George Amiroutzes
George Amiroutzes (1400–1470) was a Pontic Greek Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 scholar and philosopher.

He was born in Trebizond, lived and taught in Italy and eventually died in Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. He is considered as a controversial figure of the late Byzantine era. He was praised and respected for his outstanding knowledge not only of theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, but also of the natural sciences, medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 and poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, all of which earned him the epithet the Philosopher (o Φιλόσοφος).

Amiroutzes was first attested as a lay advisor to the imperial delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence. There he strongly supported the union of churches but upon return to Constantinople he made statements against the papal primacy and Filioque. According to a papal document 100 florin
Italian coin florin
The Italian florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard. It had 54 grains of nominally pure gold worth approximately 200 modern US Dollars...

s were given to protonotarios George as a subsidy; it was conjectured that Amiroutzes was thus bribed to support the union.

However, he was denounced by his fellow Greeks as an opportunist, a traitor and a renegade for his familiarity with Mehmed the Conqueror. He was a nephew to the Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

 Mahmud Pasha of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and helped speed the fall of the Empire of Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

 by persuading Emperor David
David of Trebizond
David Megas Komnenos was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1459 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

 to surrender to the Ottomans to prevent bloodshed to its inhabitants. Although the Emperor was granted pardon and kept his wealth and lands, he and some of his sons were found guilty of treason and executed some years later. George himself was very popular with the Ottoman court, and one of the advisors of Mehmed the Conqueror on Christianity and Greco-Roman philosophy. He was granted land by the Ottoman Sultan and one of his sons, named after Mehmed the Conqueror, was charged with responsibility for the Greek scriptoria in the Empire.

Known works

  • Dialogus de fide
  • Letter to Bessarion on the Fall of Trebizond
  • various poems dedicated to Mehmed II and others
  • Letters to Theodore Agallianos about Agallianos's book On Providence'
  • dubious letter on the Council at Florence

See also

  • Greek scholars in the Renaissance
    Greek scholars in the Renaissance
    The migration of Byzantine scholars and other émigrés from southern Italy and Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine Empire and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by some scholars as key to the revival of Greek and Roman studies and...

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