Teodoro Gaza

incisione di Theodor de Bry (1528-1598)
da Bibliotheca chalcographica di Jean-Jacques Boissard - 1669


Umanista bizantino (Salonicco ca. 1400 - San Giovanni di Piro, Salerno, 1475). Sfuggito nel 1429 ai Turchi e venuto in Italia, insegnò greco a Siena, a Ferrara e a Mantova. Passò a Roma al servizio di papa Niccolò V, per il quale tradusse in latino scrittori greci (Teofrasto, varie opere di Aristotele, ecc.).

Alla morte di Niccolò (1455), si stabilì a Napoli alla corte di re Alfonso, che gli assicurò una florida situazione economica. Ottenne infine il beneficio dell'abbazia di San Giovanni. Oltre agli autori già citati, Gaza tradusse Ippocrate, Eliano, Dionigi d'Alicarnasso, Giovanni Crisostomo e dal latino in greco Cicerone; scrisse una Grammatica greca e collaborò all'editio princeps di testi inediti (Aulo Gellio, erudito latino del II sec. dC). È autore inoltre di opere storiche, filologiche e antiquarie e parafrasi di testi omerici.


Theodorus Gaza

Theodorus Gaza or Theodore Gazis (c. 1400 – 1475), a Greek humanist and translator of Aristotle, one of the Greek scholars who were the leaders of the revival of learning in the 15th century. He was born at Thessalonica.

On the capture of his native city by the Turks in 1430 he fled to Italy. During a three years residence in Mantua he rapidly acquired a competent knowledge of Latin under the teaching of Vittorino da Feltre, supporting himself meanwhile by giving lessons in Greek, and by copying manuscripts of the ancient classics.

In 1447 he became professor of Greek in the newly founded University of Ferrara, to which students in great numbers from all parts of Italy were soon attracted by his fame as a teacher. He had taken some part in the councils which were held in Siena (1423), Ferrara (1438), and Florence (1439), with the object of bringing about a reconciliation between the Greek and Latin Churches; and in 1450, at the invitation of Pope Nicholas V, he went to Rome, where he was for some years employed by his patron in making Latin translations from Aristotle and other Greek authors.

After the death of Nicholas (1455), being unable to make a living at Rome, Gaza removed to Naples, where he enjoyed the patronage of Alphonso the Magnanimous for two years (1456-1458). Shortly afterwards he was appointed by Cardinal Bessarion to a benefice in Calabria, where the later years of his life were spent, and where he died about 1475.

In the campaign waged by Plethon against Aristotelianism he contributed his share to the defence. His influence on humanists was considerable, in the success with which he taught Greek language and literature. At Ferrara he founded an academy to offset the influence of the Platonic academy founded by Plethon at Florence.
His translations were superior, both in accuracy and style, to the versions in use before his time. He devoted particular attention to the translation and exposition of Aristotle's works on natural science.

Gaza stood high in the opinion of most of his learned contemporaries, but still higher in that of the scholars of the succeeding generation. His Greek grammar (in four books), written in Greek, first printed at Venice in 1495, and afterwards partially translated by Erasmus in 1521, although in many respects defective, especially in its syntax; was for a long time the leading text-book. His translations into Latin were very numerous, including:

Problemata, De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium of Aristotle

the Historia plantarum of Theophrastus

the Problemata of Alexander of Aphrodisias

the De instruendis aciebus of Aelian

the De compositione verborum of Dionysius of Halicarnassus

some of the Homilies of John Chrysostom.

He also turned into Greek Cicero's De senectute and Somnium Scipionis with much success, in the opinion of Erasmus; with more elegance than exactitude, according to the colder judgment of modern scholars. He was the author also of two small treatises entitled De mensibus and De origine Turcarum.

Dictionnaire historique
de la médecine ancienne et moderne

par Nicolas François Joseph Eloy
Mons – 1778