Greece Reinvented

Transformations of Byzantine Hellenism in Renaissance Italy


Greece Reinvented discusses the transformation of Byzantine Hellenism as the cultural elite of Byzantium, displaced to Italy, constructed it. It explores why and how Byzantine migrants such as Cardinal Bessarion, Ianus Lascaris, and Giovanni Gemisto adopted Greek personas to replace traditional Byzantine claims to the heirship of ancient Rome. In Greece Reinvented, Han Lamers shows that being Greek in the diaspora was both blessing and burden, and explores how these migrants’ newfound ‘Greekness’ enabled them to create distinctive positions for themselves while promoting group cohesion. These Greek personas reflected Latin understandings of who the Greeks ‘really’ were but sometimes also undermined Western paradigms. Greece Reinvented reveals some of the cultural tensions that bubble under the surface of the much-studied transmission of Greek learning from Byzantium to Italy.

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Han Lamers, Ph.D. (2013), Leiden University, is Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Berlin Centre for the History of Knowledge at the Humboldt University (Berlin) and Postdoctoral Researcher of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at the University of Leuven.
Conventions and Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
List of Maps

1 A Hellenic Alternative: The Emergence of Greekness in Byzantium
2 Making the Best of It: The Negotiation of Greekness in Italy
3 Freedom and Community: The Secular Greekness of Cardinal Bessarion
4 The Greek Tradition as a Combat Zone: Hellenocentrism in the Work of George Trapezuntius of Crete
5 Greekness as Cultural Common Ground: Ianus Lascaris’ Attempt at Greco-Latin Ecumenism
6 Greekness Without Greece: Michele Tarcaniota Marullo and Manilio Cabacio Rallo
7 The Territorialisation of Hellenism: Giovanni Gemisto’s Vision of the Greek World
Conclusion: Greece Reinvented

Appendix 1 Gemisto’s Gallery of Greek Heroes
Appendix 2 Gemisto’s Imaginary Greece

All interested in the cultural history of Hellenism, the Italian Renaissance, Greek diaspora, the Classical Tradition, and anyone concerned with (Byzantine) Greek and Neo-Latin literature in Renaissance Italy.
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