89. The School of Constantinople. Themistius. -- The Christian emperors of the East made numerous attempts to start a school of philosophy at Constantinople and to set up the new capital as a rival of Athens and Alexandria. In the second half of the fourth century we find there THEMISTIUS, one of the great commentators on Aristotle.
Though remaining an ally of paganism, Themistius, who held public office, made some concessions to the new religion which his personal protectors, the princes, were patronizing. The commentaries of Themistius on Aristotle reveal the disciple of the Lyceum; without any hostility to Plato, he combats the innovations engrafted on Platonism by Neo-Platonism. Themistius had no immediate successors, and the philosophic movement at Constantinople lapsed into a slumber that lasted for centuries. In 618 the emperor Heraclius summoned an Alexandrian teacher to Constantinople in the hope that his lessons might arouse the Byzantine genius from its lethargy. The attempt was futile; the awakening was to be witnessed only by yet far-distant generations.
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