Biography of Gemistus Pletho

Gemistus Pletho’s original name was Georgius Gemistus. Later on, he was called Plethora. He is believed to have lived between c1355-1454. According to (3), the overwhelming majority of Plethon’s writings are marked by a passionate desire to restore Greece to its “ancient” glory. He believed that the Peloponnesians were direct descendants of ancient Hellenes. He is also considered the person who “reintroduced” Plato to the Western world.

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The current biographical timeline for Gemistus Pletho is as follows;

c1355/60 – he is born in Constantinople

1410 – Emperor Manuel II Paleologus sends him to Mistra, where he remains for the rest of his life. It is here where he teaches and writes about philosophy, astronomy, history, and geography. It is also he that he compiles many digests of classical writers. It is here that he founds a school of esoteric religious philosophy.

1415 and 1418 – he sends pamphlets to Manuel II and his son Theodore

1428 – Plethon is consulted by Emperor John VIII on unifying Greek and Latin churches

1438 – Byzantine scholarship becomes more available to the West

1438-45 – he serves as a “lay theologian with the Byzantine delegation”

c.1450/52/54 – he dies in Mistra, Morea

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I did not find specific dates for the creation of his works.
However, some of his titles are as follows;

De Differentiis (On the Difference Between Aristotle and Plato) – describes the differences in conceptions of God between Aristotle and Plato. This work also sparked amongst humanists a new interest in Plato, who allegedly had been ignored in the West’s Middle Ages because of a fascination with Aristotle.

Summary of the Doctrins of Zoroaster and Plato

Code of Laws – describes a social/political ideal based on classical Athenian culture with parts of emperor worship, Islamic Fatalism, Platonism, and Stoicism added.

Summary – all copies burned by Gennadius II, now remaining forever lost

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6 Comments on “Biography of Gemistus Pletho

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