Were it not for the Council of Florence, Plato would’ve been lost to the West

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemistus_Pletho is the man, well – he gets the credit ’cause there were others too:


The West only had Aristotle and fragments at that. They did the best they could in the 12th century+, establishing Universities, and Scholasticism and did a pretty good job of it.

Rome left the Eastern Churches (or the Eastern apostated depending on your POV) – and they went their separate ways but tried a few attempts of reconciliation.

Council of Florence was a total failure at its purpose – the defense of … ok, I’m not getting into theology here – but – one good thing that came of is is this:

The Byzantines were smart enough to send over a number of scholars to teach the Latin west all the greek classics.

It wasn’t lost knowledge in the East just in the West.

The western representatives eagerly ate it all up, rapidly translating it and distributing it, and bringing Plato back to Europe, where he was mostly missing, and spawned humanism.

Then, just 10 yrs later or so, Constantiple fell to Mehmet II.

Were it not for the Council of Florence, Plato would’ve been lost to the West and it’s likely that the humanistic movement would not have gotten its needed boost, spawning the ideas that built upon each other to lead to today.


I blame the BBC version of history. They hate the Byzantines because it wrecks their 19th century historical narrative about “dark + middle ages” and the fantasy of “lost knowledge retained from fragments”.


The whole Dark/Middle ages is postiively romanticized and mythological and not true.

Mind you, much of Europe was in crapsville at the same time that the Byzantine and neighboring Islamic empires were flourishing…

… but it wasn’t the awful thing we _still_ teach kids now.


It’s revisionism. Bypassing the Byzantines altogether – AND the fact that the Byzantines and the Muslims had working relationships and shared knowledge at least through to the 12th century… when, things started to get nasty.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age I wouldn’t say “all was well” in this period of time, but despite wars and conquests there was an overall “status quo” between Muslim and Byzantine empires.

But between the Mongols from the Far East and the Crusades from the West….

It was about 200 years of tussling ’til the 1450s-1500s, which was a huge period of change, ushering in the Ottoman empire, the fall of the Roman Empire (Eastern) and the rise of Europe to power.



Status Quo is a relatively foreign concept in the US, who is always focused on progress.

It’s “sort of” like Detente but it’s basically a mutual understanding whereby there must be universal agreement for any change to status quo to take place.

The status quo still exists in the Holy Land sites.

For example, this ladder hasn’t been moved for 300+ years.

Why? Because there’s no universal agreement between Islamic, Jewish, Orthodox and Catholic leaders *WHO* should move the ladder.

It sounds ridiculous but it’s a form of peace.



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