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Janus Lascaris

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Also called John; surnamed Rhyndacenus (from Rhyndacus, a country town in Asia Minor ).

He was a noted Greek scholar, born about 1445; died at Rome in 1535. After the fall of Constantinople he was taken to Peloponnesus and to Crete. When still quite young he came to Venice, where Bessarion became his patron, and sent him to learn Latin at Padua. On the death of Bessarion, Lorenzo de' Medici welcomed him to Florence, where Lascaris gave Greek lectures on Thucydides, Demosthenes, Sophocles, and the Greek anthology. Twice Lorenzo sent him to Greece in quest of manuscripts. When he returned the second time (1492) he brought back about two hundred from Mount Athos. Meanwhile Lorenzo had passed away. Lascaris entered the service of France and was ambassador at Venice from 1503 to 1508, at which time he became a member of the Greek Academy of Aldus Manutius ; but if the printer had the benefit of his advice, no Aldine work bears his name. He resided at Rome under Leo X, the first pope of the Medici family, from 1513 to 1518, returned under Clement VII in 1523, and Paul III in 1534. Meanwhile he had assisted Louis XII in forming the library of Blois, and when Francis I had it removed to Fontaine-bleau, Lascaris and Budé had charge of its organization. We owe to him a number of editiones principes among them the Greek anthology (1494), four plays of Euripides, Callimachus (about 1495), Apolloninus Rhodius, Lucian (1496), printed in Florence in Greek capitals with accents, and the scholia of Didymas (1517) and of Porphyrius (1518) on Homer, printed in Rome.


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