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History of Philosophy|
Byzantine Philosophy During the Middle Ages
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)
|Hellenistic philosophy, banished from Athens by Justinian (529) and
driven from Alexandria by the Arabs (640), was perpetuated at
Constantinople by an irregular and intermittent tradition which, after
the great schism (858) that separated the East from the West, took the
form of commentary on and exposition of the works of Plato and
Aristotle. Michael Psellus (the elder) and Photius  are
the chief representatives of this tradition in the ninth century;
Arethas, Wicetas the Paphlagonian, and Suidas
represent it in the tenth century; Michael Psellus (the younger)
is the sole representative of Byzantine learning in the eleventh
century: Johannes Italus, Anna Comnena, daughter of the
Emperor Alexis, and Michael Ephesius brought Byzantine learning
to its highest degree of development in the twelfth century; finally,
Nicephorus Blemmydes and George Pachymeres are the best
known of the Byzantine scholars of the thirteenth century, the age in
which the learning of Constantinople made its first impression on the
Scholastic movement.  Although the influence of the learning of
Constantinople on the progress of philosophic thought in western Europe
may be said to begin with the first Crusade (1096-1100), yet it was
not until the taking of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 that
the treasures of ancient Greek literature and philosophy were thrown
open to the schoolmen. The debt which Scholasticism owes to Byzantine
learning should not be exaggerated; at the same time we must not
underrate the importance of the introduction of the original and
complete works of Aristotle into western Europe at a time when the
Aristotle of the Arabians was being invoked as the champion of
pantheism and rationalism.
 Cf. Migne, Patr. Graeca, Vols. CI-CIV.
 Cf. Krumbacher, Geschichte der Byzantinischen
Litteratur (Munich, 1897).