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A tale of two books: Bessarion's In Calumniatorem Platonis and George of Trebizond's Comparatio Philosophorum Platonis et Aristotelis

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Abstract:

The two central Latin works of the Plato-Aristotle Controversy of the Fifteenth Century were George of Trebizond's Comparatio Philosophorum Platonis et Aristotelis and Cardinal Bessarion's In Calumniatorem Platonis in response to George. The Renaissance fortuna of Bessarion's work is well known and reflects the relative success it enjoyed. George's Comparatio, however, had a much harder time of it. The story of its eventually printing in 1523 involves us tracing the history of MS Vat. Lat. 3382 of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana through Central Europe until its arrival in Venice. The key figure in the printing proved to be the imperial official Jacopo Bannisio. A marginal note by the Englishman Robert Ridley in a copy of Bessarion's work now at Yale University reporting a conversation he had with Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples in Paris provides interesting insights on how Lefèvre and others viewed the conflict between Bessarion and George as well as on the fortuna of George's Comparatio.

Keywords: Agostino Claravalle, OSA; Cardinal Bessarion; George of Trebizond; Jacopo Bannisio; Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples; MS Vat. Lat. 3382 of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana; Plato-Aristotle Controversy; Robert Ridley

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-4658.2007.00469.x

Affiliations: University at Albany, State University of New York

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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