites, a Byzantine Humanist,” Byzantion 76 (2006): 32-52; Dimiter G. Angelov, “Theodore Metochites: Statesman, Intellectual, Poet, and Patron of the Arts,” in Restoring Byzantium: The Kariye Camii in Istanbul and the Byzantine Institute Restoration, ed. Holger A. Klein (New York, 2004), 15-22; Theodore Metochites’ Stoicheiosis astronomike and the Study of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics in Early Palaiologan Byzantium (Göteborg, 2003); Jeffrey M. Featherstone, Theodore Metochites’s Poems ‘To Himself’: Introduction, Text and Translation (Vienna, 2000); Nigel G. Wilson, Scholars of Byzantium (London, 1996), 256-64; Marcello Gigante, “Per l’interpretazione di Teodoro Metochites quale umanista bizantino,” Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici n.s. 4 (XIV) (1967): 11-25; Ihor Ševčenko, Études sur la polémique entre Théodore Métochite et Nicéphore Choumnos: la vie intellectuelle et politique à Byzance sous les premiers Paléologues (Brussels, 1962); idem, “Theodore Metochites, the Chora, and the Intellectual Trends of His Time,” in The Kariye Djami, vol. 4: Studies in the Art of the Kariye Djami and Its Intellectual Background, ed. Paul A. Underwood (Princeton, 1975), 19-91; Hans-Georg Beck, Theodoros Metochites, die Krise des byzantinischen Weltbildes im 14. Jahrhundert (Munich, 1952); Herbert Hunger, “Theodoros Metochites als Vorläufer des Humanismus in Byzanz,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 45 (1952): 4-19. On the reception of the classics in the late Byzantine period, see e.g. Anthony

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Peri Paideias (1305) and Essay 93 of his Sēmeiōseis gnōmikai (a series of essays on diverse topics known also under the Latin title Miscellanea philosophica et historica). The Ēthikos contains Metochites’ personal ruminations concerning the study of Greek history.32 A number of Italian city-states, observes Metochites, resemble the ancient Greek city-states, having adopted customs or institutions from the latter. They have similar aspirations, seek to expand both at sea and on land, launch large-scale military operations, and have courageous and prudent military leaders. The Italian and Greek city-states share several features with respect to their political organization as well: the Italian cities have parliaments and courts and deliberate, run their internal affairs, and elect and appoint their magistrates in the same manner as the ancients.33 In the Ēthikos, Metochites’ comparison between Greeks and Italians is intended to establish the cultural superiority of the ancient Athenians.34
Kaldellis, Hellenism in Byzantium: The Transformations of Greek Identity and the Reception of the Classical Tradition (Cambridge, 2007), esp. 317-67; Ihor Ševčenko, “The Palaeologan Renaissance,” in Renaissances before the Renaissance: Cultural Revivals of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. Warren Treadgold (Stanford, 1984), 144-71; Donald M. Nicol, “The Byzantine Church and Hellenic Learning in the Fourteenth Century,” Studies in Church History 5 (1969): 23-57; Franz Tinnefeld, “Neue Formen der Antikerezeption bei den Byzantinern der frühen Palaiologenzeit,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 1:3 (1995): 19-28. 32 Panagiotis A. Agapitos, Karin Hult, and Ole L. Smith, Theodoros Metochites on Philosophic Irony and Greek History: Miscellanea 8 and 93 (Nicosia, 1996). 33 Theodore Metochites, Ēthikos ē Peri paideias, ed. and trans. Ioannes D. Polemis (Athens, 2nd ed., 2002), 110 and 112 (original text); 111 and 113 (Modern Greek trans.). On the Ēthikos, see “Introduction,” ibid., 7-165; Herbert Hunger, “Der Ithikos des Theodoros Metochites,” in Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Byzantine Studies, ed. Stilpon Kyriakides (Athens, 1958), 3: 141-58. On Metochites’ views on ancient Greek history, see Ennio Concina, “Teodoro Metochites e l’antico,” in Medioevo: Il tempo degli antichi, ed. Arturo Quarto Quintavalle (Milan, 2006), 501-03; Eva de VriesVan der Velden, “Griekse geschiedenis in Byzantijns perspectief: van Johannes Geometres tot Theodoros Metochites,” Lampas 29 (1996): 336-51, esp. 345-51; eadem, Théodore Métochite: une réévaluation (Amsterdam, 1987); Joseph W. Day, “Theodore Metochites and Athenian Traditions of History,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 32 (1982): 45-51. On the use of examples from Greek history in Byzantine political writing, see especially Eva de Vries-Van der Velden, “Exempla aus der griechischen Geschichte in Byzanz,” in Novum Millennium: Studies on Byzantine History and Culture, ed. Claudia Sode and Sarolta Takács (Aldershot, 2001), 425-38. 34 The Ēthikos was written around 1305 or a little later, while the publication of the Miscellanea can be dated to 1326/27. On the question of the dating, see Metochites, Ēthikos

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In the Miscellanea, he shifts his attention to the internal politics of the Italian cities, Genoa in particular. His analysis of Genoa’s government develops in the broader context of the discussion of the various types of government (democracy, aristocracy, and kingship) and the constitutions of Athens, Sparta, Cyrene, Carthage, and Rome.35 Metochites’ ultimate goal is to provide the theoretical grounding for the primacy of kingship.36 Metochites notes that many Italian cities that have adopted the democratic system exhibit the flaws and inadequacies of democracy. But the evils of democracy are most conspicuously shown in Genoa. He acknowledges that Genoa may be considered the most famous city in the whole world, flourishing in wealth, prosperity, spirit, and martial power and having more power at sea than any other contemporary city can exercise, so that it has admirable victories to its credit, comparable to those of the Greeks. Yet, he argues, all this is just a façade: the city’s reputation and grandeur are based on shaky foundations. Genoa is drawn into the vortex of sedition and faction due to the “irrational, illimitable, and inopportune spirit of self-seeking and cult of liberty which reigns among its citizens,” the spirit of greed that characterizes them, their unbridled ambition and contentiousness, and their indifference to the laws that exist for the common benefit.37

ē Peri paideias, 9-10; Karin Hult, Theodore Metochites on Ancient Authors and Philosophy: Semeioseis gnomikai 1-26 & 71: A Critical Edition with Introduction, Translation, Notes, and Indexes (Göteborg, 2002), xiv. The 120 essays contained in the Miscellanea were most probably written after the publication of the Metochites’ Stoicheiosis astronomikē (1316/17), pretty much in the same order in which they were published. The reference to the civil wars on pages 191 and 192 suggests that Misc. 28 was written in 1321 or a little later and that Misc. 50 and 96 were most probably written in the mid-1320s. I owe this remark to Börje Bydén. 35 Theodori Metochitae Miscellanea philosophica et historica, ed. Christian G. Müller and Gottlieb Kiessling (Leipzig, 1821; reprinted Amsterdam, 1966), 604-40. 36 Theodori Metochitae Miscellanea philosophica et historica, 605. In his Byzantios ē peri tēs vasilidos megalopoleos (Byzantios or About the Imperial Megalopolis) (1307-20), Metochites offers a glowing praise to his contemporary Byzantine emperors whom he sees as descendants of Constantine the Great—“Theodore Metochites: Byzantios or About the Imperial Megalopolis,” ed. Irini Pougounia (Ph.D. Diss., Oxford University, 2003), para. 3 (32-33) and 4 (33-34). For further comments, ibid., 176-78, 207. 37 Theodori Metochitae Miscellanea philosophica et historica, 616-17; English trans. and comments in Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium, 174-76. See also the discussions in Triantari-Mara, The Political Ideas of the Byzantine Thinkers, 133-49; Dirk C. Hesseling, “Een konstitutioneel keizerschap,” Hermeneus 11 (1939): 89-93, 89-92.

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Quite conventionally, Metochites picks on the moral degradation of the Genoese: the citizens suffer individually to a disgraceful and dangerous degree. Good citizens are oppressed by wicked individuals, those who are eminent fall victim to those who are of no standing, and those who are wise and competent in all things are at the mercy of those who are entirely ignorant about all kinds of matters, both public and private. The Genoese are isolated from each other and lack the covenants and compacts that secure the union of all men. Metochites writes that the Genoese have no associations with their neighbors or any other communities, for instance with the Byzantine Empire, with which they have mutual dealings. One of the most puzzling aspects of Metochites’ discussion of Genoese politics is the ease with which he portrays Genoa as offering the most typical case for democracy in his contemporary Italy.38 In fact, Genoa’s regime was very different from a true democracy, as delineated by Metochites. Since 1270, there existed in Genoa the dual rule of the two capitani del popolo, Oberto Doria and Oberto Spinola, who came from two of the four gentes of the city. Doria and Spinola took and consolidated their hold on civic affairs with the support of the popolo. They gradually managed to expand their sphere of authority and superseded the podestà, who remained in charge of the administration of justice, and the abate (or abas) del popolo, a magistrate who had to represent the interests of the people.39 While preserving the communal institutions and operatFor a similar point, see Pertusi, Il pensiero politico bizantino, 248-50; Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium, 175-76. 39 On the political and social history of medieval Genoa, see e.g. Quentin van Doosselaere, Commercial Agreements and Social Dynamics in Medieval Genoa (Cambridge, 2009); Giovanna Petti Balbi, Governare la città: Pratiche sociali e linguaggi politici a Genova in età medievale (Florence, 2007); eadem, “Magnati e popolani in area ligure,” in Magnati e popolani nell’Italia comunale (Pistoia, 1997), 243-72; Giuseppe Gallo, La Repubblica di Genova tra nobili e popolari (1257-1528) (Genoa, 1997); Georges Jehel, “L’état génois entre crise et réforme,” in Poderes públicos en la Europa Medieval: Principados, Reinos y Coronas, 211-33; Steven A. Epstein, Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528 (Chapel Hill, 1996); Geo Pistarino, La capitale del Mediterraneo: Genova nel Medioevo (Bordighera, 1993); Valeria Polonio, “L’amministrazione della res publica genovese fra Tre e Quattrocento: L’archivio antico comune,” Atti della Società Ligure di Storia Patria n.s. 17 (1977): 3-328; Mario Buongiorno, Il bilancio di uno stato medievale, Genova 1340-1529 (Genoa, 1973). On the history of the Genoese podestate, see especially Vito Vitale, Il comune del podestà a Genova (Milan and Naples, 1951). For further bibliography, consult Gabriella Airaldi, Genova e la Liguria nel Medioevo (Genoa, 2007), 213-63. The existence of the abate as the head of the society of the people, chosen by a council and the constables of the mili38

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ing within the existing constitutional framework, the two capitani employed a strategy followed by many signori: they set up a centralized system of government with the popolo becoming, in effect, a pawn in the hands of the leading families of the city. This peculiar dyarchy marked a golden period for Genoa, which became one of the main maritime powers in the Mediterranean by the end of the thirteenth century. We can construe Metochites’ references to the achievements of his contemporary Italian city-states as allusions to Genoa; it indeed produced great generals, had military achievements, enjoyed a major share of Mediterranean trade, and developed an advanced shipping industry. In addition, she could boast about her explorations: in 1291, the Genoese brothers Ugolino and Vadino Vivaldi embarked on an expedition to find the direct access to India through Gibraltar, by circumnavigating Africa.40 Regardless of these achievements, however, there is no getting around the fact that Genoa functioned de facto as an oligarchic republic, with her administration constantly under the control of the local nobility. In the second half of the fourteenth century, Genoa’s popular movement appeared so remarkably weak in comparison with similar movements in other Italian city-states that the popolo was rather a quantité négligeable in Genoa’s political life.

The Zealot Revolution and Genoa Economic inequalities and the accumulation of wealth by a small group of aristocrats supporting John Kantakouzenos (1292-1383), minister to Andronikos III led in the summer of 1342 to a popular revolt that occurred in Thessalonike which came to be known as the Zealot revolution.41 Upon
tia companies, is first documented in 1276. For further details, see Georg Caro, Genua und die Mächte am Mittelmeer 1257-1311: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des 13. Jhs. (Halle, 1895; reprinted Aalen, 1967), 1: 270-71. 40 Francesco Surdich, “Gli esploratori genovesi del periodo medievale,” in Miscellanea di storia delle esplorazioni, ed. Francesco Surdich (Genoa, 1975), 1: 9-117; Gillian Moore, “La spedizione dei fratelli Vivaldi e nuovi documenti d’archivio,” Atti della Società Ligure di Storia Patria 12 (1972): 387-402. 41 The following accounty is based on the following studies: John W. Barker, “Late Byzantine Thessalonike: A Second City’s Challenges and Responses,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 57 (2003): 5-33, esp. 14-21 (useful review of previous scholarship, 29-33); Donald M. Nicol, The Reluctant Emperor: a Biography of John Cantacuzene, Byzantine Emperor and Monk, c. 1295-1383 (Cambridge, 1996), 45-83; Klaus-Peter Matschke, “Thessalonike

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Andronikos’ death in June 1341, Kantakouzenos became the effective regent for John V (1332-1391), Andronikos’ infant son, and declared himself emperor (John VI) in October of the same year. In that same year, a political group self-identified as Zealots, under the leadership of Alexios Apocaukos, the grand duke of Constantinople and adherent of John V Palaeologus, installed a popular regime in Thessalonike. The conflict caused a social rift that set in motion a series of uprisings in other cities, with the nobility backing Kantakouzenos and the middle and lower strata of the population supporting John V and the Zealots. With popular support withering away and increasing isolation, the Zealot regime was shortlived and was overthrown when Kantakouzenos entered Thessalonike in 1350. The Zealot movement provided a stimulus for intense debates on Italian politics. It prodded Byzantine historians to draw links between the Zealot episode and Genoese civil wars.42 In his Histories, Kantakouzenos remarks that Venice is ruled by the Doge (doux) and the Senate (voulē).43
und die Zeloten. Bemerkungen zu einem Schlüsselereignis der spätbyzantinischen Stadtsund Reichsgeschichte,” Byzantinoslavica 55 (1994): 19-43; Daphne Papadatou, “Political Associations in the Late Byzantine Period: the Zealots and Sailors of Thessalonica,” Balkan Studies 28 (1987): 3-23; Peter Charanis, “Internal Strife in Byzantium during the Fourteenth Century,” Byzantion 15 (1941): 208-30; Oreste Tafrali, Thessalonique au quatorzième siècle (Paris, 1913; reprinted Thessalonike, 1993), and, in general, Günter Weiss, Johannes Kantakuzenos—Aristokrat, Staatsmann, Kaiser und Mönch—in der Gesellschaftsentwicklung von Byzanz im 14. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden, 1969); Ihor Ševčenko, “Alexios Makrembolites and his Dialogue between the Rich and the Poor,” in Zbornik Radova Vizantološkog Instituta 6 (1960): 187-228, reprinted in idem, Society and Intellectual Life in Late Byzantium (London, 1981), no. VII; Franz Dölger, “Johannes VI. Kantakuzenos als dynastischer Legitimist,” Seminarium Kondakovianum 10 (1938): 19-30. 42 Cf. Constantine Kyrris, “Gouvernés et gouvernants à Byzance pendant la révolution des Zélotes (1341-1350),” in Gouvernés et gouvernants vol. 2: Antiquité et haut moyen âge (Brussels, 1968), 271-330; Véra Hrochová, “La révolte des Zélotes à Salonique et les communes italiennes,” Byzantinoslavica 22 (1961): 1-15; eadem, “Die Problematik der Zelotenbewegung in Thessalonike 1342-1349,” Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der MartinLuther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg 10, Gesellschafts- und sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe 1 (1961): 1447-50. 43 Ioannis Cantacuzeni Eximperatoris Historiarum libri IV: Graece et Latine, ed. Ludwig Schopen (Bonn, 1832), 3: 219. On the following, see also Angeliki E. Laiou, “Italy and the Italians in the Political Geography of the Byzantines (Fourteenth Century),” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 49 (1995): 73-98, 86, and in general, Klaus-Peter Matschke and Franz Tinnefeld, Die Gesellschaft im späten Byzanz: Gruppen, Strukturen und Lebensformen (Cologne, 2001), 62-82; Sandra Origone, Bisanzio e Genova (Genoa, 1992); Alain Ducellier, “L’Europe Occidentale vue par les historiens Grecs des XIVème et XVème Siècle,” Byzan-

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He presents Genoa as a commune (koinon) and identifies the key organs that are involved in the decision-making process, i.e., the Senate (voulē), the people (dēmos) and the Doge (doux).44 He also refers to the Genoese occupation of Chios and the fact that a group of Genoese nobles had funded and built a strong fleet, taken over the island and appointed their own governor.45 A substantial portion of Kantakouzenos’ account of the Italian citystates centers around the 1339 revolution in Genoa: as he mentions, the people (dēmos) rebelled against the nobles (dunatoi, aristoi), banished some, excluded others from government and pressed and humiliated them in every way. Subsequently, the people sought to be ruled in a democratic fashion (demokrateisthai) and appointed one of their own, Simone Boccanegra, as ruler (archōn). When the Venetian war broke out in 1350, the people realized that they were in a weak position and became aware of the need to raise funds; they called the nobles back to the city and solicited their assistance. The nobles judged it better to render support than to have the city take over by the Venetians. They reproached the people for their ingratitude, disgraceful and shameful behavior, and poor judgment, but they eventually decided to join the war for the sake of the common good and provided financial aid and military supplies. They built a fleet of seventy ships and Pagano Doria, the most prominent from the Doria family, said to surpass all others in prudence, courage, and experience, was appointed admiral.46 Later, though, he was blamed by the people for the defeat and was replaced by Antonio Grimaldi. But after the Genoese suffered a greater defeat at the battle of Alghero, they realized that the strain on the resources of the city was too great and that they could no longer sustain the war effort. Impelled by the shortage of food and the lack of foot soldiers, they decided to submit themselves to Giovanni Visconti, the signore of Milan, who had financial resources and a strong infantry in addition to cavalry. They sacrificed their freedom, abandoned their earlier boast
tinische Forschungen 22 (1996): 119-59; Constantine P. Kyrris, “John Cantacuzenus, the Genoese, the Venetians and the Catalans (1348-1354),” Byzantina 4 (1972): 331-56. 44 Ioannis Cantacuzeni Eximperatoris Historiarum libri IV: Graece et Latine, 1: 489, 492; 1: 486-87; and 3: 81, respectively. 45 Ioannis Cantacuzeni Eximperatoris Historiarum libri IV: Graece et Latine, 3: 81. On the Genoese occupation of Chios, see Philip P. Argenti, The Occupation of Chios by the Genoese and Their Administration of the Island, 1346-1566, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1958). 46 Ioannis Cantacuzeni Eximperatoris Historiarum libri IV, 3: 197-98. See also Laiou, “Italy and the Italians in the Political Geography of the Byzantines,” 86-87.

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and pride, removed Boccanegra from office, and replaced him with Giovanni Visconti in 1353.47 Kantakouzenos may provide a detailed exposition of the Genoese civil wars, but he is not interested in Genoese political history per se. Rather, he wishes to draw lessons from Genoa’s political history and illustrate the pitfalls of experiments in democratic organization and the catastrophic effects of the exclusion of the nobles. More specifically, his central purpose is to deliver a political commentary on the Zealot episode and the type of rule established that was almost universally disparaged as the rule of the mob (ochlokratia). The arrière pensée behind the whole discussion about the Genoese civil wars is to demonstrate that the nobles fell victim to the caprices of the people pretty much in the same way as the best people were driven out of government in Thessalonike by Alexios Apokaukos and the Zealots. This resulted in a power vacuum, due to a lack of people with the skills, courage, and expertise to defend the city. Kantakouzenos sympathizes with the complaints of the Genoese nobles and berates the merchants of Constantinople for refusing to offer financial aid to build up a fleet against the Genoese.48 He is so eager to denounce the Zealot revolt, to project Simone Boccanegra as a scapegoat for all the political and social evils that afflicted Genoa, and to project him as Apokaukos’ alter ego that he extends Boccanegra’s tenure as doge to the entire period between 1339 and 1353.49 Kantakouzenos holds Boccanegra responsible for all the problems that ensued from the civil war, even though the nobles whom Boccanegra had brought back from exile forced him to set down prior to the outbreak of the Venetian war in 1350.50 Another writer who engaged in a comparative discussion of Genoa’s internal politics and the Zealot revolution was Nikephoros Gregoras (1295-1359/60). Gregoras mentions that Genoa is a western Italian city located by the sea between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Alps and attributes
47 48

Ioannis Cantacuzeni Eximperatoris Historiarum libri IV, 3: 234-35. See also Klaus-Peter Matschke, “Johannes Kantakuzenos, Alexios Apokaukos und die byzantinische Flotte in der Bürgerkriegsperiode 1340-1355,” in Actes du XIVe Congrès International des Etudes Byzantines (Bucharest, 1975), 2: 193-205. 49 On Boccanegra and his rule, see Gabriella Airaldi, Guerrieri e mercanti: Storie del medioevo genovese (Racconigi (Cuneo), 2004), ch. “Simone Boccanegra: l’uomo ‘nuovo,” 137-63; Giovanna Petti Balbi, Simon Boccanegra e la Genova del ’300 (Genoa, 1991). 50 I am relying here on Laiou, “Italy and the Italians in the Political Geography of the Byzantines,” 87.

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the social tensions to the fact that the city is dominated by two factions: the Guelphs (Gelphi) and the Ghibellines (Gembilini). He refers to the overthrow and exile of the Ghibellines in the early 1320s and notes that the turmoil spread to all Genoese colonies, which the exiled Ghibellines attacked with mercenary troops.51 Like Cantacuzenus, Gregoras is selective in his presentation of the incidents associated with civil war in Genoa. However, whereas Kantakouzenos’ intent is to posit Boccanegra as the counterpart of Apokaukos, Gregoras’ primary goal is to expose the frailty and vulnerability of Genoa’s political institutions in the face of external threats. He smoothly passes over the Pagano Doria episode and remarks that the Genoese, driven by the fear of being taken over by the Venetians and after a period of internal discord and bitter disputes, turned their back on the ancient institutions and civic tradition of their city overnight and submitted themselves to Milan in order to avert a greater disaster. In a fatalistic tone, Gregoras construes the subjugation of the Genoese to Milan as a manifestation of divine retribution for their greed, lack of faith, and the wrongs they had inflicted upon the Byzantines; while aspiring to gain full control over all the seas, from Tana and the Sea of Azov to Gadeira and the Heracleian columns, he explains, the Genoese ended up losing their own country and, having unjustly usurped common property, they justly lost what belonged to them.52 Just like Metochites, the fourteenth-century writer Alexios Makrembolites, composed a short tract (Logos istorikos) in which he castigated the Genoese for their moral decay.53 Vestiges of the standard equation of Genoa with Athens are also found in fifteenth-century Byzantine literature. For example, in the first half of the fifteenth century, John Kanabutzes in his commentary on Dionysius of Halicarnassus which he
Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia: Graece et Latine, ed. Ludwig Scopen (Bonn, 1855), 3: 189-90. See also Laiou, “Italy and the Italians in the Political Geography of the Byzantines,” 94-95. 52 Nicephori Gregorae Byzantina historia: Graece et Latine, 3: 193-95. 53 Enrico V. Maltese, “Una fonte bizantina per la storia dei rapporti tra Costantinopoli e Genova alla metà del XIV sec.: II Logos Historikos di Alessio Macrembolite,” in Atti e Memorie della Società Savonese di Storia Patria n.s. 14 (1980): 55-72; Eva de Vries-Van der Velden, L’élite byzantine devant l’avance turque à l’époque de la guerre civile de 1341 à 1354 (Amsterdam, 1989), 251-89; Costas P. Kyrres, “Elements traditionnels et éléments révolutionnaires dans l’idéologie d’Alexios Makrembolitès et d’autres intellectuels byzantins du XIVe s.,” in Actes du XIVe Congrès International des Etudes Byzantines, 2: 177-88.
51

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dedicated to Palamede Gattilusio (d. ca. 1455), the lord of Ainos and Samothrace, makes the point that the Athenians were organized into dēmoi, with each one having its own name, just like the Genoese belonged to various families and that each of them has a distinct name, such as the Spinolas and the Dorias.54 Later, Janus Laskaris (1445-1534) opened one his lectures in Florence by comparing his contemporary Florence to ancient Athens and expressing the wish that Florence shine in Italy like a sun, as did Athens in the past, and lighten the entire planet with the light of spirit.55

Venice as a Mixed Constitution: George of Trebizond Whereas thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Byzantine thinkers and literati focused their attention on Genoa, most writers in the fifteenth century seem to have slowly shifted their interest to Venice and its mixed constitution.56 This shift was impelled, in part, by the Turkish menace
54 Ioannis Canabutzae magistri ad principem Aeni et Samothraces in Dionysium Halicarnasensem commentarius, ed. Maximilian Lehnerdt (Leipzig, 1890), 51. Secondary literature on Kanabutzes is scarce. On his life and works, see Martin Hinterberger, “The Prose of Fifteenth Century: John Kanabutzes’ Narrative Dedicated to the Lord of Ainos and Samothrace,” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress Neograeca Medii Aevi, ed. Panagiotis Agapitos and Michalis Pieris (Heraklion, 2002), 405-25 [in Greek]; Aubrey Diller, “Joannes Canabutzes and Michael Chrysokokkes,” Byzantion 42 (1972): 257-58; idem, “Joannes Canabutzes,” Byzantion 40 (1970): 271-75, both reprinted in idem, Studies in Greek Manuscript Tradition (Amsterdam, 1983), 369–70 and 363–67, respectively; Silvio G. Mercati, “Intorno a Giovanni Ganabutzes,” Studi bizantini 2 (1927): 33-35. 55 Johannes Irmscher, “Griechische Gelehrte am Hofe Lorenzo de’ Medicis,” in Lorenzo der Prächtige und die Kultur im Florenz des 15. Jahrhunderts, ed. Horst Heintze, et al. (Berlin, 1995), 185-92, 188-89; Börje Knös, Un ambassadeur de l’hellénisme—Janus Lascaris—et la tradition greco-byzantine dans l’humanisme français (Paris, 1945), 26. 56 Scholarship on the “Myth of Venice” is voluminous. See, e.g., Edward Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton, 1981); Craig Kallendorf, Virgil and the Myth of Venice: Books and Readers in the Italian Renaissance (Oxford, 1999); Robert Finley, “The Immortal Republic: The Myth of Venice during the Italian Wars (1494-1530),” Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (1999): 931-44; Giovanni Silvano, La ‘Republica de’ Viniziani.’ Ricerche sul repubblicanesimo veneziano in età moderna (Florence, 1993); Felix Gilbert, “The Venetian Constitution in Florentine Political Thought,” in Florentine Studies: Politics and Society in Renaissance Florence, ed. Nicolai Rubinstein (Evanston, IL., 1968): 463-500; Franco Gaeta, “Alcune considerazioni sul mito di Venezia,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 23 (1961): 58-75; Gina Fasoli, “Nascita di un mito,” in Studi storici in onore di Gioacchino Volpe per il suo 80 compleanno (Florence, 1958), 1: 445-79.

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looming large and by an influx of Byzantine immigrants to Venice. In general, interaction with Italian humanists and access to first-hand knowledge about Italian politics led Byzantine writers to see the political systems of the Italians in a positive light. John Chortasmenos (ca. 1370-ca.1436/7), for instance, in a letter to the physician Demetrios Pepagomenos, refers to Constantinople as the New Athens, but laments the fact that Athenian wisdom along with fortune has passed from Constantinople to the cities of Italy.57 Although medieval Scholastic writers such as Thomas Aquinas (ca.12251274) and Ptolemy of Lucca addressed the topic of the mixed constitution, it was to a large extent Pier Paolo Vergerio the Elder (1370-1444) who set the parameters for later use of the mixed constitution to explain Venice’s constitutional organization.58 Vergerio postulated that Venice was ruled by a government composed of the best men, the equivalent of ancient Greek aristocracy, and that it took a middle course between monarchical and democratic rule. In Vergerio’s view, the strength of Venice’s constitution lay in its uniting the best elements from every form of good government.59 The idea of the mixed government had a distinguished career in Byzantine and post-Byzantine political writing from the fifteenth century onwards. The notion of Venice as a mixed government found one of its most ardent apologists in the Byzantine émigré George of Trebizond (Trapezuntius) (1403-ca. 1472).60 George discusses the topic in various places
57 Herbert Hunger, Johannes Chortasmenos (ca. 1370-ca. 1436/37): Briefe, Gedichte und kleine Schriften; Einleitung, Regesten, Prosopographie, Text (Vienna, 1969), 200 (letter 44). See also ibid., 201 (letter 47). 58 On the medieval and early modern reception of the idea of the mixed constitution, see Domenico Taranto, La miktè politéia tra antico e moderno: Dal ‘quartum genus’ alla monarchia limitata (Milan, 2006); Le Gouvernement mixte: De l’idéal politique au monstre constitutionnel en Europe (XIII e-XVIIe siècle), ed. Marie Gaille-Nikodimov (Saint-Etienne, 2005); James M. Blythe, Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1992); Wilfried Nippel, Mischverfassungstheorie und Verfassungsrealität in Antike und früher Neuzeit (Stuttgart, 1980). 59 David Robey and John E. Law, “Venetian Myth and the De republica veneta of Pier Paolo Vergerio,” Rinascimento, 2d ser., 15 (1975): 3-59. See also David Robey, “Pier Paolo Vergerio the Elder: Republicanism and Civic Values in the Work of an Early Humanist,” Past and Present 58 (1973): 3-37. 60 On George of Trebizond’s political ideas, see also Thomas Berns, “Construire un idéal vénitien de la constitution mixte à la Renaissance. L’enseignement de Platon par Trébizonde,” in Le Gouvernement mixte, 25−38; Franco Gaeta, “Giorgio di Trebisonda, le

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in his œuvre, such as his Comparationes phylosophorum Aristotelis et Platonis. He contrasts Venice to Rome, which he parallels to a hydra, a monster with multiple heads that was doomed to perish, because it lacked coherence, unity, and a clear identity, and power was exercised by multiple forces with conflicting interests.61 But George’s most detailed account of the affinities between Venice and the Platonic idea of the mixed constitution is found in his Latin translation of Plato’s Laws. George translated the Laws into Latin the early 1450s at the request of Pope Nicholas V. In a letter to his former patron, the Venetian humanist and statesman Francesco Barbaro (ca. 1398-1454), in December 1451, George contends that the founders of the Serenissima relied on Plato’s Laws, because the Venetian constitution was established on Plato’s precept that the longevity of a government hinges on the blending of elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Barbaro encouraged George to seek remuneration from the Venetian government by dedicating the translation to the Senate and elaborating on the similarities between the Serenissima’s constitutional organization and the Platonic ideal of the mixed constitution. In 1452, George presented a dedication to Barbaro and in the preface he set out the notion of Venice as the realization of the ancient idea of the mixed constitution with the Doge standing for the monarchic element; the Senate corresponding to the aristocratic element; and the Consiglio Maggiore representing the democratic component. Barbaro died in 1454, though, and in 1460 George dedicated the work to the Doge and eventually received from the Senate the chair in rhetoric and the humanities in the School of San Marco.62
Leggi di Platone e la costituzione di Venezia,” Bullettino dell’Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo e Archivio Muratoriano 82 (1970): 479−501; James Hankins, Plato in the Italian Renaissance (Leiden, 1991), 1: 165−92; 2: 429−35, 445−48; John Monfasani, George of Trebizond: a Biography and a Study of His Rhetoric and Logic (Leiden, 1976), 171−74; Giorgio Ravegnani, “Nota sul pensiero politico di Giorgio da Trebisonda,” Aevum 49 (1975): 310-29; William J. Bouwsma, Venice and the Defense of Republican Liberty: Renaissance Values in the Age of the Counter Reformation (Berkeley, 1968), 63-64. George’s activities in Italy are discussed in Nigel G. Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy: Greek Studies in the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 1992), 57-67. 61 Comparationes phylosophorum Aristotelis et Platonis Georgio Trapezuntio viro clarissimo (Venice, 1523; reprinted Frankfurt am Main, 1965), ch. “Quod divinitus illud Platoni dictum est, optimam rem publicam non esse simplicem, quodque id solis Venetis contingit.” [n. pag.]. 62 Collectanea Trapezuntiana: Texts, Documents and Bibliographies of George of Trebizond, ed. John Monfasani (Binghamton, NY., 1984), 198-203; George of Trebizond,

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Remarkably, whereas previous Byzantine literature concentrated upon comparisons between the constitutional arrangements of the Italian cities and those of the ancient Greek cities, the standard of comparison adduced by George in his exposition of the Serenissima’s political organization is an ideal city as envisaged by Plato. As George notes, Plato enunciated the idea that a city’s liberty is contingent upon the intermingling of the three legitimate forms of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and the government of the people. Like Eustathios (who held that the Venetians were the only people to preserve a system of government founded on the trinity of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy), George makes the point that the Venetians were the only ones to really understand and implement Plato’s principle. The Venetian government is the very embodiment of the Platonic vision of the mixed constitution: the Venetians obey a single ruler; they have an elected elite that excels in prudence, justice, and high reputation and is willing to proffer advice to the Republic on matters pertaining to war and peace; and they grant real authority to the people, for all those who are not members of the government meet in the Council, which is in charge of appointing the officeholders. In accordance with Plato’s proposal that the guardians of the laws be the highest magistrates, the Venetians appoint guardians of the laws and trust them to enforce the laws. Even the name of these officeholders, i.e., advocates and defenders of the republic, seems to have been derived from Plato.63 Another affinity George sees between Venice and the Platonic model of the mixed regime involves the appointment of officeholders based on popular votes and according to a very complex system designed to remove all suspicion of fraud. Venice’s founders prudently laid down procedures similar to those stipulated by Plato as an example for future generations to emulate. Neither before Plato nor since his time had there been voting procedures for the selection of magistrates of such complexity as those followed in Venice.64 The Venetian founders had read and understood Plato, for in those days almost all of Italy knew Greek, and the men from the higher nobility
“Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” trans. John Monfasani, in Cambridge Translations of Renaissance Philosophical Texts, vol. 2: Political Philosophy, ed. Jill Kraye (Cambridge, 1997), 128-34 (on the history of the Preface and the ideas expressed therein, consult the introduction by John Monfasani, ibid., 128-29). 63 Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 200; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 129-130. 64 Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 200; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 130.

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who founded Venice by joining together to fend off the iniquities of the times were steeped in both Greek literature and Latin. The most stunning thing, though, according to George, is that they turned into reality everything of which they approved and did this with better results than Plato himself. From this, George infers that Venice’s founders were men of extraordinary natural ability, learning, and practical experience.65 Plato was not sanguine that his laws would ever be enacted unless the people were compelled to comply with them by some tyrant who would exercise power with such self-control that even while he was alive, people would become accustomed to live freely. The founders of Venice outshone all other men in every virtue and in political science, George maintains, and implemented the Platonic ideal of political organization, not coerced by a tyrant but, rather, guided by their inner beliefs. They thereby established a city that was far superior to the one championed by Plato.66 George praises other aspects of Venice’s governance: the Doge is elected not for a year but for life, and not simply so that he might be a strong ruler having first-hand knowledge and experience but also so that the majesty of the Republic does not wither, as can happen when there is an annual change of leaders. The nobles elected to the Senate are knowledgeable in divine and human matters and stand out for their piety, eloquence, and culture. The people who enter the Council are all patricians and senators, not a confused multitude or an idle and seditious rabble. Venetians took the germ of their constitution from Plato but did not disregard the examples of earlier constitutions. In doing so, they conceived and realized something so fine and noble that, if one were to construct in one’s mind the ultimately best republic, the only thing one could imagine would be the Venetian Republic.67 Unlike earlier Byzantine writers who tended to discredit ancient Greek democracy, George describes a utopia in which domestic stability was a key to the preservation of social order. As he puts it, the brief duration of the Athenian Empire was a result of misfortune, not defects in the Athenian polity. The Athenians did not acquire their empire because of the stability of the city’s constitution, but rather because of the extraordinary virtue of a small group of men. However, after receiving the greatest benefits from those generals, the Athenian people raged against them. The
Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 200; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 130. Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 200-01; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 130-31. 67 Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 201; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 131.
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liberty of the Spartans lasted much longer, but the Spartans excelled solely in land welfare, and Sparta did not achieve any naval glory, nor did it achieve the dignity worthy of an empire.68 The Roman Republic stretched over a vast area, but its liberty was short-lived, precisely because its government was subject to constant changes. The Roman Empire owed its unity to the fact that it had been founded by a single city, but it was never a unified state. Rome was rent so often by civil wars and sedition that it engaged in external wars as a substitute for peace, and many Romans joined the military to secure a more peaceful life.69 In contrast, George celebrates the Venetian Republic in glowing terms as the abode of justice and mistress of peace. She does not launch wars unless for the sake of peace. For more than ten centuries, she has maintained a far-flung empire extending from the utmost recesses of the Adriatic to the furthest extremity of Greece and has now extended her empire over a large part of Italy. The utopian element comes out pronouncedly in George’s eulogy: Venice’s wealth, her power, and her resources have reached such a degree of perfection, by the grace of God and her own virtue, that nothing can be added to her and the city is free from faction, sedition, and discord.70

Chalkokondyles and the Italian City-States By far the most refined and balanced account of the Italian systems of government and the political dynamics that prevailed in late medieval Italy, however, is found in Laonikos Chalkokondyles’ (ca. 1423-90) Apodeixeis Istorion (Demonstration of Histories).71 At the core of Chalkokondyles’ analysis of political phenomena, and the decline of the Byzantine Empire in particular, lies the idea of fortune (tychē) as a driving force in
George passes over the battle of Aegospotami (405 BC) and the crushing defeat of the Athenian navy at the hands of Spartan fleet. 69 Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 201; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 131-32. 70 Collectanea Trapezuntiana, 201-02; “Preface to His Translation of Plato’s Laws,” 132. 71 On Chalkokondyles’ discussion of the political organization of the Italian cities, see Demetrios K. Giannakopoulos, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles’s Views on the Political Systems of the Italian City-States (First Half of the Fifteenth century),” Eoa kai Esperia (2001-3): 69-88 [in Greek]; and, in general, Hans Ditten, “Die Namen für Venedig und Genua bei den letzten byzantinischen Geschichtsschreibern (15. Jahrhundert),” Helikon 6 (1966): 51-70.
68

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human history in a way redolent of Thucydides.72 This leads Chalkokondyles to take issue with previous interpretations of the Ottoman conquest: a) one line of interpretation saw the fall as a sign of divine retribution for Byzantines’ sins; b) a second set of explanations coalesced into the view that the fall was ordained by fate.73 Doukas (fifteenth century) espoused both interpretations. He denounces the intransigence of the Byzantines in endorsing the Union of Florence but also stresses that fortune was not on the Byzantines’ side. Doukas points out that the Byzantines’ bad luck came to a head with the siege of Byzantine capital in May 1453: though fortune initially favored the Byzantines, it eventually abandoned them when

On Thucydides’ influence on Byzantine historiography, see Diether R. Reinsch, “Byzantine Adaptations of Thucydides,” in Brill’s Companion to Thucydides, ed. Antonios Rengakos and Antonis Tsakmakis (Leiden, 2006), 755-78; and, in general, Roger Scott, “The Classical Tradition in Byzantine Historiography,” in Byzantium and the Classical Tradition, ed. Margaret Mullett and Roger Scott (Birmingham, 1981), 61-74; Spyros D. Syropoulos, “The Relation of Byzantine Historians to the Classical Traditions during the Mid-12th-15th Centuries,” Byzantinos Domos 14 (2004-2005): 65-73. On Herodotean influences on Chalkokondyles, consult Athanasios Markopoulos, “Das Bild des Anderen bei Laonikos Chalkokondyles und das Vorbild Herodot,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 50 (2000): 205-16. See also Nicolaos [G.] Nicoloudis, Laonikos Chalkokondyles: A Translation and Commentary of the “Demonstrations of Histories” (Books I-III) (Athens, 1996); idem, Laonikos Chalkokondyles’ The Fall of Byzantium (Thessalonike, 2006), 17-42 [in Greek]. 73 The following account relies on Jonathan Harris, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles and the Rise of the Ottoman Turks,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 27 (2003): 153-70; idem, “The Influence of Plethon’s Idea of Fate on the Historian Laonikos Chalkokondyles,” in Proceedings of the International Congress on Plethon and His Time, Mystras, ed. Linos G. Benakis and Christos P. Baloglou (Athens, 2003), 211-17. See, in general, Marios Philippides, “Early Post-Byzantine Historiography,” in Classics in the Middle Ages, ed. Aldo S. Bernardo and Saul Levin (Binghamton, 1990), 253-63; Marie-Hélène Congourdeau, “Byzance et la fin du monde: Courants de pensées apocalyptiques sous les Paléologues,” in Les traditions apocalyptiques au tournant de la chute de Constantinople, ed. Benjamin Lellouch and Stéphane Yérasimos (Paris, 2000), 55-97; Giorgos Printzipas, “The Historians of the Fall,” in The Fall of Constantinople, ed. Evangelos Chrysos (Nea Smyrne, 1994), 63-97 [in Greek]; Agostino Pertusi, Fine di Bisanzio e fine del mondo: significato e ruolo storico delle profezie sulla caduta di Costantinopoli in Oriente e in Occidente, ed. Enrico Morini (Rome, 1988); C. J. G. Turner, “Pages from Late Byzantine Philosophy of History,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 57 (1964): 346-73; Alexander A. Vasiliev, “Medieval Ideas on the End of the World: West and East,” Byzantion 16 (1942/3): 462-502.

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Giovanni Giustiniani, the head of the Genoese forces, was wounded and withdrew his troops from the walls.74 Chalkokondyles, in contrast, explains the fall of Constantinople as the joint product of fate and virtue (aretē) in the sense of bravery and military skills.75 In attributing the consolidation of Ottoman rule to the virtue of the Ottoman Turks, Chalkokondyles thus foreshadows Italian writers and humanists, such as Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). In his Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy) Machiavelli holds that virtù first was located in Assyria, it then moved to Media, was afterwards in Persia, and from there it shifted to Italy and Rome. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, no other empire endured and kept together the virtù of the world. Virtù is scattered among many nations where people live according to virtù, such as the kingdom of the Franks, the kingdom of the Turks, that of the Sultan of Egypt, the peoples of Germany, and previously the Saracen sect.76 Perhaps the most salient feature of Chalkokondyles’ analysis of Italian politics is a pragmatic effort to anatomize the mechanics of power and to determine the factors that accounted for friction and social division in medieval Italy, notably the conflicts between the Ghibelline and Guelph parties. He sees Genoa as being under Ghibelline control, and Venice and Rome belonging to the Guelph group. The Kingdom of Naples and Tuscany oscillate between the two groups.77 Chalkokondyles attributes the Serenissima’s economic prosperity to its maritime trade, to which the Venetians turned because of the infertility

74 See also Jean Dayantis, Doukas, un historien byzantin du 15 e siècle: Entre Grecs et Turcs (Istanbul, 2008), 47-62; [Michael] Doukas, Byzantinotourkikē historia, trans. Vrasidas Karales (Athens, 1997), “Introduction,” 7-66 [in Greek]. 75 Harris, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles and the Rise of the Ottoman Turks,” 163. 76 Machiavelli, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, bk. II, preface. See also the comments by John M. Najemy, “Machiavelli between East and West,” in From Florence to the Mediterranean and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Anthony Molho, ed. Diogo Ramada, et al. (Florence, 2009), 1: 127-45, 133-34. On Renaissance views on the rise of the Ottoman Empire, see Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA., 2008); Nancy Bisaha, Creating East and West: Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks (Philadelphia, 2004); Mustafa Soykut, Image of the “Turk” in Italy: a History of the “Other” in Early Modern Europe, 1453-1683 (Berlin, 2001). 77 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, vol. 2, 1: Libros V-VII continens, ed. Jenõ Darkó (Budapest, 1923), 70-71.

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of the soil.78 He goes on to extol Venice’s economic and military power, her expansion and dominance in the surrounding region (Terraferma), her military victories over Genoa and Milan, and, last but not least, her system of government, and its citizens’ concern to preserve the constitution.79 In line with classical Greek theorists, Chalkokondyles believes leisure (scholē) to be a prerequisite to full development of civic capacities: accordingly, he explains the Venetian constitution as having evolved from the transmutation of the democratic regime based on broad popular participation to an aristocratic form of government, since the people had to pursue trade activities and did not have leisure to actively participate in the administration of civic affairs.80 Chalkokondyles lauds Venice as a paragon of stability, opposing any novelties and careful to take all possible measures against the degeneration of the regime or all kinds of threats and political ills. He then proceeds to an extensive discussion of the structure of authority within the Serenissima: he identifies the Consiglio Maggiore (megalē voulē), a body composed of 2,000 members (sugklētikoi) who are older than 24 years, that is in charge of electing and appointing the Doge (ēgemōn) and the other magistrates. The Doge has the right of double vote in the meetings of the Council, enjoys high honors, resides in a special palace, and is assisted by six counselors (voulēforoi andres) who serve a six-month term. The Senate (gerousia) is made up of 300 members known for their prudence and is in charge of making decisions that are binding for all the citizens and concern war and peace and diplomatic relations. The judicial authority rests with the Council of Ten (deka archontes), the composition of which depends on whether the accused are from or outside the city. The Council of Ten has full power over the Doge. The Eldest ( gēraioteroi) are at the head of the tax authorities and monitor the administration of the finances; they share power with the Doge and attend meetings with foreign delegations.81

78 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, vol. 1: Præfationem, codicum catalogum et libros I-IV continens, ed. Jenõ Darkó (Budapest, 1922), 175. On Chalkokondyles’ presentation of the Venetian political system, see Giannakopoulos, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles’s Views on the Political Systems,” 74-77. 79 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 1: 176; 1: 177; 1: 181; and 1: 182, respectively. 80 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 1: 182. 81 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 1: 182-85.

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In the cities in and outside Italy that are under Venetian rule, officeholders are usually elected for life and are accountable to Venice directly. The general (stratēgos) of the land military forces is not a Venetian, which precludes any possibility that he might abuse his power and subvert the government. In order to cover the costs for expensive enterprises, citizens are obliged to get a loan (tithe, dekatismos) from the state, which the state pays off in three annual installments.82 Chalkokondyles has similar praise for Florence, a city that was second only to Venice in prosperity.83 He notes approvingly that its civic body is composed of merchants and farmers who stand out for their prudence. Its governmental structure consists of a 500-member parliament (voulē) that serves as the legislative body and has the final say on matters of peace and war and diplomatic affairs. The judicial authority is exercised by two judges. The Gonfaloniere di Giustizia (Sēmaioforos) is the highest magistrate; civic officials are Florentine citizens and members of one of the guilds of the city, are elected quarterly by the people (dēmos), and are entrusted with the administration of the finances of the city.84 Chalkokondyles’ presentation of Genoa is far more accurate than those of his predecessors: he notes that the decline of the city started when the Genoese turned to the signore of Milan for military support in the war against Venice and allowed him to interfere in their internal affairs.85 He sees how the political rivalry between the Doria and Spinola (Spinoura) families led to a destabilizing alternation of democratic and aristocratic rule and ultimately fostered factionalism and civil discord. Chalkokondyles also mentions that the Dorias and the Spinolas controlled the two other families that held power, the Adornos and the Fregosos (Fregousioi). He notes that power is held by the Doge (ēgemon) and a council of the best citizens (aristoi) who come from one of the two dominant families and are together with the Doge in charge of the finances. Chalkokondyles also points to the existence of the council of the people (dēmos) that convokes to decide on matters of war and peace. Although judicial decisions are
Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 1: 185-87. Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 2: 66. Chalkokondyle’s views on Florence are discussed also in Giannakopoulos, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles’s Views on the Political Systems,” 78-79. 84 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 2: 66-67. 85 Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 2: 38. See also Giannakopoulos, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles’s Views on the Political Systems,” 77-78.
83 82

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made by judges (dikastai) who are appointed by the dominant families, the people can lodge an appeal in case they suspect that the judges did not follow the laws of the city.86 In contrast, Chalkokondyles sees Milan as a one-man regime, i.e., a tyranny (tyrannis) and the bulk of Chalkokondyles’ account of the political history of Milan is focused on Francesco Sforza’s (1401-1466) efforts to seize power. He notes that the Milanese aristocratic government was initially under the spell of Venice and did not survive, due to the strong presence of a group of citizens that orchestrated Sforza’s installation in power and the consolidation of his regime by violent means.87

Byzantines Go West: Apostolis, Cydones, Chrysoloras, and Bessarion The signs of decline of the Byzantine Empire and the influx of Byzantine immigrants to the West in the fifteenth century elicited varied reactions among Byzantine writers. Michael Apostolis carried on earlier views expressed by the Patriarch George Scholarios (ca. 1400-1472) on the ancient Greek legacy as the element that set the “Hellenes” apart from “barbarians.”88 Apostolis was born around 1422 in Constantinople but,
Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 2: 38-40. Laonici Chalcocandylæ Historiarum Demonstrationes, 2: 73-74. See also Giannakopoulos, “Laonikos Chalkokondyles’s Views on the Political Systems,” 80. 88 Oeuvres complètes de Gennade Scholarios, ed. Louis Petit (Paris, 1935), 4: 403-06. For further discussion and references, see Christopher Livanos, Greek Tradition and Latin Influence in the Work of George Scholarios: “Alone against All of Europe” (Piscataway, NJ., 2006), 89-94. On the notion of the “Hellene”in the late Byzantine period, see Kaldellis, Hellenism in Byzantium, ch. “Imperial Failure and the Emergence of National Hellenism,” 317-88; Johannes Koder, “Griechische Identitäten im Mittelalter: Aspekte einer Entwicklung,” in Byzantium: State and Society [title in Greek], ed. Anna Avramea et al. (Athens, 2003), 297-319; Angeliki E. Laiou, “From ‘Roman’ to ‘Hellene’,” in The Byzantine Fellowship Lectures 1, ed. Nomikos M. Vaporis (Brookline, MA., 1974), 13-28; Steven Runciman, The Last Byzantine Renaissance (Cambridge, 1970), 19-23; idem, “Byzantine and Hellene in the Fourteenth Century,” in Volume on Konstantinos Armenopoulos, ed. Georgios Michaelides-Nouaros (Thessalonike, 1952), 27-31; Hans-Georg Beck, “Reichsidee und nationale Politik im spätbyzantinischen Staat,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 53 (1960): 86-94; Hans Ditten, “Βαρβαροι, Ελληνες und Ρωμαιοι bei den letzten byzantinischen Geschichts-schreibern,” in Actes du XIIe Congrès International d’Études Byzantines (Belgrade, 1964), 2: 273-99; Kilian Lechner, “Byzanz und die Barbaren,” Saeculum 6 (1955): 292-306; idem, “Hellenen und Barbaren im Weltbild der Byzantiner: Die alten Bezeichnungen als Ausdruck eines neuen Kulturbewußtseins” (Ph.D. Diss., University of Munich, 1954); Julius Jüthner, Hellenen und Barbaren: Aus der Geschichte des Nationalbewußtseins
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after the fall of that city, spent the rest of his life in Crete until his death around 1480. He traveled several times to Italy and had the hope of receiving a chair of Greek in Italy, a plan that was never fulfilled. While in Crete, sometime after 1453, Apostolis wrote a speech apparently designed to refute the claim of the superiority of Western over Greek culture in regard to the birth of Christ and the procession of the Holy Spirit. While the bulk of the speech revolves around theological issues, in the second part he engages in an interesting comparison of the cultural achievements of the Greeks and the Westerners and praises the Greeks for having discovered the beauty of letters and philosophy; he ends the comparison with a litany of ancient Greek philosophers and Church fathers.89 Apostolis had done something similar in an earlier work, which highlighted the ways in which the activities of Bessarion (ca. 1400-1472), Bishop of Nicaea and later cardinal, contributed to the florescence of sciences in his contemporary Italy.90 Arguably, one of the most pressing challenges that confronted proponents of Byzantium’s cultural superiority, such as Apostolis, was to come to grips with the crisis of the Byzantine Empire.91 Forced to admit that the Empire was in the throes of a total collapse, such writers set forth the notion that the fall of Byzantium was the manifestation of an
(Leipzig, 1923); and, in general, Apostolos E. Vacalopoulos, Origins of the Greek Nation: The Byzantine Period, 1204-1461, trans. Ian Moles (New Brunswick, NJ., 1970). 89 Vasileios Laourdas, “Μιχαηλ Αποστολη, Λογος περι Ελλαδος και Ευρωπης,” Epeteris Etaireias Byzantinon Spoudon 19 (1949): 235-44; Deno J. Geanakoplos, Greek Scholars in Venice: Studies in the Dissemination of Greek Learning from Byzantium to the West (Cambridge, MA., 1962), 73-110; idem, “A Byzantine looks at the Renaissance: The Attitude of Michael Apostolis Toward the Rise of Italy to Cultural Eminence,” Greek and Byzantine Studies 1 (1958): 157-62; and, in general, Anna Pontani, “Sullo studio del greco in Occidente nel sec. XV: l’esempio di Michele Apostolis,” in Italia ed Europa nella linguistica del Rinascimento: Confronti e relazioni, ed. Mirko Tavoni, vol. 1: L’Italia e il mondo romanzo (Modena, 1996), 133-70; Gerhard Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie in Byzanz: Der Streit um die theologische Methodik in der spätbyzantinischen Geistesgeschichte (14./15. Jh.), seine systematischen Grundlagen und seine historische Entwicklung (Munich, 1977), 228-29. 90 Christos G. Patrinelis, “Μιχαηλ Αποστολη προσφωνημα ανεκδοτον εις τον καρδιναλιον Βησσαριωνα,” Αθηνα 65 (1961), 129-37, 134. 91 See, in general, Franz Tinnefeld, “Zur Krise des Spätmittelalters in Byzanz,” in Europa 1400: Die Krise des Spätmittelalters, ed. Ferdinand Seibt and Winfried Eberhard (Stuttgart, 1984), 284-94; Jan-Louis van Dieten, “Politische Ideologie und Niedergang im Byzanz der Palaiologen,” Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 6 (1979):1-35; Franz Dölger, “Politische und geistige Strömungen im sterbenden Byzanz,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 3 (1954): 3-18.

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inexorable natural necessity. Starting from the premise that each civilization goes through a cycle and has a beginning, a middle phase, and an end, Apostolis draws the grim conclusion that while the Byzantines were the remnants of the Greeks and were doomed to become enslaved, the Italians were in the beginning of their civilization and free.92 In 1459, he called on the German Emperor Frederick III to liberate mainland Greece, restore the Byzantine Empire, and appoint his son Maximilian as ruler of the East.93 While Apostolis embraced a fatalistic and despondent approach, Demetrios Cydones (ca. 1324-ca. 1398) challenged long-held beliefs about the inferiority of the Westerners and actually advocated emulating Westerners in a last-minute effort to salvage the tottering empire. Cydones’ program presented a forceful challenge to deeply ingrained clichés about the cultural preeminence of the Byzantines and the standard equation of the Latins with barbarians.94 He readily recognizes the superiority of Latins and their potential to improve those who associate and interact with them. The Latins, he observes, have mastered Aristotle and Plato, and their Muse is more impressive than that of those two Greek philosophers, whereas the Byzantines have neglected them to such a degree that they reckon the method of dialectical proof to be a Latin invention. Moreover, unlike the long-winded Attic style, of which the Byzantines are so proud, the Latins have the ability to express truth in a succinct style and are better equipped for logical disputation.95 Cydones visited Venice three times, in 1369-71,1389-91, and 1396-7. His correspondence abounds with allusions to the repercussions of the wars between the Venetians and the Genoese on trade.96 In a letter to
Laourdas, “Μιχαηλ Αποστολη, Λογος περι Ελλαδος και Ευρωπης,” 244. Vasileios Laourdas, “Michael Apostolis’ Appeal to Emperor Frederick III,” in Geras Antoniou Keramopoulou (Athens, 1953), 516-27 [in Greek]. 94 See, in general, Alain Ducellier, “La notion d’Europe à Byzance des origines au XIIème I siècle. Quelques réflexions,” Byzantinoslavica 55 (1994): 1-7. 95 Ihor Ševčenko, “The Decline of Byzantium Seen through the Eyes of its Intellectuals,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 15 (1961): 169-86, 176; Frances Kianka, “Demetrius Cydones (c.1324-c.1397): Intellectual and Diplomatic Relations between Byzantium and the West in the Fourteenth Century” (Ph.D. Diss., Fordham University, 1981), and, in general, Franz Tinnefeld, “Das Niveau der abendländischen Wissenschaft aus der Sicht gebildeter Byzantiner im 13. und 14. Jh.,” Byzantinische Forschungen 6 (1979): 241-80. 96 E.g. Démétrius Cydonès, Correspondance, ed. Raymond J. Loenertz (Città del Vaticano, 1960), 2:32 (Letter 161, dated 1377-78), German trans. Demetrios Kydones, Briefe, trans. Franz Tinnefeld (Stuttgart, 1991), 2: 85; ibid., 38 (Letter 167, dated 1376-77), Briefe, 2:72; ibid., 72 (Letter 198 dated 1381), Briefe, 170. See also George T. Dennis,
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John Laskaris Kalopheros (written between 1371 and 1374), he records his impressions of Venice and the beauty of the city. In terms reminiscent of Bessarion’s utopian vision of Venice, Cydones visualizes the Serenissima as epitomizing the perfection of an engraved image: he exalts the geographical location of the city, the beauty of its buildings, the churches, and the docks; the dedication to craftsmanship; the abundance of goods in the marketplace; and the large ships. However, his account is not limited to the beauty of the city; Cydones also points to the excellence of its constitutional arrangements: the prudence of the council, the force of the laws, the punishments for evildoers and malefactors, and the rewards for good citizens. In addition, he stresses that the political system of the Serenissima affords the citizens common participation in good things and leaves no room for idleness; the harmony that characterizes the entire city is like that in music and the whole community has the feeling of forming a single body.97 Later in the 1380s, he urged Kalopheros to settle down in
“Demetrios Cydones and Venice,” in Bisanzio, Venezia e il mondo franco-greco (XII-XV secolo), 495-502, 496-7. On Cydones’ ties to Italy, see John W. Barker, “Emperors, Embassies, and Scholars: Diplomacy and the Transmission of Byzantine Humanism to Renaissance Italy,” in Church and Society in Late Byzantium, ed. Dimiter G. Angelov (Kalamazoo, MI., 2009), 158-79, 159-64; Frances Kianka, “Demetrios Kydones and Italy,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 49 (1995): 99-110. 97 Démétrius Cydonès, Correspondance, 1:53 (Letter 24), Briefe 2:491. Cydones’ description of Venice is an interesting specimen of the Byzantine ekphrasis-genre and is strongly reminiscent of the one he composed for his native city, Thessalonike, in 1346 in the aftermath of the Zealot revolution: Cydones extols the size, beauty, wealth, location, fertility of land, shrines and churches, market-place, harbor, and fortification of the city. Thessalonike enjoys the protection of St. Demetrios, since he abides there and absorbs social tensions, serves as the mediator between the citizens and God, induces its rulers to be moderate and provide relief from heavy taxation, and is the commander of the city against external enemies and inspires dread in those who dare attack the city. Thessalonike has always been a true Helikon, as it hosts a galaxy of distinguished orators, philosophers, and scholars and being there is like living in Athens in the company of Demosthenes and Plato. The text can be found in Vasiliki Nerantzi-Varmazi, Encomia of Byzantine Thessaloniki: Introduction, Texts, Translation (Thessalonike, 1999), 107-10 (original text), 111-13 (Modern Greek trans.); English trans. and commentaries in Barker, “Late Byzantine Thessalonike: A Second City’s Challenges and Responses,” 5-6. See also idem, “The ‘Monody’ of Demetrios Kydones on the Zealot Rising of 1345 in Thessaloniki,” in Essays in Memory of Vasileios Laourdas (Thessalonike, 1975), 285-300. On Byzantine encomia of Thessalonike, see Helen Kaltsogianne, et al., Thessaloniki in Byzantine Literature: Rhetorical and Hagiographical Texts (Thessalonike, 2002) [in Greek]; Nerantzi-Varmazi, Encomia of Byzantine Thessaloniki; Herbert Hunger, “Laudes thessalonicenses,” in Etaireia Makedonikon Spoudon, Eortastikos tomos, 50 chronia: 1939-1989 (Thessalonike, 1992), 99-113. On Byzantine ekphraseis such as Nicholas Mesarites’ (b. 1163/64) description of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Con-

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Venice, a city that will provide safety for him and his possessions, adding that he himself would be happy to move there.98 Cydones received Venetian citizenship in 1391 and moved to Venice in 1396.99 Similar ideas about the achievements of the Italians were expressed by Manuel Chrysoloras (ca. 1350-1415), a student of Cydones who taught Greek in Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Rome. In his Comparison of Old and New Rome (1411) written in the form of a letter addressed to the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (1350-1425), Chrysoloras points out how similar the ancient ruins of Rome are to those in Constantinople, but argues for the superiority of Constantinople over Rome due to its unique geographical location and the beauty of its buildings and monuments.100 Later though, in a Discourse addressed to Manuel, he laments the fact that the Byzantines neglect their classical tradition, whereas the classical legacy is being studied intensively in Italy and probably other countries.101 Cydones’ and Chrysoloras’ statements about the accomplishments of the Latins and the Italians provide the backdrop to a letter that Bessarion wrote to Constantine Palaeologos (1404-1453), Despot of Mystra and the future Byzantine emperor Constantine XI, around 1440. There, Bessarion,
stantinople, see the following studies by Ruth Webb: “The Aesthetics of Sacred Space: Narrative, Metaphor, and Motion in Ekphraseis of Church Buildings,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 53 (1999): 59-74; and, in general, Ekphrasis, Imagination and Persuasion in Ancient Rhetorical Theory and Practice (Farnham, VT., 2009); “Ekphrasis Ancient and Modern: the Invention of a Genre,” Word and Image 15 (1999): 7-18; as well as Efterpi Mitsi and Panagiotis Agapetos, “Eikon and Logos: The ‘Ekphrasis’ from Ancient to Byzantine Literature,” in Eikon and Logos: Six Byzantine Descriptions of Works of Art, ed. Panagiotis Agapetos and Martin Hinterberger (Athens, 2006), 15-38 [in Greek]; Helen Saradi, “The Kallos of the Byzantine City: The Development of a Rhetorical Topos and Historical Reality,” Gesta 34 (1995): 37-56. 98 Démétrius Cydonès, Correspondance, 2:113-4 (Letter 223, dated 1381-2), Briefe, 185; ibid., 318 (Letter 371, dated 1387-8), Briefe, 4: 56. On Kalopheros, see Ambrosius K. Eszer, Das abenteuerliche Leben des Johannes Laskaris Kalopheros: Forschungen zur Geschichte der ost-westlichen Beziehungen im 14. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden, 1969). 99 Raymond J. Loenertz, “Démétrius Cydonès, citoyen de Venise,” Echos d’Orient 37 (1938): 125-26. 100 The text can be found in Cristina Billò, “Manuele Crisolora, Confronto tra l’Antica e la Nuova Roma,” Medioevo greco 0 (2000): 1-26, 6-26. See also Roma parte dal cielo: Confronto tra l’Antica e la Nuova Roma di Manuele Crisolora, trans. Guido Cortassa (Turin, 2000); Manuele Crisolora, Le due Rome: Confronto tra Roma e Constantinopoli; Con la traduzione latina di Francesco Aleardi, ed. Francesca Niutta (Bologna, 2001). 101 Manuel Chrysoloras and His Discourse addressed to the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, ed. Christos G. Patrinelis and Demetrios Z. Sofianos (Athens, 2001), 119.

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who was destined to become the right hand of a number of popes, spells out an elaborate program for drastic economic and educational reforms.102 The core of his project is the notion of the Peloponnese as an autonomous economic sphere and is strongly reminiscent of the two memoranda that George Gemistos Plethon (Pletho) (d. 1452) had addressed earlier to the Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (1350-1425) in 1418103 and his son Theodore (1396-1448), Despot of Mystra, in 1416.104

On Bessarion’s life and works, see Giuseppe L. Coluccia, Basilio Bessarione: Lo spirito greco e l’Occidente (Florence, 2009); Concetta Bianca, Da Bisanzio a Roma: Studi sul cardinale Bessarione (Rome, 1999); Ludwig Mohler, Kardinal Bessarion als Theologe, Humanist und Staatsmann: Funde und Forschungen 3 vols. (Paderborn, 1923-42). Bessarion’s influence on Italian humanism is discussed in Eleonora Lo Presti, La filosofia nel suo sviluppo storico: la prospettiva storiografica di Marsilio Ficino e l’influenza dei dotti bizantini Giorgio Gemisto Pletone e Giovanni Basilio Bessarione (Tesi di Dottorato, University of Bologna, 2007). 103 Georgios Gemistos to Manuel Palaeologos Concerning the Affairs of the Peloponnese— Spyridon P. Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka (Athens, 1972), 3: 246-65; Christos P. Baloglou, Georgiou Gemistou Plēthōnos peri Peloponnēsiakōn pragmatōn (Athens, 2002), 213-41 (Modern Greek trans. with commentary), partial English trans. in Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium, 198-206; German trans. in Wilhelm Blum, Georgios Gemistos Plethon: Politik, Philosophie und Rhetorik im spätbyzantinischen Reich (1355-1452) (Stuttgart, 1988). For discussions of Plethon’s addresses see e.g. Baloglou, Georgiou Gemistou Plethonos peri Peloponnesiakon pragmaton, 97-127; Proceedings of the International Congress on Plethon and His Time, chs. Savvas P. Spentzas, “The Military Organization of the Peloponnese: G. Gemistos Plethon’s Economic, Social and Fiscal Proposals,” (243-65) [in Greek]; Anastassios D. Karayiannis, “Georgios Gemistos Plethon on Economic Policy,” (306-10); Christos P. Baloglou, “The Institutions of Ancient Sparta in the Work of Pletho,” Antike und Abendland 51 (2005): 137-49; Speros Vryonis, Jr., “Crises and Anxieties in Fifteenth Century Byzantium: the Reassertion of Old, and the Emergence of New Cultural Forms,” in Islamic and Middle Eastern Societies, ed. Robert Olson (Brattleboro, VT, 1987), 100-25, 120-22; Christopher M. Woodhouse, George Gemistos Plethon: the Last of the Hellenes (Oxford, 1986, reprinted 2000), 92-109; N. Patrick Perritore, “The Political Thought of Gemistos Plethon: A Renaissance Byzantine Reformer,” Polity 10 (1977): 168-91; Johannes Irmscher, “Die Wandlungen der Staatsidee im ausgehenden Byzanz,” Rivista di cultura classica e medioevale 19 (1977): 446-50; George A. Papacostas, “George GemistosPlethon: A Study of His Philosophical Ideas and His Role as a Philosopher-Teacher” (Ph.D. Diss., New York University, 1967), esp. 168-90; J. Duncan M. Derret, “Gemistus Plethon, the Essenes, and More’s Utopia,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 27 (1965): 579-606; John Mamalakis, “The Impact of Contemporary Events on George Gemistos’ Ideas,” in Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Byzantine Studies, ed. S. Kyriakides, et al. (Athens, 1956), 2:498-532, esp. 504-511 [in Greek]; Alberto Parisotti, “Idee religiose e sociali di un filosofo greco del medio evo,” in Scritti vari di filologia, ed.

102

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Plethon upheld the vision of the Peloponnese as a self-governing political entity with a population of pure Hellenic stock and education, which he saw ideally suited for the implementation of his political experiments. The specific form of regime envisioned by Plethon as appropriate to the Peloponnese is one with a powerful monarch, i.e., the Despot of Mystra, a moderate number of educated men from the middle class of the populace as his counselors. Plethon recommends a strong army made up of native Greeks, a class of taxpayers, and forced labor for criminals.105 Very much in Plato’s spirit, he prescribes the regimentation of the citizenry into three main segments: the ruling class; merchants and artisans; and husbandmen, and underlines the need for a permanent citizen militia.106 Following Plato’s lead, he stipulates abolition of private property, strict regulation of trade activities with a view to the local needs, and limited use of coinage.
G. Crociani (Rome, 1901), 1-19; Henry F. Tozer, “A Byzantine Reformer,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 7 (1886): 353-80; Fritz Schultze, Georgios Gemistos Plethon und seine reformatorischen Bestrebungen ( Jena, 1874), ch. “Die Staatslehre,” 264-302. See, in general, also Maxime Podromides, “Pléthon à Mistra: une Renaissance Païenne au XVe siècle,” Cahiers Balkaniques 24 (1996): 267-81; François Masai, Pléthon et le platonisme de Mistra (Paris, 1956). 104 Advice to the Despot Theodore Concerning the Affairs of the Peloponnese—Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 114-35; Baloglou, Georgiou Gemistou Plethonos peri Peloponnesiakon pragmaton, 142-83 (Modern Greek trans. with commentary), partial English trans. in Barker, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium, 206-212. On the history of the Despotate of the Morea, see Denis A. Zakythinos, Le despotat grec de Morée (1262-1460), vol. 1: Histoire politique (Paris, 1932; rev. ed. Chryssa Maltezou (London, 1975), esp. ch. “Le despotat sous les Paléologues (1383-1460),” 119-284. 105 A diametrically different view was expressed by Mazaris in his Journey to Hades, a Dialogue of the Dead about Certain Officials of the Imperial Court: the Peloponnese is inhabited by seven distinct ethnic groups (Laconians, Italians, Peloponnesians, Slavs, Albanians, Gypsies, and Jews) and all these groups are a helter-skelter hotchpotch of everything. As a result, each group inevitably imitates the customs, laws, national character, social conduct, and vices of the other, Mazaris’ Journey to Hades: or Interviews with Dead Men About Certain Officials of the Imperial Court, Greek text with trans., notes, introduction and index (Buffalo, NY., 1975), 76 and 78 (Greek text), 77 and 79 (English trans.). On Mazaris, see also Rudolf Hiestand, “Nova Francia—nova Graecia: Morea zwischen Franken, Venezianern und Griechen,” in Die Kultur Griechenlands in Mittelalter und Neuzeit, ed. Reinhard Lauer and Peter Schreiner (Göttingen, 1996), 55-72; Rainer Walther, “Zur Hadesfahrt des Mazaris,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 25 (1976): 195-206. 106 On Plethon’s prescriptions for the tripartite social division, see Christos P. Baloglou, “Die Einteilung des Volkes in drei Stände bei Georgios Gemistos im Vergleich zu Hippodamos von Milet und den Physiokraten,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 46 (1996): 311-24.

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Plethon points to the deleterious effects of Venetian trade on the economy of the Peloponnese: their currency causes the devaluation of local currency, and the import of materials from Venice ruins the textile industry in the Peloponnese, which produces wool, silk, and cotton but has forgotten how to produce clothes.107 In his memorandum, Bessarion retains the contours of Plethon’s optimum polity: he proposes the division of the populace into three classes and shares Plethon’s strictures against the accretion of wealth. He advocates the rule of the virtuous and meritorious, not of the rich.108 He finds
Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 3: 263. See also Angeliki E. Laiou and Cécile Morrisson, The Byzantine Economy (Cambridge, 2007), 223; Angeliki E. Laiou, “Byzantine Economic Thought and Ideology,” in The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, ed. eadem (Washington, DC., 2002), 3: 1123-44, 1139-44. On Plethon’s economic ideas, see the following studies by Chrestos P. Baloglou, Studies on Plethon’s Economic Ideas (Athens, 2001) [in Greek]; “Economic Thought in the Last Byzantine Period,” in Ancient and Medieval Economic Ideas and Concepts of Social Justice, ed. S. Todd Lowry and Barry Gordon (Leiden, 1998), 405-38, 42430; Georgios Gemistos-Plethon: Ökonomisches Denken in der spätbyzantinischen Geisteswelt (Athens, 1998); “George Finlay and Georgios Gemistos Plethon: New Evidence from Finlay’s Records,” Medioevo Greco 3 (2003): 23-42; as well as Savvas P. Spentzas, G. Gemistos Plethon, the Philosopher of Mystra: His Economic, Social and Fiscal Views (Athens, 1987) [in Greek]. 108 Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 32-45. See also Jonathan Harris, “Cardinal Bessarion and the Ideal State,” in Der Beitrag der byzantinischen Gelehrten zur abendländischen Renaissance des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts, ed. Evangelos Konstantinou (Frankfurt a. M, 2006), 91-97, 92-93; Chryssa Maltezou, “Still More on the Political Views of Besssarion,” ibid., 99-105; Christos P. Baloglou, “Bessarion’s Proposals on Economic and Social Policy,” Byzantinos Domos 5-6 (1991/1992): 47-68 [in Greek]; Lenos Mavrommatis, “Cardinal Bessarion and the Modernisation of the Peloponnese,” Symmeikta 9 (1994): 41-50 [in Greek]; Johannes Dräseke, “Plethons und Bessarions Denkschriften über die Angelegenheiten im Peloponnes,” Neue Jahrbücher fiir das klassische Altertum, Geschichte und deutsche Literatur 27 (1911): 102-19. In general see also Peter Schreiner, “Byzanz und der Westen im politischen Denken Bessarions: Die autographen Notizen im Marc. gr. 407 (= 1032),” in ΦΙΛΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΤΗΣ: Studi in onore di Marino Zorzi, ed. Chryssa Maltezou, et al. (Venice, 2008), 413-25; Silvia Ronchey, “L’ultimo bizantino: Bessarione e gli ultimi regnanti di Bisanzio,” in L’Eredità greca e l’ellenismo veneziano, ed. Gino Benzoni (Florence, 2002), 75-92. On the links between Bessarion’s and Plethon’s political thought, see Agostino Pertusi, “In margine alla questione dell’umanesimo bizantino: il pensiero politico del Cardinal Bessarione e i suoi rapporti con il pensiero di Giorgio Gemisto Pletone,” Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici n.s. 5 (XV) (1968): 95-104. For a more detailed comparison between Bessarion’s and Plethon’s proposals for economic and social reform, consult Baloglou, Studies on Plethon’s Economic Ideas, 161-85.
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Greeks to be naturally mild, assiduous in the pursuit of virtue, eager to imitate what is good, brave, courteous, and inclined to learning. Bessarion ascribes the decay of the empire to the faults of its leadership and its failure to provide for the people’s prosperity. A substantial portion of Bessarion’s program is devoted to discussing measures against illiteracy. He laments the lack of education and ignorance of his contemporaries, though Greeks had given science, art, and knowledge to the world. He instructs the governor of the Peloponnese to send some young men to study classical letters in Italy so that they could teach others after their return to the Peloponnese. Since the Latins did not hesitate to take what they lacked from the Greeks, Bessarion deems it appropriate that the Greeks import knowledge from the West, thus reclaiming their own heritage from those who owe it to them.109 Bessarion insists on tight control of exports and imports and suggests importing only those goods which are absolutely necessary and are not produced in the Peloponnese and exporting only those which are in surplus. Once again, he approvingly points to the example of the Italian cities that forbid export of goods that are necessary for the sustenance of the local population.110 Intriguingly, though, whereas Plethon saw Western commerce as a major threat to the economy of the Peloponnese, Bessarion praises Western glass, textiles, weapons, ships, and water wheels; he even goes so far as to propose a plan tantamount to what one would call today technological espionage to redress the lack of advanced industry in the Morea and uplift the local economy:111 he recommends that four or eight young men be secretly sent to Italy to learn craft-skills and the Italian language in order to be able to follow up on what is said.112 Most intriguingly, unlike most of his predecessors who judged changes in the laws to be a chief cause of instability and disorder, Bessarion goes to great lengths to establish the importance of promulgating laws with an eye to
Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 40. Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 41. 111 See also Jonathan Harris, “Bessarion on Shipbuilding: a Re-interpretation,” Byzantinoslavica 55 (1994): 291-303, esp. 291-2, 303; Lynn White, Jr., Medieval Religion and Technology: Collected Essays (Berkeley, 1978), ch. “Cultural Climates and Technological Advance in the Middle Ages,” 217-53, 223; A. G. Keller, “A Byzantine Admirer of ‘Western’ Progress: Cardinal Bessarion,” Cambridge Historical Journal 11 (1955): 343-48; Alexander Kazhdan, “The Italian and Late Byzantine City,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 49 (1995): 1-22, 4-5. 112 Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 44.
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the needs emerging from the changes in political realities.113 He calls for elasticity and innovation and commends the practices followed in the Italian city-states: to pass new laws whenever necessary and to abolish those considered to be no longer useful.114 In a letter he wrote from Viterbo to the Doge Cristoforo Moro on May 31, 1468, Bessarion informs him of his decision to donate his collection of Greek and Latin manuscripts to Venice.115 In the letter, he expatiates on his reasons for choosing Venice as the repository of his books, the things that he valued most in his life: after the fall of Constantinople, his soul and thoughts were in Venice, the only Italian city that enjoys genuine domestic tranquility, peace, and the highest degree of security. There, authority is exercised according to right laws, with prudence, equity, wisdom, and integrity. As Bessarion phrases it, Venice is the abode of virtue, prudence, sobriety, justice, and faith. Her rulers are characterized by impartiality and temperance, are immune to passions and malicious feelings, prefer good over evil, are experienced, and hold the keys of power with prudence. People from almost the whole world flock to Venice. Greeks in particular, arriving by sea, disembark first in Venice. The affinities between Greeks and Venetians are so strong that the Greeks arrive in the Serenissima feeling as if they are entering another Byzantium. And now that Greece has fallen to the Turks, Bessarion has chosen Venice as his patria.116
On Bessarion’s predecessors, see Donald M. Nicol, “Byzantine Political Thought,” in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c. 350-c. 1450, 51-79, 62-63. 114 Lampros, Palaiologeia kai Peloponnēsiaka, 4: 37-38. 115 On the donation, see Marino Zorzi, “Bessarion’s Scientific Manuscripts, now in the Marciana Library,” in Byzantium—Venice—Modern Hellenism: A Wandering in the World of Greek Scientific Thought, ed. George N. Vlachakes and Thymios Nikolaides (Athens, 2004), 13-22 [title of volume in Greek]; idem, La Libreria di San Marco: Libri, lettori, società nella Venezia dei Dogi (Milan, 1987); Carlotta Labowsky, Bessarion’s Library and the Biblioteca Marciana: Six Early Inventories (Rome, 1979), 3-5; Henri A. Omont, “Inventaire des manuscrits grecs et latins donnés à Saint-Marc de Venise par le cardinal Bessarion en 1468,” Revue des bibliothèques 4 (1984): 129-87; Cento codici Bessarionei, catalogo di mostra, ed. Tullia Gasparrini Leporace and Elpidio Mioni (Venice, 1968), 101-11. 116 Zacharias N. Tsirpanlis, “La basilica di San Marco a Venezia in testi bizantini e postbizantini,” in San Marco: Aspetti storici e agiografici, ed. Antonio Niero (Venice, 1996), 494-503, 497-98 [Greek version in Thesavrismata 26 (1996): 94-104]; Deno J. Geanakoplos, Byzantine East and Latin West: Two Worlds of Christendom in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Studies in Ecclesiastical and Cultural History (Oxford, 1966), 116; idem, “La
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Bessarion’s praise of Venice echoes previous Byzantine laudes of the Serenissima. The anonymous poem Diēgēsis tēs foumistēs Venetias (Narration about the Famous Venice), written in vernacular Greek around the end of the fifteenth century or not long after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople, epitomizes this trend: the writer asserts that there is no other place like Venice and extols the beauty of the Church of St Mark and the palace of the doge.117 Dorotheos of Mytilene, who visited Venice in 1439 on his way to the council of Ferrara, relates how impressed he is by the beauty of the city, adding that one would not be wrong calling it the second Promised Land. Dorotheos was deeply impressed by the Church of St. Mark, the Doge’s palace and the residences of the nobles. Dorotheos extols Venice’s wealth and culture, its unique geographical location, its order, and the intelligence of the citizens and points to the large number of people in the streets ecstatically expecting with joy the arrival of the Emperor.118 Likewise, Sylvester Syropoulos (1401-ca. 1464) who visited the Serenissima during the same period relates how impressed the Patriarch and the Byzantine delegation were by the splendor of the interior of the Church of St. Mark and especially by the precious stones and the size and beauty of the pearls—objects, as he adds dryly, that had been brought to Venice from Constantinople during the period of the Latin occupation.119

colonia greca di Venezia e il suo significato per il Rinascimento,” in Venezia e l’Oriente fra tardo Medioevo e Rinascimento, ed. Agostino Pertusi (Florence, 1966), 183-203, 186. See, in general, Silvia Ronchey, “Bessarion Venetus,” in ΦΙΛΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΤΗΣ, 375-401; Marino Zorzi, “Bessarione e Venezia,” in Bessarione e l’Umanesimo: Catalogo della mostra, ed. Gianfranco Fiaccadori (Naples, 1994), 197-228. 117 Phaidon K. Bubulides, “∆ιηγησις της φουμιστης Βενετιας,” Athena 69 (1966/67): 181-90; Spyridon Lampros, “Η διηγησις της φουμιστης Βενετιας,” Neos Hellenomnemon 6 (1909): 369-81 [in Greek]; as well as Tsirpanlis, “La basilica di San Marco a Venezia in testi bizantini e postbizantini,” 498-99; Hans Georg Beck, Geschichte der byzantinischen Volksliteratur (Munich, 1971), 203; Lionello Levi, “Una curiosa leggenda veneziana in un carme neogreco,” Ateneo Veneto 34 (1911): 125-40 [Greek trans. by Spyridon Lampros in Neos Hellenomnemon 8 (1911): 193-205]; idem, “Un carme greco medievale in lode di Venezia,” Ateneo Veneto 25 (1902): 188-94. On Byzantine and post-Byzantine praises of Venice, see Erwin Fenster, Laudes Constantinopolitanae (Munich, 1968), 313-15. 118 Quae supersunt Actorum Graecorum Concilii Florentini, pars I: Res Ferrariae gestae, ed. Joseph Gill (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1953), 4-5. 119 Les ‘mémoires’ du Grand Ecclésiarque de l’Église de Constantinople Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le Concile de Florence (1438-1439), ed. and trans. Vitalien Laurent (Rome, 1971), 222 (Greek text), 223 (French trans.); Tsirpanlis, “La basilica di San Marco a Venezia in testi bizantini e postbizantini,” 496-97.

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In 1463, the Athenian Demetrius Chalkondyles (1423-1511) received the newly established chair of Greek Studies at the University of Padua. In the inaugural lecture he delivered before the Venetian authorities for that occasion, he relies on references to ancient Greek culture and pointedly concludes with a call to the Venetian government to liberate Greece from Turkish oppression.120 Bessarion also worked to establish an independent Greek colony in Tuscany a year before his death in 1472. According to the plan, Anna Notaras Palaeologina (d. 1507), daughter of the Grand Duke of Constantinople Loukas Notaras, would cover the costs for the travel of the refugees.121 The rationale behind the plan was to solicit the permission of the commune of Siena to acquire land for building a settlement around the Montauto Castle in the Maremma. In May 1472, Jacob, Anna’s brother, asked to be registered as a Sienese citizen. In July of the same year, Anna sent a delegation to the Sienese authorities, and a draft contract was drawn up by Anna and her brother and the commune of Siena. According to the agreement, the Castle would be handed over to host one hundred Greek refugee families. The members of the Greek colony would be entitled to live in accordance with Justinian’s laws and the Byzantine mores and customs. They were expected to provide military support to
120 Deno J. Geanakoplos, “The Discourse of Demetrius Chalcondyles on the Inauguration of Greek Studies at the University of Padua in 1463,” Studies in the Renaissance 21 (1974): 118-44. On Chalkondyles’ life and works, see F. R. Hausmann, “Demetrio Calcondila—Demetrio Castreno—Pietro Demetrio—Demetrio Guazzelli?,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 32 (1970): 607-11; Giuseppe Cammelli, I dotti bizantini e le origini dell’umanesimo, vol. 3: Demetrio Calcondila (Florence, 1954). 121 On the plan and Anna Notaras’ involvement and activities in Italy, see Christopher Young, “An Attempt to Found a Greek Colony in Tuscany 1471-1477,” in Constantinopla, 550 años de su caída, ed. Encarnación Motos Guirao and Moschos Morfakidis Filactós vol. 2: La caída (Granada, 2006), 261-66; Chryssa Maltezou, Anna Palaiologina Notara: a Tragic Figure between the Byzantine and the Modern Greek World (Venice, 2004), 27-42 [in Greek]; Silvia Ronchey, “Un’aristocratica bizantina in fuga: Anna Notaras Paleologina,” in Donne a Venezia: Vicende femminili fra Trecento e Settecento, ed. Susanne Winter (Rome, 2004), 23-42; Donald M. Nicol, The Byzantine Lady: Ten Portraits 1250-1500 (Cambridge, 1994), ch. “Anna Notaras Palaiologina, died 1507,” 96-109, esp. 99-100; Manoussos Manoussacas,” Recherches sur la vie de Jean Plousiadénos (Joseph de Méthone) (1429 ?-1500),” Revue des études byzantines 17 (1959): 28-51, esp. 41-43; Giovanni Cecchini, “Anna Notara Paleologa, Una principessa greca in Italia e la politica senese di ripopolamento della Maremma,” Bullettino senese di storia patria n. s. 9 (1938): 1-41; Carlo Calisse, “Montauto di Maremma. Notizie e documenti,” Bullettino senese di storia patria 3 (1896): 177-221.

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the city in case of war.122 The proposal was approved by the Sienese government in July 1474. Subsequently, Anna and her emissaries were granted Sienese citizenship, but Anna moved to Venice a year later, and the plan never materialized. A similar plan for a settlement in Tuscany was drawn up later in the late 1660s by Greeks from Mani.123

Venice as the New Athens After the fall of Constantinople, a large number of Greek literati found employment in Venice and at the University of Padua in particular. While perceiving themselves as the legatees of the classical heritage, with the fall of Byzantium, Byzantine writers saw Venice as the locus of their physical existence and incorporated this notion into their discourse on the Greek classics and their identity.124 One prominent feature of postThe text of the agreement (dated July 14, 1474) can be found in Maltezou, Anna Palaiologina Notara, 65-79. 123 Zacharias N. Tsirpanlis, “The Maniates of Tuscany and of the Taras Region (Second Half of the 17th Century),” Lakonikai Spoudai 4 (1977): 105-59; Thomas I. Papadopoulos, “Immigrants from Mani in Italy in the Seventeenth Century,” ibid., 396-474; Spyridon P. Lampros, “The Settlement of Greeks from Mani in Tuscany in the Seventeenth Century,” Neos Hellenomnemon 2 (1905): 396-434 [all three in Greek]. 124 See also the discussion in Donald M. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice: a Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations (Cambridge, 1988), ch. “Legacies and Debts,” 408-22. On the history of Venice’s Greek community, see e.g. I greci a Venezia, ed. Maria F. Tiepolo and Eurigio Tonetti (Venice, 2002); Dēmosia hilaria = Pubblica celebrazione: 500 anni dalla fondazione della comunità dei Greci Ortodossi di Venezia, 1498-1998, ed. Chryssa A. Maltezou (Venice, 1999); Chryssa [A.] Maltezou, “Profughi Greci a Venezia dopo la caduta di Costantinopoli: tra mito e realtà,” in L’Europa dopo la caduta di Constantinopoli: 29 maggio 1453 (Spoleto, 2008), 355-74; eadem, The Venice of the Greeks (Athens: Miletos, 1999) [in Greek]; Kostas G. Tsiknakis, “The Hellenism of Venice (13th-18th century),” in Venetiae quasi alterum Byzantium, ed. Chryssa A. Maltezou (Athens, 1993), 519-96 [in Greek]; James G. Ball, “The Greek Community in Venice, 1470-1620” (Ph.D. Diss., University of London, 1985); Manoussos Manoussacas, “Aperçu d’une histoire de la colonie grecque orthodoxe de Venise, Thesavrismata 19 (1982): 7-30; Geanakoplos, Byzantine East and Latin West, ch. “The Greco-Byzantine Colony in Venice and its Significance for the Renaissance,” 112-37; idem, Greek Scholars in Venice; Despina Vlassi, “The Greeks in Venice: Intellectual Life, Publishing and Printing Activities,” in Griechische Migration in Europa: Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Evangelos Konstantinou (Frankfurt am Main, 2000), 227-41; Giorgio Fedalto, “Griechen vom 15. bis ins 19. Jahrhundert in Venedig,” ibid., 63-83; idem, “Stranieri a Venezia e a Padova,” in Storia della cultura veneta, 3/I: Dal primo Quattrocento al Concilio di Trento, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and
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Byzantine accounts of Italian politics is the idea of the mixed regime that comes up in variegated forms in a number of epigrams; another is an implicit tendency to valorize classical democracy by highlighting the parallels between Venice and ancient Athens.125
Manlio Pastore Stocchi (Vicenza, 1980), 499-535, 501-14; idem, “Stranieri a Venezia e a Padova. 1550-1700,” in Storia della cultura veneta, 4/II: Il Seicento, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore Stocchi (Vicenza, 1984), 251-79, 254-64; idem, Ricerche storiche sulla posizione giuridica ed ecclesiastica dei greci a Venezia nei secoli XV e XVI (Florence, 1967); Phani Mavroidi, A Contribution to the History of the Greek Fraternity of Venice in the Sixteenth Century: Publication of the 2nd Register of Documents (1533-1562) (Ph.Diss., [University of Athens], 1976) [in Greek]; Nikos G. Moschonas, “I Greci a Venezia e la loro posizione religiosa nel XVo secolo: Studi su documenti veneziani,” O Eranistēs 5 (1967): 105-37; Giorgios Plumidis, “Considerazioni sulla popolazione greca a Venezia nella seconda metà del ’500,” Studi veneziani 14 (1972): 219-26; Ioannes Veloudos (Giovanni Veludo), The Colony of the Greek Orthodox in Venice: a Historical Commentary (Venice, 1872) [in Greek]. For the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, see Artemis Xanthopoulou-Kyriakou, The Greek Community of Venice (1797-1866) (Thessalonike, 1978) [in Greek]. For the Cypriote community, see Paschalis M. Kitromilides, “Cypriots in Venice,” in La Serenissima e la Nobilissima: Venice in Cyprus and Cyprus in Venice, ed. Angel Nicolaou-Konnari (Nicosia, 2009), 207-17; Angel Nicolaou-Konnari, “Cypriots of the Diaspora in Italy afer 1570/1: The Case of the Nores Family,” ibid., 218-29 [both in Greek]; Chryssa Maltezou, From Cyprus to Venice: Cypriots in the Serenissima after the Turkish Conquest of the Island (Nicosia, 2003) [in Greek]; Brunehilde Imhaus, “La minorité chypriote de Venise du XIVe siècle au début du XVIIe siècle,” in Chypre et la Méditerranée orientale: Formations identitaires: perspectives historiques et enjeux contemporains, ed. Yannis Ioannou, et al. (Lyon, 2000), 33-41; Costas [Constantine] P. Kyrris, “Further Documents Relating to Cypriote Immigrants in Venice (XVI-XVII Centuries),” Epeteris tou Kentrou Epistemonikon Erevnon Lefkosias 3 (1969/70): 145-65; idem, “Cypriote Scholars in Venice in the XVI and XVII Centuries with Some Notes on the Cypriote Community in Venice and Other Cypriote Scholars who Lived in Rome and the Rest of Italy in the Same Period,” in O Hellenismos eis to Exoterikon: Über Beziehungen des Griechentums zum Ausland in der neueren Zeit, ed. Johannes Irmscher and Marika Mineemi (Berlin, 1968), 183-272. 125 On epigrams produced by post-Byzantine writers during the Renaissance, see George Karamanolis, “Was there a Stream of Greek Humanists in the Late Renaissance?” Hellenika 53 (2003): 19-46; Elias P. Boutierides, History of Modern Greek Literature from the Middle of the Fifteenth Century to the Modern Period (Athens, 1924), 1: 336-86. Though most of the post-Byzantine panegyrics and epigrams that were produced in the Italian context are dedicated to Venice and important figures of Venetian political and intellectual life, a number of epigrams dated 1659 were composed for Ferdinand (de’ Medici) II (1610-1670), Grand Duke of Tuscany, by Gerasimos Vlachos (1605/07-1685) and Arsenios Kaloudes (d. 1693). See Georgios K. Spyridakes, “Gerasimos Vlachos (16071685),” Epeteris tou Mesaionikou Archeiou tēs Akademias Athenon 2 (1949): 70-106, 80, 87-89 [in Greek]; Émile Legrand, Bibliographie hellénique ou description raisonnée des

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More important, whereas in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Byzantine literature the example of Italian city-states and notably Genoa was invoked to condemn communal government and Athenian democracy, there was an increasing tendency in post-Byzantine writing to rehabilitate the ancient Athenian tradition by depicting Venice as the new Athens. The reevaluation of Athenian democracy occurred partly due to the circulation of Plutarch’s biographies of major figures of Athenian political life that seem to have struck a sympathetic chord especially among Venetian humanists. The Latin translations of Plutarch’s Aristides, Cimon, and Themistocles produced by Francesco Barbaro (1390-1454), Leonardo Giustinian (ca. 1389-1446) and Guarino of Verona (1370-1460) respectively served highlight the parallels between the history of classical Athens and the political situation in fifteenth-century Venice. Athens’ hegemony as a naval power, the history of the Delian League, and the Persian wars are themes that appealed strongly to Venetian writers especially in the face of the Turkish menace.126 It is certainly not accidental that Gurarino sent his translation of Plutarch’s Themistocles (1417) to Carlo Zeno (1334-1418), the commander of the Venetian navy, looking upon Zeno as the new Themistocles in light of the victory over the Genoese at
ouvrages publiés par des Grecs au XVI e siècle (Paris: É. Leroux, 1894), 2: 115-17 (for Vlachos); 117 (for Kaloudes). See also Vasileios N. Tatakes, Gerasimos Vlachos the Cretan (1605/7-1685): Philosopher, Theologian, Philologist (Venice: Istituto Ellenico di Studi Bizantini e Postbizantini di Venezia, 1973) [in Greek]; Margarites G. Dimitsas, Hellenism and its Spread in Italy and the Rest of Europe (Athens, 1900), 180-81 (for Kaloudes); 181-83 (for Vlachos) [in Greek]. 126 Marianne Pade, The Reception of Plutarch’s Lives in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Copenhagen, 2007), 1: ch. “Venice 1414-1440s: Venice as Heir to the Greek City States and ‘Patrician Humanism,’” 179-223; eadem, “Zur Rezeption der griechischen Historiker im italienischen Humanismus des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts,” Neulateinisches Jahrbuch 1 (1999): 151-69, esp. 160-4. A convenient listing of fifteenth-century Latin translations of Plutarch’s Lives appears in eadem, “The Latin Translations of Plutarch’s Lives in Fifteenth Century Italy and Their Manuscript Diffusion,” in The Classical Tradition in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, ed. Claudio Leonardi and Birger Munk Olsen (Spoleto, 1995), 169-83, 182-83. See, in general, Patricia F. Brown, Venice and Antiquity: the Venetian Sense of the Past (New Haven, 1996); Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan, “Immagini di un mito,” trans. Matteo Sanfilippo, in Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. 4: Il Rinascimento: politica e cultura, ed. Alberto Tenenti and Ugo Tucci (Rome, 1996), 579-601. On the image of Athenian democracy in the Italian Renaissance, see Jennifer T. Roberts, Athens on Trial: The Antidemocratic Tradition in Western Thought (Princeton, 1994), 119-36. For the comparison between Mehmed II and Xerxes, see Marios Philippides, “The Fall of Constantinople 1453: Classical Comparisons and the Circle of Cardinal Isidore,” Viator 38 (2007): 349-83, 366-75.

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Chioggia (1379-80), Venice as the new Athens, and the Turks as the new Persians.127 Bessarion presents a very similar idea in the introduction to his translation of Demosthenes’ first Olynthian speech as part of an oration he delivered calling on the Italian rulers to take up the struggle against the Turks: seeing himself as a new Demosthenes, Bessarion associates Olynthus’ conquest by Philip with the Turkish conquest of Constantinople and associates Philip with the Turks and Italy with Athens.128 Dimitrios Moschos (ca. 1450-1519), who migrated to Italy in 1470 and taught Greek language and literature in Venice and Ferrara, restates the AthensVenice analogy in his epigram Eis Venetian (To Venice). There he extols the beauties of the Serenissima which he calls the city of Poseidon and draws links to the history of classical Athens and Xerxes’ invasion.129 Moschos wrote another epigram to celebrate the victory of the marquis of Mantua Francesco II Gonzaga (1466-1519) over Charles III of France’s forces in the battle of Fornovo in July 1495: Italy disperses the cloud of war and is the mother of freedom. Having been sent from the sky, Francesco with his divine virtues and invincible hands tamed the impetus of war and, fighting side by side with his young soldiers, he achieved such a heroic victory that even the ancients would admire and saved both his city and Italy.130
Pade, The Reception of Plutarch’s Lives in Fifteenth-Century Italy, 1: 209-10. Pade, The Reception of Plutarch’s Lives, 1: 210. See also the discussions in Marino Zorzi, “Bessarion and the Defence of the Greek World,” in Nürnberg und das Griechentum: Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Evangelos Konstantinou (Frankfurt am Main, 2003), 49-63; Giacomo E. Carretto, “Bessarione e il Turco,” in Bessarione e l’Umanesimo, 261-74; Johannes Irmscher, “Bessarion als griechischer Patriot,” Medioevo e Umanesimo 24 (1976): 175-85; Raoul Manselli, “Il Cardinale Bessarione contro il pericolo Turco e l’Italia,” Miscellanea francescana 73 (1973): 314-26. 129 Phaidon K. Bubulides, “The Unpublished Epigram εις Βενετιαν of Demetrios Moschos the Laconian,” Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici n. s. 1 (XI) (1964): 91-101 [in Greek]; cf. Filippo M. Pontani, “Epigrammi inediti di Demetrio Mosco,” Maia 15 (1963): 501-14. On Moschos’ life and works, see Maria R. Formentin, “Il punto su Demetrio Mosco,” in Bollettino della Badia Grecia di Grottaferrata NS 52 (= Ὀπώρα: Studi in onore di mgr: Paul Canart per il LXX compleanno; vol. 2) (1998): 235-57. Moschos’ most important work is the Neera, a commedy written in Greek. On this, see Anna Pontani, “La Neera di Demetrio Mosco: edizione critica, traduzione e commento,” Orpheus n. s. 7 (1986): 356-92; Heinz-Werner Nörenberg, “Demetrios Moschos’ Neaira in der literarischen Tradition antiker Komödien,” Studi Umanistici Piceni 3 (1983): 247-64. 130 The epigram is presented and discussed in Marcello Gigante, “Epigrammi di Demetrio Mosco,” Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici n.s.1 (XI) (1964): 79-89, 86-88.
128 127

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Markos Musuros (ca. 1470-1517) presents Venice as the new Constantinople, while praising the Senate for following the lead of the polity of the Athenians.131 In his Hymn to Plato, the preamble to his edition of Plato’s works (1513) dedicated to Pope Leo X, Musuros called on the pope to save the Greeks from Turkish tyranny.132 A similar epigram was dedicated by Matthew Devaris (ca. 1520-1588), a disciple of Janus Laskaris, to Pope Pius IV with the purpose of seeking support for the liberation of Greece from Turkish rule.133 In the Marcianus Codex Cl. VII, 22 (1466), a collection of miniatures of the Cretan painter George Klontzas (ca. 1530-1608) that can be dated back to 1590-2, we encounter a reference to the “most Christian,” “most honest,” and “most beautiful” city of the Venetians.134

Émile Legrand, Bibliographie hellénique ou description raisonnée des ouvrages publiés en grec par des Grecs au XV e et XVI e siècles (Paris, 1885), 1: 49. On Musuros, see Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy, 148-56, and, in general, Antonis Pardos, “The Coordinates of the Ideology of New Hellenism in the Other Constantinople, Bessarion’s Legacy: Lascaris and Musuros among the Greeks of Venice,” in Ανθη Χαριτων, ed. Nikolaos Panagiotakes (Venice, 1998), 527-68 [in Greek]. On the image of Venice as the new Constantinople, see André J.-M. Loechel, “Le rappresentazioni della comunità,” trans. Ernesto Garino in Storia di Venezia: vol. 4: Il Rinascimento, 603-721, 666-70; Manfredo Tafuri, “La ‘nuova Constantinopoli’: La rappresentazione della ‘renovatio’ nella Venezia dell’Umanesimo (1450-1509),” Rassegna: Problemi di Architettura dell’Ambiente 9 (1982): 25-38; and, in general, Chryssa Maltezou, “Byzantine Cultural Goods and Venetian Political Propaganda,” in Byzantina Mediterranea, ed. Klaus Belke, et al. (Vienna, 2007), 417-33 [in Greek]; L’Eredità greca e l’ellenismo veneziano. 132 Grigoris M. Sifakis, “Markos Mousouros the Cretan’s Poem to Plato,” Kretika Chronika 8 (1954): 366-88 [in Greek]; Geanakoplos, Greek Scholars in Venice, 152-3; idem, “The Diaspora Greeks: The Genesis of Modern Greek National Consciousness,” in Hellenism and the First Greek War of Liberation (1821-1830): Continuity and Change, ed. Nikiforos P. Diamandouros, et al. (Thessalonike, 1976), 59-77, 64. 133 Legrand, Bibliographie hellénique, 2 (1885): 60; Phaidon K. Bubulides, “The Epigrams of Matthaios Devaris,” Epistēmonikē Epetēris ths Philosophikēs Scholēs tou Panepistēmiou Athenōn 12 (1961/62): 387-411 [in Greek], reprinted as idem, Greek Scholars after the Fall [of Constantinople] 2: The Epigrams of Matthaios Devaris (Athens, 1962). 134 Spyridon P. Lampros, “The Marcianus Codex of the Cretan George Klontzas,” Neos Hellenomnemon 12 (1915): 41-52, 46 [in Greek]. On Klontzas’ life and works, see Athanasios D. Paliouras, The Painter George Klontzas (ca. 1540-1608) and the Miniatures of his Codex (Athens, 1977) [in Greek].

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Venice in Post-Byzantine Epigrams and Historiography One of the major figures of post-Byzantine intellectual life was John Kottunios (1572-1657).135 Hailing from the northern Greek city of Verroia, Kottunios received a doctorate in philosophy and theology from the Greek College of St. Athanasius in Rome in 1613.136 He then went on to study medicine in Padua from 1613 to 1615 and earned a doctorate in medicine from there. From 1616 to 1633, he taught as professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna. In 1632, Kottunios was invited by the Venetian Republic to teach at the first chair of Philosophy at the University of Padua and was appointed Cesare Cremonini’s (1550-1631) successor at that university in 1637. His works include De triplici statu animae rationalis (Bologna, 1628), a study on Aristotle’s psychology, as well as a series of commentaries on Aristotle’s works such as on the Meteorology (In primum Aristotelis librum de Meteoris, 1631), the Physics (Commentarii lucidissimi in octo libros Aristotelis De physico auditu, 1648), and the Expositio lucidissima universae logices (1651), which contains commentaries on the Categories and the Posterior Analytics.137
135 For biographical details, see the following studies: Zacharias N. Tsirpanlis, The Hellenic College of Rome and its Students (1576-1700): a Contribution to the Study of the Educational Policy of the Vatican (Thessalonike, 1980), 397-99; idem, The Macedonian Students of the Hellenic College of Rome and Their Action in Greece and Italy(16th c.-1650) (Thessalonike, 1971), 125-59; Aristeides P. Stergellis, “New Biographical Details about Ioannis Kottunios,” Thesavrismata 5 (1968): 249-57; Konstantinos D. Mertzios, “Additional Information about Ioannes Kottunios,” Makedonika 9 (1969): 339-41; idem, Monuments of Macedonian History (Thessalonike, 1947), 470-88; Ioannes K. Vasdravelles, Ioannes Kottunios, the Sage from Verroia (Thessalonike, 1943) [all in Greek]. Note also Marco Callegari, “Il collegio Cottunio e la sua biblioteca,” in Studenti, università, città nella storia padovana, ed. Francesco Piovan and Luciana Sitran Rea (Trieste, 2001), 457-69. 136 The College was founded in 1577 by Pope Gregory XIII with the purpose of training young Greeks to spread Catholicism in the East. See Il Collegio Greco di Roma: Ricerche sugli alunni, la direzione, l’attività, ed. Antonis Fyrigos (Rome, 1983); Gerhard Podskalsky, Griechische Theologie in der Zeit der Türkenherrschaft (1453-1821): Die Orthodoxie im Spannungsfeld der nachreformatorischen Konfessionen des Westens (Munich, 1988), 52-54; Tsirpanlis, The Hellenic College of Rome; Vittorio Perri, “Inizi e finalità ecumeniche del Collegio Greco in Roma,” Aevum 44 (1970): 1-71; John Krajcar, “The Greek College in the Years of Unrest (1604-1630),” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 32 (1966): 5-38; idem; “The Greek College under the Jesuits for the First Time (1591-1604),” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 31 (1965): 85-118; P. Raymund Netzhammer, Das griechiche Kolleg in Rom (Salzburg, 1905). 137 On Kottunios’ commentaries on Aristotle, see the discussions in Antonis Fyrigos, “Joannes Cottunios di Verria e il neoaristotelismo padovano,” in Renaissance Readings of the

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Kottunios’ works are still not available in a modern edition, and his political ideas as set forth in his Oratio academica de formis rerum publicarum (1638) and other of his writings have been virtually unstudied. His praise of Venice is predicated on a fusion of George of Trebizond’s ideas on the mixed regime and Musuros’ vision of Venice as the new Athens: in the preamble to his Commentary on the Physics, he conjures up an inflated version of the idea of the mixed government based on not just a combination of elements of each of the three basic constitutional forms, but rather on the amalgamation of the best qualities of various ancient cities: the impartiality of the Athenians; the justice of the Areopagites; the steadiness of the Lacedaemonians; the firmness of the Thessalians in preserving their laws; the maturity of the Carthaginians in selecting the various office holders; the greatness of soul of the Macedonians; the dignity of the Argives; and the friendliness of the Cretans.138 Kottunios also wrote a manual on the composition of epigrams that bears the title De conficiendo epigrammate liber unus (1632).139 Carrying on the tradition of Greek epigrams and panegyrics addressed to European rulers urging the liberation of Greece, Kottunios wrote a eulogy in praise of the victory of the Venetian navy under the command of Giacomo Riva and Bertucci Civrano over the Turkish fleet in the port of Phocaea on May 12, 1649.140 Kottunios has Poseidon extol the victory of Riva’s and CivraCorpus Aristotelicum, ed. Marianne Pade (Copenhagen, 2001), 225-40; Thanases Papadopoulos, Modern Greek Philosophy From the 16th to the 18th Century (Athens, 1988), 201-06 [in Greek]. On Kottunios’ thought, there as yet exists no systematic study. 138 Commentarii lucidissimi in octo libros Aristotelis de physico auditu una cum quaestionibus (Padua, 1648): Quippe in hac una largiter deprehenderet, quicquid boni, quicquid perfecti in illis omnibus vix sparsim potuit rimari. Deprehenderet hic Atheniensium aequitatem, Areopagitarum iustitiam, Lacedemoniorum constantiam, Thessalorum in conservandis Legibus firmitatem, Carthaginensium in designandis Magistratibus maturitatem, Macedonum magnanimitatem, Argivorum gravitatem, Cretum comitatem, et supra omnes singularem quandam et incredibilem maiestatem. 139 Tsirpanlis, The Macedonian Students, 134; James Hutton, The Greek Anthology in Italy to the Year 1800 (Ithaca, NY, 1935), 68 (with the table of contents of the work), 269. 140 For the liberation of Greece, see Manousos I. Manousakas, “Appeals of the Greek Scholars to the Rulers of Europe for the Liberation of Greece,” Proceedings of the Academy of Athens 59 (1984): 196-249; idem, Appeals (1453-1535) of the Greek Scholars of the Renaissance to the Rulers of Europe for the Liberation of Greece (Thessalonike, 1965); Georgios Th. Zoras, George of Trebizond and His Efforts for a Greek-Turkish Understanding: His “Peri ton Christianon pisteos: Unedited Treatise” (Athens, 1954), 31-49; Apostolos E. Vakalopoulos, National Sentiments and Activities of the Greeks of Macedonia During the Turkish

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no’s achievements. He compares Turks to the ancient Persians and produces an array of references to ancient Greek history and the Persian Wars in particular. The eulogy closes with a call to Doge Francesco Molin (16461655) to liberate the Greeks from the Turkish yoke.141 In 1653, Kottunios published a collection of Greek Epigrams (Graecorum Epigrammatum libri duo) in Greek and Latin translation, which he proffered to Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France, in an effort to exhort the French king to liberate the Greeks from Turkish rule. The fact that the French court sent him a golden chain and 1,500 livres as a personal gift indicates that his plea did not fall on deaf ears, though it did not motivate the king to provide military support.142 Another outstanding example of a Greek writer of epigrams is the Cretan Konstantinos Kalogereas.143 Kalogereas composed a collection of poems under the title Lacrymae Graeciae sive Carmen in 1642—most probably taking his cue from Leo Allatios’ (Leone Allacci) (ca. 1586-1669) Hellas, which was published the same year and dedicated to Louis XIV.144 The collection features three epigrams in ancient Greek style and the
Rule (1430-1821) (Thessalonike, 1954) [all four in Greek]; as well as Rolf Binner, “Griechische Emigration und Türkenkrieg. Anmerkungen zu einer Denkschrift von Janus Laskaris aus dem Jahre 1531,” Südost-Forschungen 30 (1971): 37-50; idem, Griechische Gelehrte in Italien (1453-1535) und der Türkenkrieg (Ph.D. Diss., University of Munich, 1967); Johannes Irmscher, “Theodoros Gazes als griechischer Patriot,” La parola del passato 16 (1961): 161-73. Consider also the letter written by the Archbishop of Cyprus Nikephoros to the Venetian Doge in 1664, in which Nikephoros asks for military support for the sake of liberating Cyprus from Turkish rule, Konstantinos Mertzios, “An Unpublished Letter of the Archbishop of Cyprus Nikephoros (1664) to the Doge of Venice for the Liberation of Cyprus,” Proceedings of the Academy of Athens 33 (1958): 247-56, 253-56 [in Greek]. 141 Tsirpanlis, The Macedonian Students, 142-45. 142 Tsirpanlis, The Macedonian Students, 138-40; Manousakas, Appeals (1453-1535) of the Greek Scholars of the Renaissance to the Rulers of Europe for the Liberation of Greece, 221-23; Hutton, The Greek Anthology in Italy, 268-69; Boutierides, History of Modern Greek Literature, 1: 366-70; Legrand, Bibliographie hellénique ou description raisonnée des ouvrages publiés par des Grecs au XVIe siècle (1894), 2:57-59. 143 Aristeides P. Stergellis, The Publications of the Greek Students of the University of Padua in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Athens, 1970), 103-06 [in Greek]. 144 Vicenzo Rotolo, Il carme ‘Hellas’ di Leone Allacci (Palermo, 1966). On Allatios’ life and works, see Karen Hartnup, ‘On the Beliefs of the Greeks’: Leo Allatios and Popular Orthodoxy (Leiden, 2004); Thomas Cerbu, “Leone Allacci 1587-1669: the Fortunes of an Early Byzantinist” (Ph.D. Diss., Harvard University, 1986); Hutton, The Greek Anthology in Italy, 263-66.

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Carmen in Latin hexameter, which Kalogereas dedicated to Doge Francesco Erizzo (1631-46) and the Senate, as well as twenty-six epigrams dedicated to members of the Senate. The Carmen is a panegyric on the Venetians’ victories over the Turks. Kalogereas expresses the belief that the Doge will eventually crush the Turks and portrays Crete as a beautiful young virgin urging Greece to build up a fleet and forge an alliance with the Serenissima.145 In another anthology of poems written in Latin (Templum immortalitatis, 1643) which he dedicated to Erizzo and twentysix members of the Senate, Kalogereas eulogizes Erizzo’s virtues and rule. The anthology closes with a direct appeal to the Doge to liberate the Greeks from Turkish occupation.146 In 1644, Kalogereas produced a poem in Latin (Italia rediviva), which he dedicated once again to the Doge and the Senate. There, he exalts the grandeur of the Serenissima and its institutions. On March 18, 1644, the Senate awarded Kalogereas an honorary doctorate.147 Similar ideas were expressed by Marinos Tzane Bunialis (1620-1685) who immigrated to Venice in 1646 after the Turkish occupation of Crete and served as priest at St. George’s Church. In his long verse chronicle on the Veneto-Turkish war in Crete (1645-1669) (Diēgēsis dia stichōn tou deinou polemou tou en nēsō Krētēs genomenou, published in Venice in 1681) Bunialis refers to Venice as his consolation and the crown and hope of the world, the scale of justice, the sword against the Agarenes, and the most powerful city in the world, envied by all kings.148 A similar praise of Venice’s civic tradition is found in Manthos Ioannou’s (ca. 1665-1748) Sumfora kai aichmalōsia Mōreōs (Disgrace and Captivity of the Morea): Venice has been founded by the sea by divine power and human wisdom, is envied
145 146

Stergellis, The Publications of the Greek Students, 104-05, 120, 146. Stergellis, The Publications of the Greek Students, 105-06. 147 Stergellis, The Publications of the Greek Students, 106. 148 Marinos Tzane Bounialis, The Cretan War (1645-1669), ed. Stylianos Alexiou and Martha Aposkite (Athens, 1995), 512 [in Greek]. On Bouniales’ life and works, see ibid., 86-94; as well as Maria Vlassopoulou, “Literary Writing and the Recording of History: a Study of Marinos Tzane Bounialis’ The Cretan War (17th Century)” (Ph.D. Diss., University of Cambridge, 2000); Giuseppe Spadaro, “Note marginali su Marinos Tzanes Bunialis,” Hellenika 20 (1967): 160-65. Consider the poem Bunialis wrote on the occasion of the death of Andrea Cornaro, Proveditor General of Crete. Cornaro was killed during the Turkish siege of Rethymnon in 1646. The poem was printed in 1668 and dedicated to Cornaro’s three sons. See Maria Petta, “Two Poems by Emmanuel Tzanes Bunialis,” Thesavrismata 22 (1992): 258-88 [in Greek].

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by all other kingdoms, and stands out for its good government and justice. When all other kingdoms turned against them, the Venetians opened their treasures and wisely built strong armies that drove all enemies away and they crushed the Genoese fleet when the Genoese attempted to invade the city.149

Conclusion A major complication in piecing together and creating a narrative of Byzantine and post-Byzantine perceptions on the governmental traditions of medieval and early modern Italy involves disentangling the motives of the authors and their genuine ideas on the internal politics of the Italians. The only exception is Laonikos Chalkokondyles, who emerges as an astute observer of Italian civic politics. The other writers I have presented in this paper articulated a range of interpretations, from mere manipulation or distortion and misrepresentation of historical and political facts to identification of democracy as a vital threat to social cohesion and a cause of fragmentation of political life, to a mythical, almost utopian, vision of Venice as the epitome of civic harmony. On a more fundamental level, though, this survey of the Byzantine views on Italian political life provides a new vantage point from which to evaluate the process whereby the Byzantines strove to forge their identity and perceived themselves vis-à-vis the Other, notably their Italian neighbors.150 Many scholars have described deterioration in relations between
Manthos Ioannou, Symphora kai aichmalōsia Mōreōs (Athens, 1980), section “Περι της ωραιοτάτης Βενετίας” (“About the Most Beautiful Venice”), 73-74. On this work, see Caterina Carpinato, “Il Lamento del Peloponneso di Petros Katsaitis e Della sciagura e prigionia della Morea di Manthos Ioannu,” in Venezia e la guerra di Morea: guerra, politica e cultura alla fine del ’600, ed. Mario Infelise and Anastasia Stouraiti (Milan, 2005), 187208, 198-206. For Ioannou’s life and works, see D. K. Michailidis, The Epirotan Poet Manthos Ioannou and His Work (Athens, 1970). 150 See also the discussions in Gill Page, Being Byzantine: Greek Identity before the Ottomans (Cambridge, 2008) [on this work cf. the review by Teresa Shawcross in Speculum 85 (2010): 446-48]; Nikos G. Svoronos, The Greek Nation: Genesis and Formation of the Modern Hellenism (Athens, 2004) [in Greek]; Jonathan Harris, “Being a Byzantine after Byzantium: Hellenic Identity in Renaissance Italy,” Kambos 8 (2000): 25-44; Helen Saradi, Byzantium and the Origin of the Modern Greek National Consciousness (Toronto, 1992); Paul Magdalino, “Hellenism and Nationalism in Byzantium,” in idem, Tradition and Transformation in Medieval Byzantium (Aldershot, 1991), no. XIV; Speros Vryonis, Jr.,
149

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the Byzantines and the Latin West and an increase in mutual disdain through much of the Middle Ages: the Crusades, the Great Schism, the fall of Constantinople. But the writers surveyed here reveal that there is more to the story. While there was indeed mistrust and loathing between the Byzantines and the West, in particular the powerful Italian cities such as Genoa and Venice, there was also some measure of admiration and respect. The Byzantines criticized the failing of Genoa’s regime; they blamed Italian weaknesses on moral decay caused by an excess of democracy; and they were profoundly shaken by the fall of Constantinople. At the same time, however, and increasingly through the centuries, the Byzantines looked to the Italian city-states for lessons that they could apply to themselves. For instance, some writers attributed the fall of Constantinople to their own failings in morality and governance. In the fifteenth century, some of them came to settle in various Italian cities, adopt them as their own patria, and regard the Western systems of governance as superior to that which prevailed in their own Greek homelands. I hope that the insights provided in this paper lead to further such studies, which will reveal the full story of how Byzantines and Italians perceived one another during the Middle Ages and Early Modern era. In addition, I hope that this paper can serve as an incentive for a comparative exploration of how writers representing other minor ethnic and cultural groups ( Jews, etc.) residing in various Italian cities and the Venetian territory in particular used the “canonical” sources (like the Bible) of their respective traditions to articulate eulogies of Venice and shore up their position in the social structure of the Serenissima.151
“Byzantine Self-Consciousness in the Fifteenth Century,” in The Twilight of Byzantium: Aspects of Cultural and Religious History in the Late Byzantine Empire, ed. Slobodan Čurčič and Doula Mouriki (Princeton, 1991), 5-14; Robert Browning, “The Continuity of Hellenism in the Byzantine World: Appearance or Reality?,” in Greece Old and New, ed. Tom Winnifrith and Penelope Murray (London, 1983), 111-28, reprinted in idem, History, Language and Literacy in the Byzantine World (Northampton, 1989), no. I; idem, “Greeks and Others from Antiquity to the Renaissance,” in idem, History, Language and Literacy in the Byzantine World, no. II. 151 On the image of Venice as a mixed constitution in medieval and early modern Jewish political writing, see Giuseppe Veltri, Renaissance Philosophy in Jewish Garb: Foundations and Challenges in Judaism on the Eve of Modernity (Leiden, 2009), 194-220; Guido Bartolucci, “Venezia nel pensiero politico ebraico rinascimentale: Un testo ritrovato di David de Pomis,” Rinascimento 44 (2004): 225-47; Abraham Melamed, “The Myth of Venice in Italian Renaissance Jewish Thought,” in Italia Judaica: Atti del I convegno internazionale, Bari 18-22 maggio 1981 (Rome, 1983), 401-13.

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