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YÆÓRYIOS YÆMISTÓS PLÍTHOHN

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ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ ΓΕΜΙΣΤΟΣ ΠΛΗΘΩΝ

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Yæóhryios Yæmistós Plíthohn (Georgius Gemistus Plethon; Gr. Γεώργιος Γεμιστός Πλήθων) 

Yæóhryios Yæmistós Plíthohn was born 1355 CE in Constantinople and died 1452/1454 at Mystrás (Mistra; Gr. Μυστράς) in the Pælopónnisos (Peloponnese; Gr. Πελοπόννησος). He is generally known simply as Plíthohn, but in reality, this was a pseudonym; plíthohn (Gr. πλήθων) is a synonym for yæmistós (γεμιστός), his family name, both words meaning "abundant," while simultaneously sounding a bit like the name of the famous philosopher, for he was known as a "second Plátohn" (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων).

Plíthohn was a Greek Neo-Platonist philosopher who exerted a seminal influence on the Italian Renaissance. It is unknown exactly who taught Plíthohn but the ideas of the Byzantine monk Mikhaíl Psællós (Michael Psellos; Gr. Μιχαήλ Ψελλός) and the philosopher Yánnis o Italós (John Italos; Gr. Ἰωάννης ὁ Ἰταλός) can be discovered in his writings.
[1]

"According to his enemy Gennadios II Scholarios (ed. Γεώργιος Κουρτέσιος Σχολάριος) [2], George Gemistos studied with a Jew, Elisha (Elissaios [ed. Gr. Ἐλισσαῖος]), at the 'court of the barbarians,' perhaps Bursa, and was exposed to Zoroastrianism." [3]

In 1438 Plíthohn was sent by the Byzantine Emperor, Yánnis I' Palaiológos (John VIII Palaiologos; Gr. Ίωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος), to the Council of Ferrara-Florence. The purpose of this council was to reconcile the eastern and western Christian churches and obtain military aid for the Byzantine Empire which was threatened by the Turks. While in Florence, Plíthohn taught Platonism and Zoroastrianism, inspiring Cosimo d'Medici to open the Accademia Platonica. As a consequence, the classic translation of Plátohn from Greek to Latin was created under the Academy's first head, Marsilio Ficino, who was under the patronage of the d'Medici's. Plíthohn asserted the superiority of Platohn's teachings over that of Aristotle. Although he was decidedly polytheistic (for which he was eventually condemned as a heretic), his ideas influenced Christian ecclesiastics and scholars in both the eastern and western Churches. Shortly after Plíthohn died, the empire fell to the Turks, which they held in tyranny until the Ællinikí Æpanástasi (Ellenike Epanastase; Gr. Ελληνική Επανάσταση), the Greek war for independence of 1821 and 1830.

Indeed, Plíthohn was a polytheist in the true sense of the word. He wrote a brief summary of his beliefs entitled Summary of the Doctrines of Zoroaster and Platohn (although neither of these personages is mentioned in the text). In the work he states: 

"(1) The Gods really exist; Zeus (ed. Zefs; Gr. Ζεύς) is chief among them and 'altogether apart'; Poseidon (ed. Poseithohn; Gr. Ποσειδῶν) is second; and the rest of the Gods are produced by those two, without mothers but with the help of Hera (Ira; Gr. Ήρα) (2) The Gods provide for human affairs in accordance with the decrees of Zeus. (3) The Gods cause no evil and nothing but good. (4) Everything that the Gods do is in accordance with 'irreversible and inexorable Fate proceeding from Zeus in the best of all possible ways'. ....". [4] 

These are the first four of twelve such statements, enough to give you a flavor of this text.

Directly quoting Plíthohn from The Book of Laws

" 'The conventions which we have most assuredly inherited from an unbroken succession of godlike men are as follows. The Gods are everything in Nature that is greater and more blessed than human nature' They provide for our happiness out of their abundance; they are the source of good, never of evil; 'bound by an irreversible and inevitable Fate, they allot the best of all that is possible to all men.' There are many Gods of various degrees of divinity. Supreme among them is Zeus, who is ungenerated, everlasting, the father of himself, the father and pre-eminent creator of all other things. He is the absolute good." [5]


NOTES:

[1] Source: George Gemistos Plethon: The Last of the Hellenes by C.M. Woodhouse, 1986, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 69.

[2] Lay name: Yæóhryios Kourtǽsios Skholários (Georgios Kourtesios Scholarios; Gr. Γεώργιος Κουρτέσιος Σχολάριος); 1400–1473 CE, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1454 to 1464.

[3] The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Vol. 3, 1991, Oxford Univ. Press (New York USA, Oxford England), p.1685.

[4] Woodhouse, p. 319.

[5] Woodhouse, p. 329.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).




PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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Pronunciation of Ancient Greek          

 

Transliteration of Ancient Greek          

 

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