Cardinal Bessarione.

Entry to Biblioteca Marciana .
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Cardinal Bessarione.


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Entry to Biblioteca Marciana .


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Cardinal Bessarione

Christened Basilio, Cardinal Bessarione was born at the beginning of the 15th Century  in the Greek city of Trebisonda on the Black Sea. He adopted the name of Bessarione on becoming a monk.

A pupil of Giorgio Gemisto Pletone (one of the greatest Greek philosophers of the time), he was appointed Archbishop of Nicaea in 1438. He took part in two Conciliums (in Ferrara and Florence), convened by Pope Eugene IV to attempt to unite the Christians in the West and East.
Bessarione became a cardinal in 1439 and devoted his life to defending Greece against Turkey. He was also a man of great culture, helping spread classical philosophy and preserve traditional Greek writing.
As part of this noble objective, he purchased (and had copied) most of the classic Greek texts, which he then donated to the city of Venice in 1468. The collection includes some 750 codes and 250 manuscripts and is today the most important cultural heritage in St. Mark’s Library, where it has been kept since the 16th Century.


1300 - 1400  -   - rev. 0.1.6

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