Roma: Bilim ve Üniversite
CKM 2019-20 / Aziz Yardımlı



Roma: Bilim ve Üniversite


  Science in the Roman Empire
  Wikipedia’nın Hıristiyan (ve çoğunlukla Katolik) izlenimi veren yazarları sık sık dinsel bakış açısına dönerler ve Hıristiyan bir bağlamda olduklarını kabul ederek “klasik felsefe” ya da yalın olarak “felsefe” yerine, “pagan felsefe” gibi bir oxymoronu yeğlerler. Yine, “Roma” yerine sürekli olarak “Bizans” terimini kullanır ve buna bağlı tarihçilik anomalilerini paylaşmak zorunda kalırlar.
Düzeltmeler 1

  • Bir tür “rönesans” olarak “Bizans erken hümanizmi” anlatımı Roma bağlamında ironiktir.
  • İtalyan Hümanizminin başlıca uğraşı klasik metinlerin toplanması idi ve örneğin Petrarch topladığı metinleri okumuyor, yalnızca yanında taşıyordu (Petrarch ve Dante “klasik’ ile değil, Katolik Kilise ile çok yakından tanışık idiler).
  • İtalyan hümanizmine andırımlı ve klasik uygarlığın diriliğine inanan bir “Bizans hümanizmi” anlatımı Roma İmparatorluğunun yokluğu sayıltısı üzerine dayanır.
Düzeltmeler 2

  • Bizans bilimi (Byzantine science): Roma bilimi demek olmalıdır.
  • “antik-pagan felsefe” (ancient-pagan philosophy) Klasik felsefeyi anlatmak için amaçlanır.
  • “metafizik” terimi fiziğin, doğanın ötesi olarak “tin” alanını anlatır; sözcük ile denmek istenen sık sık usun, logosun kendisinin bilgisi olarak mantık bilimidir.
  • “pagan-felsefe” teriminin klasik-felsefenin ‘putperest-felsefe’ olduğunu anlatması gerekir.


  • Konstantinopolis Üniversitesi tanrıbilimi dışlayarak yalnızca bilimleri konu aldı.
  • Roma manastır okulları İncil incelemelerinin yanısıra klasik yazın yapıtlarını da ele aldılar ve bu incelemeler için dinadamı olma koşulu getirilmedi.

Byzantine {Roman} science (W)

Byzantine {Roman} science (W)

Byzantine science played an important role in the transmission of classical knowledge to the Islamic world and to Renaissance Italy, and also in the transmission of Islamic science to Renaissance Italy. Its rich historiographical tradition preserved ancient knowledge upon which splendid artarchitectureliterature and technological achievements were built.

Byzantines stood behind several technological advancements.

Classical and ecclesiastical studies (W)

Byzantine science was essentially classical science. Therefore, Byzantine science was in every period closely connected with ancient-pagan philosophy, and metaphysics. Despite some opposition to pagan learning, many of the most distinguished classical scholars held high office in the Church. The writings of antiquity never ceased to be cultivated in the Byzantine empire due to the impetus given to classical studies by the Academy of Athens in the 4th and 5th centuries, the vigor of the philosophical academy of Alexandria, and to the services of the University of Constantinople, which concerned itself entirely with secular subjects, to the exclusion of theology, which was taught in the Patriarchical Academy. Even the latter offered instruction in the ancient classics, and included literary, philosophical, and scientific texts in its curriculum. The monastic schools concentrated upon the Bible, theology, and liturgy. Therefore, the monastic scriptoria expended most of their efforts upon the transcription of ecclesiastical manuscripts, while ancient-pagan literature was transcribed, summarized, excerpted, and annotated by laymen or clergy like PhotiosArethas of CaesareaEustathius of Thessalonica, and Basilius Bessarion.

Mathematics (W)

Byzantine {!} scientists preserved and continued the legacy of the great Ancient Greek mathematicians and put mathematics in practice. In early Byzantium {!} (5th to 7th century) the architects and mathematicians Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles used complex mathematical formulas to construct the great Hagia Sophia church, a technological breakthrough for its time and for centuries afterwards due to its striking geometry, bold design and height. In middle Byzantium {!} (8th to 12th century) mathematicians like Michael Psellos considered mathematics as a way to interpret the world.

Physics (W)

John Philoponus, also known as John the Grammarian, was an Alexandrian philologist, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, and author of philosophical treatises and theological works. He was the first who criticized Aristotle and attacked Aristotle’s theory of the free fall. His criticism of Aristotelian physics was an inspiration {?} for Galileo Galilei many centuries later; Galileo cited Philoponus substantially in his works, and followed him in refuting Aristotelian physics.

The theory of impetus was also invented in the Byzantine {!} Empire.

Ship mill is an invention made by the Byzantines, {!} and was constructed in order to mill grains by using the energy of the stream of water. The technology eventually spread to the rest of Europe and was in use until ca. 1800.

Medicine (W)

Medicine was one of the sciences in which the Byzantines {!} improved on their Greco-Roman predecessors, {?} starting from Galen. As a result, Byzantine {!} medicine had an influence on Islamic medicine as well as the medicine of the Renaissance.

The concept of hospital as institution to offer medical care and possibility of a cure for the patients due to the ideals of Christian charity, {?} rather than just merely a place to die, appeared in Byzantine {!} Empire.

The first known example of separating conjoined twins happened in the Byzantine Empire in the 10th century when a pair of conjoined twins from Armenia came eventually to Constantinople. Many years later one of them died, so the surgeons in Constantinople decided to remove the body of the dead one. The result was partly successful as the surviving twin lived in three days before dying. But the fact that the second person survived for few days after separating it, was so impressive that it was mentioned a century and half years later again by historians. The next case of separating conjoined twins will be recorded first about 700 years later in the year 1689 in Germany.

Byzantine and Islamic science (W)

During the Middle Ages, there was frequently an exchange of works between Byzantine {!} and Islamic science. The Byzantine {!} Empire initially provided {?} the medieval Islamic world with Ancient and early Medieval Greek texts on astronomy,  mathematics and philosophy for translation into Arabic as the Byzantine {!} Empire was the leading center of scientific scholarship in the region at the beginning of the Middle Ages. {?} Later as the Caliphate and other medieval Islamic cultures became the leading centers of scientific knowledge, Byzantine {!} scientists such as Gregory Choniades, who had visited the famous Maragheh observatory, translated books on Islamic astronomymathematics and science into Medieval Greek, including for example the works of Ja'far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi, Ibn YunusAl-Khazini (who was of Byzantine {!} Greek descent but raised in a Persian culture), Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī and Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī (such as the Zij-i Ilkhani and other Zij treatises) among others.

There were also some Byzantine {!} scientists who used Arabic transliterations to describe certain scientific concepts instead of the equivalent Ancient Greek terms (such as the use of the Arabic talei instead of the Ancient Greek horoscopus). Byzantine {!} science thus played an important role in not only transmitting ancient Greek knowledge to Western Europe and the Islamic world, but in also transmitting Arabic knowledge to Western Europe. Some historians suspect that Copernicus or another European author had access to an Arabic astronomical text, resulting in the transmission of the Tusi-couple, an astronomical model developed by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi that later appeared in the work of Nicolaus Copernicus. Byzantine {!} scientists also became acquainted with Sassanid and Indian astronomy through citations in some Arabic works.

Humanism and Renaissance (W)

During the 12th century the Byzantines {!} produced their model of early humanism {?} as a renaissance of interest in classical authors, however, during the centuries before, (9-12) Humanism and wanting for classical learning was prominent during the Macedonian Renaissance, and continued into what we see now as the 12th century Renaissance under the Komnenoi. In Eustathius of Thessalonica Byzantine {!} humanism {?} found its most characteristic expression. During the 13th and 14th centuries, a period of intense creative activity, Byzantine {!} humanism {?} approached its zenith, and manifested a striking analogy {?} to the contemporaneous Italian humanism. Byzantine {!} humanism {?} believed in the vitality of classical civilization, and of its sciences, and its proponents occupied themselves with scientific sciences.

Despite the political, and military decline of these last two centuries, the Empire saw a flourishing of science and literature, often described as the "Palaeologean" or “Last Byzantine {!} Renaissance.” {?} Some of this era's most eminent representatives are: Maximus PlanudesManuel MoschopulusDemetrius Triclinius and Thomas Magister. The Academy at Trebizond, highly influenced by Persian sciences, became a renowned center for the study of astronomy, and other mathematical sciences, and medicine attracted the interest of almost all scholars. In the final century of the Empire Byzantine {!} grammarians were those principally responsible for carrying in person, and in writing ancient Greek grammatical, and literary studies to early Renaissance Italy, and among them Manuel Chrysoloras was involved over the never achieved union of the Churches.


  University of Constantinople

University of Constantinople

University of Constantinople (W)

Colossus of Barletta, statue identified with Theodosius II founder of University of Constantinople.

The Imperial University of Constantinople, sometimes known as the University of the Palace Hall of Magnaura (Greek: Πανδιδακτήριον τῆς Μαγναύρας), was an Eastern Roman educational institution that could trace its corporate origins to 425 AD, when the emperor Theodosius II founded the Pandidakterion (Byzantine Greek: Πανδιδακτήριον).

The Pandidakterion was refounded in 1046 by Constantine IX Monomachos who created the Departments of Law (Διδασκαλεῖον τῶν Νόμων) and Philosophy (Γυμνάσιον).

At the time various economic schools, colleges, polytechnics, libraries and fine-arts academies also operated in the city of Constantinople.


Byzantine {!} society on the whole was an educated one. Primary education was widely available, sometimes even at village level and uniquely in that era for both sexes. Female participation in culture was high. Scholarship was fostered not only in Constantinople but also in institutions operated in such major cities as Antioch and Alexandria.

The original school was founded in 425 by Emperor Theodosius II with 31 chairs for law, philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, rhetoric and other subjects, 15 to Latin and 16 to Greek. The university existed until the 15th century.

The main content of higher education for most students was rhetoric, philosophy and law with the aim of producing competent, learned personnel to staff the bureaucratic postings of state and church. In this sense the university was the secular equivalent of the Theological Schools. The university maintained an active philosophical tradition of Platonism and Aristotelianism, with the former being the longest unbroken Platonic school, running for close to two millennia until the 15th century.

The School of Magnaura was founded in the 9th century but did not last very long, and in the 11th new schools of philosophy and law were established at the Capitol School. The period of decline began with the Latin conquest of 1204 although the university survived as a non-secular institution under Church management until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, and was re-established by Mehmet II as a Madrasa (an Islamic theological school) following the conquest of the city.

Matthaios Kamariotis, lecturer of the University, became the first director of Phanar Greek Orthodox College, which was established in 1454.


A few scholars have gone so far as calling the Pandidakterion the first “university” in the world, but this view does not take into account that the Byzantine {!} centers of higher learning generally lacked the corporative structure of the medieval universities of Western Europe which were the first to use the Latin term universitas for the corporations of students and masters that came to define the institutional character of the university thereafter. Nonetheless, the Dictionnaire encyclopédique du Moyen Âge tentatively identifies the Pandidakterion of 425 AD as a "university institution".


  Byzantine {Roma} university

Byzantine {Roma} university

Byzantine {Roma} university (W)

Byzantine {!} university refers to higher education during the Byzantine {!} empire.


Although some Byzantine {!} institutions are occasionally referred to as “universities” on grounds they were centers of higher education, the Byzantine {!} world, unlike the Latin West, did not know universities in the strict and original sense of the term. {?} Higher education was rather provided by private teachers, professional groups, and state-appointed teachers, but not by the permanent corporations (Latin universitas) of the medieval university.


In the early period RomeAthens, and Alexandria were the main centers of learning, but were overtaken in the 5th century by the new capital, Constantinople. After the Academy in Athens closed in 529, and the conquest of Alexandria and Beirut by the Muslims in the mid seventh century, the focus of all higher learning moved to Constantinople.{?}

After Constantinople's founding in 330, teachers were drawn to the new city and various steps were taken for official state support and supervision, but nothing lastingly formal in the way of state-funded education emerged. But in 425 Theodosius II founded the Pandidakterion, described as "the first deliberate effort of the Byzantine {!} state to impose its control on matters relating to higher education." This established a clear distinction between private teachers and public (paid from imperial funds) ones. Official teachers enjoyed privilege and prestige. There were a total of 31: 10 each for Greek and Latin grammar; two for law; one for philosophy; and eight chairs for rhetoric, with five taught in Greek and three in Latin. This system lasted with various degrees of official support until the 7th century. Byzantine {!} rhetoric was the most important and difficult topic studied in the Byzantine {!} education system, forming a basis for citizens to attain public office in the imperial service, or posts of authority within the Church. Along with the dominance of Byzantine {!} intellectual life by imperial patronage came imperial scrutiny of the higher schools' curriculum and staff.

In the 7th and 8th centuries Byzantine {!} life went through a difficult period. Continued Arab pressure from the south and the SlavsAvars, and Bulgars to the north led to dramatic economic decline and transformation of Byzantine {!} life. But higher education continued to receive some official funding, the details of which are not well known to scholars, but it is assumed the quality of the education was probably lower than before.

With improving stability in the 9th century came measures to improve the quality of higher education. In 863 chairs of grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy (which included mathematics, astronomy, and music) were founded and given a permanent location in the imperial palace. These chairs continued to receive official state support for the next century and a half, after which the Church assumed the leading role in providing higher education. During the 12th century the Patriarchal School was the leading center of education which included men of letters such as Theodore Prodromos and Eustathius of Thessalonica.

The Crusaders’s capture of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade ended all support for higher education, although the government in exile in Nicaea gave some support to individual private teachers. After the restoration in 1261 attempts were made to restore the old system, but it never fully recovered and most teaching fell to private teachers and professions. Some of these private teachers included the diplomat and monk Maximos Planudes (1260-1310), the historian Nikephoros Gregoras (1291-1360), and the man of letters Manuel Chrysoloras, who taught in Florence and influenced the early Italian humanists on Greek studies. In the 15th century, following the Fall of Constantinople, many more teachers from the City would follow in Chrysoloras' footsteps.




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