Basilios Bessarion was educated by Gemistus Pletho in Neoplatonic philosophy and later served as the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople.
17 Facts About Basilios Bessarion
Basilios Bessarion eventually was named a cardinal and was twice considered for the papacy.
Basilios Bessarion has been mistakenly known as Johannes Bessarion due to an erroneous interpretation of Gregory III Mammas.
Basilios Bessarion was born in Trebizond, the Black Sea port in northeastern Anatolia that was the heart of Pontic Greek culture and civilization during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Basilios Bessarion was educated in Constantinople, then went in 1423 to Mystras, Peloponnese to study Neoplatonism under Gemistus Pletho.
Basilios Bessarion's Neoplatonism stayed with him his whole life, even as a cardinal.
Basilios Bessarion was very familiar with Neoplatonist terminology and used it in his letter to Pletho's two sons, Demitrios and Andronikos, on the death of his still-beloved teacher in 1452.
Basilios Bessarion participated in the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence as the most eminent representative of unionists, although he originally belonged to the party of anti-unionists.
From that time, Basilios Bessarion resided permanently in Italy, doing much to spread abroad the New Learning.
Basilios Bessarion's palazzo in Rome was a virtual academy for the studies of new humanistic learning, a center for learned Greeks and Greek refugees, whom he supported by commissioning transcripts of Greek manuscripts and translations into Latin that made Greek scholarship available to Western Europeans.
Basilios Bessarion supported Regiomontanus in this fashion and defended Nicholas of Cusa.
Basilios Bessarion is known in history as the original patron of the Greek exiles including Theodore Gaza, George of Trebizond, John Argyropoulos, and Janus Lascaris.
Basilios Bessarion held in succession the archbishopric of Siponto and the suburbicarian sees of Sabina and Frascati.
At the papal conclave of 1455 which elected the Aragonese candidate, Alfons de Borja, as Callixtus III, Cardinal Basilios Bessarion was an early candidate for his disinterest in the competition between Roman factions that pressed candidates of the Orsini and Colonna factions.
Basilios Bessarion was opposed for his Greek background by the French Cardinal Alain de Coetivy.
Basilios Bessarion is buried in the basilica of Santi Apostoli, Rome.
Basilios Bessarion was one of the most learned scholars of his time.