Manuel Chrysoloras: Byzantine Scholar

The Renaissance in Italy, writes Alan Haynes, was enhanced by the arrival of scholars from Byzantium towards the end of the fourteenth century.

The scholar and diplomat, Manuel Chrysoloras, was born in Constantinople probably between 1350 and 1355 scion of a noble family. His life and work coincides with a time of crisis for the Eastern Empire, as well as for the Eastern European Kingdoms, battling for survival as the Turkish threat of hegemony over the East intensified.

While the forces of Islam gained strength, those of the Byzantines waned: they were not helped by the atrocious behaviour of their so-called allies from the West, who ventured east to become wreckers rather than rectifiers of the balance of power.

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