If the world is still turbulent because of the Internet environment in which we celebrated two days ago some 500-600 years since the fall of Constantinople, we have said to take into account a scientist who has been forgotten by almost everyone who lived there. through Byzantium. how after? Do we miss this anniversary?
Gregoras NicephorusPhoto: by unknown author – anemourion.blogspot.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78011769
Not only that, but if you think about it, everyone knows that with the Turks seizing Constantinople, the Renaissance took a kick in the back from swooping into some no one dreamed of peaks. Many thinkers, scholars and the like fled from Byzantium, especially in Italy, laying their serious shoulders on the development of the Renaissance and the rise of the West to the height of civilization and progress. Buuun! This is where we wanted to introduce you. If this is still clear, call yourself, from your memory, ten great Byzantine scholars! Only ten. You have one minute.
that they? be honest! Don’t you know half of it? But don’t do anything! Rest assured, because there are not many who know how to name these scholars from the Byzantine world. To make up for this shortcoming, we promise we’ll get some of these Byzantines out of mothballs, just when you least expect it. That’s why we give doses of general culture.
Today we will talk about the first, Nichifor (or Nicephorus) Gregoras (1295 – 1360), one of the most famous scholars of the Byzantine Empire. You will immediately discover what he has done in his life.
First of all, we will say that the guy was originally from northern Turkey, from the city of Heraklia Pontica. He spent the first years of his life in his hometown, under the care of a very intelligent and high-ranking uncle, John by name, who happened to be Bishop of Heraklia. I forgot to mention that Nechiphore was an orphan. finally. His uncle had grand plans for him, so he introduced him directly to the works of Plato, Aristotle and other great ancient thinkers, and on this occasion the child proved to be a rather frightening talent in all the sciences to which he had access.
Since the library in Heraclia soon became too small for such a fleeting mind, John sent his nephew directly to Constantinople, where he left him in the care of Patriarch John XIII, but also to Theodore Metochites, who was a kind of prime minister. . By the way, you see that this Metochites was again a reference name among the great thinkers of that time, and is considered one of the promoters of the Renaissance in the Greek world.
It didn’t take long, and the two took Nichifor straight to Emperor Andronicus II the Palaeologus, where they presented him as the smartest student they had ever seen, someone “of no superiority in East or West.” This is to give you an idea of what Nichifor could do when he was under 25 years old. finally! In order not to go into too many boring biographical details, we will say that the emperor loved him, congratulated him, kissed him, and gave him the freedom to take the Byzantine flag to unexpected heights, which Nichefort did, and founded an extraordinary school “Mone tes Choras”, where students came not Only from Byzantium, but from all over Europe.
There, Nichifor was a kind of Factotum, teaching mathematics, philosophy, theology, history, astronomy, and almost all the sciences invented up to that time. He excelled at everything. If they invented quantum physics in the 14th century, then be convinced that our man was able in record time not only to understand it, but also to teach it at school. But most importantly, I kept it in the end. Namely, Nichifor Gregoras was unparalleled in astronomy. He was not only able to predict a solar or lunar eclipse with the exact date of its occurrence (which was not at all easy in the century at the time) but he also began calculating the date of Easter in 1324.
Well, starting from this account, it became clear to him that the Julian calendar in use for a long time was wrong. It’s not like other people haven’t noticed this before. Many have done this, but none of them knew how to make a new calendar without the initial errors. Look, our Gregoras knows. So he went to the emperor with the new calendar, and presented the case to all the astronomers assembled there like a bear, and they all agreed that Nichifor was right and that he revolutionized the system.
And what did they do? Well, they kept quiet. Emperor Andronikos feared that these changes would lead to a schism between Byzantium, the Eastern Orthodox, the Russians, the Armenians, and others, since it is known since then that the Easterners are more rebellious and it is not good to change or take the taboo. . clone with them.
Now, not only did the man act in vain, but in May he was put on trumpets to subsequently get involved in all sorts of religious controversies, and he was also chosen to a kind of house arrest for about four years, with students forbidden to speak and the like. And when he entered the world of the righteous, the religious entered his house, dragged his corpse through the streets, and mocked him as if he had committed crimes against humanity. Well, it was like, you can’t change anything now.
The thing is that the idea of an improved calendar languished in readiness for nearly 250 years, until Pope Gregory XIII finally decided to launch it. This was in 1582. This was, roughly speaking, Gregory’s calendar. That’s why today’s title…