Byzantine education is an enticing subject for exploration, and one that changes in hue from one era to the next. Of course, there were stable axes traversing its entire, extensive history. Education itself was one such axis of reference throughout the Byzantine centuries. It retained its links with its — mainly Hellenistic — past and expanded on them, moulding at a relatively early stage a homo Byzantinus who remained true both to his classical learning and his Christian beliefs.1

The Byzantine Empire never imposed compulsory schooling on its subjects, while education was always open to those that desired it and had the wherewithal to pay for it.2 And while the state was well aware that its functionaries had need of at least a rudimentary school-training, education in itself was never a prerequisite for holding an imperial post. On the other hand, when it was present, education was a highly-regarded element in anyone’s make-up, but was especially admired in holders of high office.

Much has been written about the attitude of the Christians of the fourth century towards the intellectual heritage of the Greco-Roman world. Christianity, a religion founded on the revealed God, could never entertain the idea that people should be educated in order to embrace the faith. On the other hand, it was realized at an early stage that the dialogue with the intellectual tradition of the ancient world would only benefit Christianity. Indeed, this dialogue played a major role in the formative intellectual debates and concerns of this period.3

One of the great sponsors of education in the early Byzantine period was the emperor Julian (361-363). The young emperor propounded the view that Greco-Roman civilization finds his historical justification in theological terms; education and religion were inextricably related, while the ultimate guarantor of education was divine providence itself. In this conviction Julian issued an edict in 362 by which Christian teachers were banned from practising their profession, as it was assumed that they did not respect the works they were using as textbooks. The law applied to holders of municipal chairs but not to the vast majority of teachers, who taught privately and were paid by their students.4 It was Basil the Great (ca. 329-379) who in the end ensured that developments pursued a less hasty pace. In his Address to youths on how they might profit from Greek literature he commended the study of the classics to Christians, with the proviso that pupils should draw from the pagan authors whatever was consistent with the ethics of the new religion. His close friend Gregory of Nazianzos (329/330-390), patriarch of Constantinople and one of the most fascinating and intellectually restless men of his age, was more forceful in his criticism of Julian, pointing out that the works of pagan Antiquity were a legacy that benefited not only the pagans but also the Christians. This view of Gregory’s was to prove the most enduring in the centuries to come, and paved the way for the compromise between Christianity and the old literary and intellectual codes, both in the religious and the secular spheres.

Education in Byzantium was a matter of individual choice and there was never such a thing as statutory school attendance. Any child whose parents were freeborn citizens was allowed to attend school. Given that the schools were always privately run, parents had to possess sufficient financial means to pay for their child’s education, the tuition fees frequently being referred to as misthos or siteresion. There is uncertainty as to the level of these fees; we are indirectly given to understand that they were relatively high, although this would depend on the learning and reputation of the teacher. In a number of cases teachers are known to have demanded payment of fees owed from the parents of schoolchildren. On occasions, indeed, they had to resort to the law courts in order to receive their dues. In the tenth century we know of the existence in Constantinople of the office of the prokathemenos ton paideuterion, whose task was to supervise the schools. Disputes arising between teachers could be resolved with the intervention of the eparch, the patriarch or even the emperor himself. The imperial treasury occasionally provided assistance to certain teachers, but this assistance was rarely sufficient or paid on a regular basis. The same policy was implemented by the patriarchate of Constantinople: again, the economic support was far from regular. A number of monasteries also offered elementary schooling to young boarders who were usually destined to become monks or members of the clergy; this practice, however, was not widely popular.

It must be stressed that one cannot talk of a purely Byzantine education.5 The Byzantine state neither knew an education of its own, nor imposed new guidelines on the education it offered. Rather, Byzantium’s Hellenistic and Roman past had bequeathed an educational system whose structure remained unchanged until the final years of the Empire: a primary school, where the child was taught basic literacy, and a secondary school, where the bulk of the curriculum was based exclusively on secular literature.6 During the middle and late Byzantine period, it was the secondary school that undertook the brunt of children’s education, given that higher educational institutions were only available in large cities during the Empire’s early years, while from the ninth century onwards they depended on initiatives taken by emperors—and more rarely by senior officials—which were generally short-lived.

The Byzantine school was a one-man affair, the extension (so to speak) of a given tutor, who also determined the image projected by his small educational unit onto its social surroundings. Although there is no shortage of exceptions, a perusal of the sources -correspondence, in the main- confirms that the success (or otherwise) of a given school depended exclusively on the character of its teacher. It was his presence and teaching that attracted parents and students.7

Children went to school in Constantinople whenever parents were sufficiently well off to afford such schooling. The primary level of education was generally known as propaideia, beginning around the age of six to eight, and lasted three to four years. The ‘primary’ schoolteacher was known as the grammatistes, paidodidaskalos, paidotribes or paidagogos. Little is known about the places in which these schools were housed; as many grammatistai were members of the clergy, it is quite likely that lessons were widely conducted in churches or courtyards of monasteries. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the staple subjects of primary education. The pupils began by learning the individual letters, then syllables, monosyllabic words, combinations of vowels and consonants in alphabetical and reverse order, entire words and, gradually, entire texts. Pupils used a stylus to write their exercises either on ostraca or on wooden tablets, known as schedaria. The best type of tablet was coated in wax. Cheaper tablets could simply be coated with a thin layer of mud or sand; the pupil would scratch out his exercises with his nails. The key textbook was the Psalter, although other texts were also used. Given that books were very expensive, pupils practised by reading the text out loud and then repeating it and learning it by heart. For arithmetic the schoolchildren counted with their fingers or used stones to make elementary calculations; they also used an abacus, i.e. a board with holes in it corresponding to numbers. Given that until the end of Byzantium it remained common practice to use the Greek numbering system, the grammatistes would get the children to indicate numbers to him by pointing to the appropriate hole on the abacus.

The grammatikos, also termed maistor, was responsible for the secondary level of education, the famous enkyklios paideia, commencing at around the age of twelve to fourteen and lasting, usually, for at least four years. The secondary schools were generally housed in buildings in the centre of Constantinople. The pupils would spend the entire day at school and there were often boarding facilities for those whose families did not live locally. Attendance in class was obligatory; the so-called Anonymous Teacher, who had established such a school in Constantinople around the mid-tenth century, records how he once received a visit from an angry father who had seen his son in the market with friends bargaining for songbirds (!) when he was supposed to be at school.8 Judging from the recipients of Anonymous’ letters, this latter teacher had excellent connections to the palace, to high-ranking officials, as well as to the clergy; indeed, the patriarchate used to subsidise his school from time to time.9

Peer teaching is a fascinating methodological feature of the educational system, which is referred to in the Anonymous Teacher’s correspondence. Thus, a group of students were assigned teaching duties, presumably because the school could not otherwise be effectively run. Comparative study of the contents of the Anonymous’ letters indicates that in addition to undertaking teaching tasks, which presumably consisted in tutoring the school’s younger students, the ekkritoi tes scholes or the epistatountes also had a voice in the institutional decision-making process.10 This important testimony is backed up by Life A of Athanasius of Athos, which refers both to a hierarchy of teachers and to students voting with regard to the promotion of teachers within this hierarchy.11 It is worth noting, however, that the sources make no mention of a comparable system of internal school organization during the later period of Byzantine history.

At the secondary level of education, the curriculum included the trivium of grammar, rhetoric and philosophy, and the quadrivium of arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy. The core texts of the trivium,12 apart from Homer (principally the Iliad, with the Odyssey assigned only secondary importance), included what is known as the nine Byzantine tragedies, three by each tragedian (The Persians, Prometheus Bound, and Seven against Thebes by Aeschylus, Ajax, Electra, and Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Hecuba, Orestes, and Phoenician Women by Euripides), three comedies by Aristophanes (Wealth, Clouds, Frogs), passages from Hesiod, Pindar, and Theocritus, Platonic dialogues, Lucian, the Cyropaedia combined with extracts from other works by Xenophon, speeches of Demosthenes and Isocrates, Philostratus, Psalms of David, poems of Gregory of Nazianzos, and other material. The Techne grammatike of Dionysios Thrax remained the primary compendium for the teaching of grammar throughout the Byzantine period. The Canons of Theodosius of Alexandria and the grammar of George Choiroboskos were also popular.13 From the end of the tenth century onwards, a new teaching technique was developed, known as the schedographia (from schedos, meaning ‘draft’, ‘sketch’), by means of which the teacher taught the pupil spelling and grammar rules through a combination of wordplay and riddles. The popularity of schedographia would reach near-extreme proportions among the intellectual community of the era, and the schede examinations, taking place in early summer, assumed an official character almost immediately.14

Rhetoric was viewed as the most important component of the secondary stage of education in Byzantium. The grammatikos’ key teaching tool were exercises, known as progymnasmata, which aimed at training the student to compose short texts on a variety of themes: mythical stories, popular sayings, eulogies for historical or mythological characters, or comparisons between persons and events of opposing qualities (again usually drawn from mythology). Among the most popular forms of progymnasmata was the ethopoiia, i.e. the imitation of a particular character, and the ekphrasis, or description of a work of art, building etc. The key textbook for the subject was that of Hermogenes of Tarsus (On Staseis and On Ideas), although various Byzantine writers produced commentaries on his work. Aphthonios’ Progymnasmata15 as well as Joseph Rhakendytes’ Encyclopedia, providing, among others, a partial synopsis of rhetoric, were also very popular. Mathematics was taught either as an individual subject or in combination with astronomy. The favourite textbook throughout the Byzantine period was written by Nikomachus of Gerasa (first–second century AD), but a series of mathematical epigrams by Metrodorus (sixth century) were also widely used. Geometry as such was not widely developed by Byzantine scholars. Euclid was the basis, although abundant commentaries that had been appended to his works since Antiquity were also used. The boundary between astronomy and astrology was not always clear, but the Byzantines were intensely interested in the subject right down to the fall of Constantinople. Ptolemy’s Mathematical Composition was another text frequently referred to, together with Aratos’ Phainomena and a small group of works by Autolykus, Euclid and Theodosius. A great number of important theoretical works related to the quadrivium was composed, including the Tetrabiblos of George Pachymeres (c. 1242-1310), who paraphrased Diophantus.16

We have no idea whether teachers taught the entire core curriculum, especially the quadrivium. The sources are of little help in this respect, while surviving accounts are incomplete; the correspondence of the Anonymous Teacher is typical in referring to Choiroboskos indirectly and saying very little about the school curriculum, while detailing disagreements and rivalry with Constantinopolitan colleagues in the most caustic of terms, and painting a tragic picture of his financial situation.17 The eleventh-century accounts are no different; we know almost nothing about the schools in which John Mauropous (ca. 1000–1075/81) studied; the same is true of Michael Psellos (1018 – post 1081 ?), whose enkomion to his mother merely lists the different periods in his school career.18 However, some other texts, such as the epitaph written by Nicholas Mesarites (ca. 1163/64-post 1214) in memory of his brother John, and the same author’s description of the Holy Apostles’ school, offer some interesting information concerning students’ life in twelfth century.19 Finally, the well-known autobiography by Gregory of Cyprus (1241-1290), the scholar patriarch, provides an intensely private approach to the schools of the thirteenth century and the material that they taught, initially in Nicaea and later in Constantinople after its recapture by Michael VIII Palaiologos (1261). Gregory was a man of wide-ranging interests who himself taught and authored works for and about his chosen profession; he also contributed to the educational process in the late Byzantine period through the collection and copying of manuscripts, at least some of which were used for teaching purposes.20

Schedographia apart, the school curriculum was not subject to further change. The primary characteristic of the teachers, especially in late Byzantium, was the number of works they produced relating to their vocation (manuals, editions or commentaries on standard texts etc.). Perhaps the best example of this development is the case of Maximos Planudes, a scholar with multiple and wide-ranging interests, among which mathematics and geography took pride of place, along with a deep concern for the fate of books. Apart from copying and prolifically authoring volumes, Planudes was also an expert in binding them.21

‘Higher education’ does exist in Byzantium, although it has few similarities with the structure of present-day universities. It should be pointed out that in Antiquity or Byzantium there were no institutions of higher education in the specific present-day sense of the term. The Empire saw since Roman times to the education of those who would staff the state machine, through a number of largely ‘public’ officials who provided knowledge and enjoyed special privileges, such as tax exemption, purely for reasons of public interest.22 This was achieved through the familiar diffusion of education, ensured by the unhindered operation, at least until the sixth or even the seventh century, of the famous schools of Late Antiquity. The schools in question focused on specific areas of study: Platonic and mostly Neoplatonic philosophy for the school of Athens, rhetoric for that of Antioch, broader classical and philosophical studies for the schools of Alexandria and Aphrodisias. Philosophy was also the focus of the school of Apameia, while Caesarea turned towards Christian and Jewish literature and thought, equipped with an outstanding library as well as with famous scriptoria.23 Finally, Berytus cultivated legal studies, from early on and at a very high level. All those schools remained private, like the schools of the first two levels, although at times they elicited funds either from the state or from their host cities.24

We now have some knowledge about the internal organisation and operation of many of these institutions beyond the most prominent ones of Athens and Alexandria, on which there was always sufficient information.25 I note some examples: prospective students at the school of Antioch, which was dominated by Libanios after AD 354, submitted an application accompanied by the letter(s) of references required by the great rhetorician.26 As almost everywhere in Byzantium, this was a one-man school, although Libanios often employed grammatikoi to undertake the teaching of classical texts, which he deemed of major importance; some of Libanios’ associates either worked in Antioch or were former students of his.27 The operation of the school was assisted by the existence of an association of alumni, whose frequent meetings and close contact with the orator via personal correspondence promoted the image of the institution and of Libanios in particular.28 The law school of Berytus was included by Justinian (527-565), alongside that of Constantinople, in the constitutio Omnem of the year 533, after which it adopted a rigorous five-year curriculum with distinct subjects for each year.29 The legal text was read in Latin, interpreted by the antecessores, also called oikoumenikoi didaskaloi, and then translated into Greek by the students; most of them had difficulties in understanding Latin, and the teachers intervened to resolve them.30 It is worth noting that there are surviving explanatory texts by antecessores as well as student notes. Finally, there is evidence of the existence of student unions which participated in School matters.31

If all this is observed in the periphery, great care is required when it comes to examining the presence of Byzantium, as a state, in the educational practice, with a view to reinforcing the educational image of Constantinople. The city had no history of ‘higher’ schools, and things were likely to remain fluid for a period of time necessary for the city’s ideological determinants to take shape. Yet the interventions of the state did not always have the same starting point. When Libanius arrives in Constantinople, around the 340s, in search of work, he finds ‘sophists’ teaching in the market, having obtained official positions remunerated by the state, according to the old practice;32 indeed, as he notes, one of these sophists taught from the special throne in the exedra.33 Libanios’ involvement in the quarrels between the rival sophists will get the eminent rhetorician into judicial adventures and cost him his stay permit in Constantinople, forcing him to flee rather hastily to Nikomedeia.34 Libanius returns again to Constantinople, most probably between 348 and 355, but this second journey only adds to his unpleasant impressions, despite the honours lavished upon him by the emperor Constantius (337-361).35

Constantinople evolves into the intellectual capital of the Empire in the time of Constantius, after 355.36 A key role in this process was played by Themistios, who was admitted to the Senate, following a letter of imperial recommendation in which the rhetorician’s appointment is explained in detail.37 The invitation to Themistios to teach in Constantinople clearly reflects Constantius’ determination to furnish the new capital with the intellectual prestige it hitherto lacked, despite the presence of sophists.38 The orator, who would teach from the city’s koinon theatron, would soon repay his debt to Constantius. In his well-known speech of the year 357 -on the occasion of the celebrations for the emperor’s vicennalia in Rome-,39 Themistios says that the new role assigned to Constantinople is mainly intellectual; the city’s mission was to preserve the classical past through the Greek language and spread it all over the then known world. In the same speech Themistius applauds the process of copying texts and setting up a library, which was under way in the new capital at the time, again with the emperor’s consent.40

It is obvious that the variously significant presence of Themistius in Constantinople and his influence on the new capital’s educational matters and intellectual life, always from within a safe net of imperial protection, largely paved the way for the founding of the Pandidakterion in Constantinople by emperor Theodosius II (408-450). Inaugurated in 425,41 this was beyond doubt an institutional novelty; it is the first time that Byzantium as a state goes into intellectual matters with the aim of instituting a new educational policy and a new system in parallel to the existing one (purely private schooling, education with discreet state support, etc.). It must be stressed that this unprecedented school had the exclusive purpose of educating officials for the administration of the state.42 It is significant that what Themistius had proposed about promoting the Greek language in 357, is put into practice by this novel institution, which had an almost equal number of teachers for Greek and Latin.43 It is also worth noting at this point that in the fourth century the Empire experienced a rivalry between Greek and Latin, caused exclusively by the switch towards learning Latin on the part of those Greek speakers who were after a career in the state machine.44 Yet, after the death of Theodosius I (395) and the resultant split of the Empire, a new lingual boundary was created and became associated with the corresponding choices of the various social classes. Therefore, the original tendency towards having a single state with two ‘official’ languages in use, Greek and Latin, falls into decline, judging from the Pandidakterion, and is abandoned over time, as is broadly accepted by scholars.45

It is almost certain that the Pandidakterion did not continue after the reign of Herakleius (610-641).46 After that, the state will undertake no further action in the field of ‘higher’ education and, apart from the constitutio Omnem, it will be more than two hundred years before the next state initiative, the establishment of the school of Magnaura (855). The reasons behind this change in state policy go back to the times of Justinian. It is during that time that the earlier state dogma (once again essentially formed by Themistius), whereby Hellenism and Christianity should be treated as two worldviews diametrically opposed yet capable of coexisting,47 gives way to Justinian’s dogma of a single state with a single language — harsh though the reality was for an emperor like Justinian, a fervent lover of Latin — and a single religion with no exceptions. Thus in September 529 Justinian issues the well-known edict by which he bans pagans, heretics and Jews from teaching; it is then that the closure of the school of Athens takes place, although it had been showing signs of advancing decline, despite the presence of Damaskius, who had been teaching philosophy there since the early sixth century.48 As a consequence, research, a key element of education in the earlier centuries, recedes; the antecessores of law schools are replaced by scholastikoi, who are closer to rhetoric than to law theory;49 everything is codified; teachers lose the tax immunity they had enjoyed for centuries, and literary production is almost placed under control.50

It would be a distortion of the reality of those times to claim that, after Justinian’s rigorously enforced institutional decisions on education, Byzantium severed the umbilical cord that linked it to learning and knowledge more generally. On the other hand, there is no doubt that from the seventh century onward our sources almost dry up and it is hard to find information on higher education or, indeed, on any education at all. Nevertheless, the educational level of an admittedly limited élite, in the cities rather than in the countryside, remains high, since the educational process is not disrupted, as one concludes from numerous testimonies, predominantly in hagiographical texts.51 In any case, the scattered information at our disposal confirms that no new institutions emerge. Moreover, the major crisis that hit Byzantium for a long time after the years of Herakleius has a direct impact on education. The huge territorial losses of the time deprive the Empire of the higher schools it still had, such as Alexandria, while natural disasters and epidemics come to accelerate this process: the earthquake of 551 AD destroys the law school of Berytus,52 a later earthquake razes Aphrodisias to the ground,53 and, finally, the plague epidemic of the year 551 may well be behind the closure of the law school of Constantinople.54

The absence of higher schools was filled by the schools of enkyklios paideia, i.e. those run by grammatikoi. This tacit reformation was imposed by the circumstances: namely, the abandonment of cities, the concomitant restructuring of the state, but also (slightly later) Iconoclasm, combined with decisions which had been taken earlier but were still enforced, would produce entirely new conditions in a state which had hitherto operated with different structures. It would be no exaggeration to say that these schools, which almost invariably relied on one main teacher, essentially “rose” in the educational hierarchy and attempted to compensate for the absence of higher education from the country’s intellectual life - and largely succeeded.55 It is worth noting that the internal structure of an organised school of enkyklios paideia was quite similar to that of the old higher schools; at least, this is what transpires from the correspondence of the Anonymous Teacher. In justifying the presence of a school of this level in the capital at the time, Lemerle speaks of a couche sociale urbaine which uses education for social advancement and entry into the higher echelons of the city’s society.56 This felicitous assessment is corroborated by the presence of more schools of a probably similar structure in the capital around the same time.57 On the other hand, it must be noted that shortly after the end of Iconoclasm (843), the Empire had already reintroduced the institution of a higher ‘state’ establishment in the form of the school of Magnaura, founded by caesar Bardas.58 Could it be again the same couche sociale which, liberated from the long years of dogmatic uncertainty under Iconoclasm, takes its first steps towards forming its own élite with the graduates of this new establishment? This is more than likely, especially if Magnaura’s foundation by a high-ranking official of the Empire is seen in conjunction with the appointment of Leo the Mathematician as head of the school; the latter’s iconoclastic past neither diminished his widespread acceptance nor prevented him from taking the reins of this very ambitious institution.59 Our sources speak of the three teachers that joined Leo (who taught philosophy) and had specific teaching duties: Theodore, a pupil of Leo, taught geometry; astronomy was assigned to Theodegios and grammar to the well-known Kometas. The texts note that the generous funding of Magnaura had been secured by Bardas himself.60

After Leo’s death (post 869) all traces of Magnaura are lost and there is no evidence to show that the school continued to operate for any length of time.61 Things seem to change again in the second half of the tenth century, around the time that the school of the Anonymous Teacher was operating in Constantinople. According to Theophanes Continuatus, the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (945-959) decided to reorganise the system of ‘higher’ education by appointing four outstanding teachers: the protospatharios Constantine to teach philosophy, the metropolitan Alexander of Nicaea for rhetoric, the patrician Nikephoros for geometry and the asekretis Gregory for astronomy. With this action, the chronicle emphatically points out, the emperor, who subsidised both teachers and students, as Bardas had done with Magnaura, glorified the Roman State with his wisdom.62

There is no mention in any source of the ‘school’ of Porphyrogennetos continuing after the emperor’s death; it is my personal view that the old practice of abandoning the whole matter was followed in this case as well, since none of the subsequent emperors showed any interest in its operation.

The last attempt at creating a higher education institution in Byzantium came from Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1055) with his very important novel of April 1047; with this text the pre-existing (private) school of Michael Psellos and John Xiphilinus, which had two “orientations”, philosophy and law, was divided into separate schools—a school of philosophy under Psellos and a school of law under Xiphilinus.63 Yet, despite the ample information we have about the establishment and regulations of these institutions,64 as well as about their early years, it is almost certain that they did not continue for long; indeed, the law school does not seem to have survived beyond the year 1054.65

In later years and until the conquest of Constantinople no higher school of the kind described above will appear. Schools of a scope similar to that of the Anonymous Teacher will dominate the scene and, like the school of the Anonymous, they will have close ties to the palace. Other schools to emerge or survive are those with a specific educational focus, such as the philosophy school of George Pachymeres,66 the medical school of John Argyropoulos, financed by the state treasury,67 or the school of George Scholarius, who taught philosophy from his family house in Constantinople between 1430 and 1448.68 As the Empire’s end approaches, a cycle seems to be drawing slowly but steadily to a close in educational affairs, which revert to earlier practices.




1 Guglielmo Cavallo, Lire à Byzance, Paris: Belles lettres, 2006, pp. 11-21.

2 Athanasios Markopoulos, “Education”, in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, ed. Elizabeth Jeffreys, John Haldon and Robin Cormack, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 786.

3 See for instance Arnaldo Momigliano (ed.), The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.

4 Codex Theodosianus 13.3.5=Codex Justinianus 10.53.7

5 The older bibliography on the subject is dominated by Paul Lemerle, Le premier humanisme byzantin, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1971; very useful Paul Speck, Die Kaiserliche Universität von Konstantinopel, Munich: Beck,1973 and Cyril Mango, Byzantium. The Empire of New Rome, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980, pp. 125-148 and passim. Also C. N. Constantinides, Higher Education in Byzantium in the Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries (1204-ca.1310), Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre, 1982; Sophia Mergiali, L’enseignement et les lettrés pendant l’époque des Paléologues (1261-1453), Athens: Hetaireia tōn Philōn tou Laou, 1996; Raffaella Cribiore, The School of Libanius in Late Antique Antioch, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007Cavallo, Lire à Byzance, pp. 23-34; Athanasios Markopoulos, “De la structure de l’école byzantine: le maître, les livres et le processus éducatif”, in Lire et écrire à Byzance, ed. Brigitte Mondrain, Paris: Association des amis du Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2006, pp. 85-96; Markopoulos, “Education”, The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, ed. Elizabeth Jeffreys, John Haldon and Robin Cormack, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 786.

6 Nigel G. Wilson, Scholars of Byzantium, London: Duckworth, 1983, pp. 18-27.

7 Robert Browning, “Literacy in the Byzantine World”, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Oxford: B. Blackwell, vol. 4 (1978), p. 46; Athanasios Markopoulos, Anonymi professoris epistulae, Berlin and New York: W. de Gruyter, 2000, p. 7*.

8 Markopoulos, Anonymi professoris epistulae, no. 69 (pp. 62-63).

9 Markopoulos, Anonymi professoris epistulae, p. 4* f., 16* f.

10 Markopoulos, Anonymi professoris epistulae, pp. 8*-9*.

11 Jacques Noret, Vitae duae antiquae sancti Athanasii Athonitae, Louvain: Brepols, 1982, pp. 13.1-5-14. 1-5 (pp. 8-9).

12 On the curriculum in the school of the grammatikos see Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 100-102, 132; Wilson, Scholars, pp. 18-27; Cribiore, The School of Libanius, pp. 147-155; Guglielmo Cavallo, “Le pratiche di lettura”, La cultura bizantina, ed. Guglielmo Cavallo, Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2004, p. 571.

13 Robert H. Robins, The Byzantine Grammarians. Their Place in History, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1993; Jean Schneider, Les traités orthographiques grecs antiques et byzantins, Turnhout: Brepols, 1999.

14 See Ioannis Vassis, “Graeca sunt, non leguntur. Zu den schedographischen Spielereien des Theodoros Prodromos”, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 1993/1994, vol. 86/87, pp. 1-19; Ioannis D. Polemis, “Philologische und historische Probleme in der schedographischen Sammlung des Codex Marcianus gr. XI, 31”, Byzantion, 1997, vol. 67, pp. 252-263; Niels Gaul, “Ἄνασσα Ἄννα σκόπει-Fürstin Anna bedenke! Beobachtungen zur Schedo- und Lexikographie in der spätbyzantinischen Provinz”, Zwischen Polis, Provinz und Peripherie, edited by Lars Hoffmann and Anuscha Monchizadech, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005, pp. 663-703; Marina Loukaki, Discours annuels en l’honneur du patriarche Georges Xiphilin, Paris: Association des amis du Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2005, pp. 49-50.

15 On the teaching of rhetoric see: George L. Kustas, Studies in Byzantine Rhetoric, Thessaloniki: Patriarchikon Hidryma Paterikōn, 1973, p. 5-26 and passim; H. Hunger, Die hochsprachliche profane Literatur der Byzantiner, München: Beck, 1978, vol. 1, pp. 74-132, 170-188; Cribiore, The School of Libanius, p. 90, 196 and passim; Rhetoric in Byzantium, ed. Elizabeth Jeffreys, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003, passim and recently Elizabeth Jeffreys, “Rhetoric”, The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, pp. 827-837.

16 Anne Tihon, “Numeracy and Science”, The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, pp. 803-819.

17 Markopoulos, Anonymi professoris epistulae, pp. 4*-10*.

18 Anthony Kaldellis, Mothers and Sons, Fathers and Daughters. The Byzantine Family of Michael Psellos, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006, pp. 29-109.

19 August Heisenberg, “Neue Quellen zur Geschichte des lateinischen Kaisertums und der Kirchenunion: I. Der Epitaphios des Nikolaos Mesarites auf seinen Bruder Johannes”, Sitzungsber. d. Bayer. Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosoph.-philol. und historische Klasse, 1922, vol. 5, pp. 3-75; Glanville Downey, “Description of the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople”, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 1957, vol. 47, pp. 855-924.

20 Immaculada Pérez Martin, El patriarca Gregorio de Chipre (ca. 1240-1290) y la transmision de los textos clasicos en Bizancio, Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1996, passim; Sofia Kotzabassi, Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der rhetorischen und hagiographischen Werke des Gregor von Zypern, Wiesbaden: L. Reichert, 1998, passim; Sofia Kotzabassi “Gregorios Kyprios as Reader and Critic”, Realia Byzantina, edited by Sofia Kotzabassi and Giannis Mavromatis, Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2009, pp. 75-88.

21 Constantinides, Higher education in Byzantium, pp. 66-89; Wilson, Scholars, pp. 230-241; Robins, Byzantine grammarians, pp. 201-233; Mergiali, L’enseignement et les lettrés, pp. 34-42; Edmund Fryde, The Early Palaeologan Renaissance (1261—c.1360), Leiden-Boston-Cologne: Brill, 2000, pp. 226-267; Immaculada Pérez Martin, “La ‘escuela de Planudes’”, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 1997, vol. 90, pp. 73-90; Grammatiki Karla, “Maximos Planoudes: Dr. Bowdler in Byzanz? Zensur und Innovation im späten Byzanz”, Classica et Mediaevalia, 2006, vol. 57, pp. 214-238.

22 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 50 f.

23 Anthony Grafton-Megan Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book, Cambridge Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006, p.178 f., 215 f. and passim.

24 See, for instance, Ilsetraut Hadot, Arts libéraux et philosophie dans la pensée antique. Contribution à l’histoire de l’éducation et de la culture dans l’Antiquité, Paris: J. Vrin, 2005, pp. 217-220, 226, 244, 251, 451-453 and passim; also Markopoulos, “Education”, pp. 786, 790.

25 See, for instance, Edward Watts, City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria, 2008, passim.

26 Cribiore, The School of Libanius, p. 84, 111 ff.

27 Cribiore, The School of Libanius, p. 30-37.

28 Cribiore, The School of Libanius, p. 104 f. According to Cribiore (The School of Libanius, p. 97) Libanios had twenty six students in 359/60, which was more than in any other year.

29 Troianos, Peges, p. 99 f., esp. 101 n. 22.

30 Spyros Troianos, E ellenike nomike glossa, Athens-Komotini, 2000, p. 27 f. See also Averil Cameron, “Old and New Rome: Roman Studies in Sixth-Century Constantinople”, Transformations of Late Antiquity. Essays for Peter Brown, ed. Philip Rousseau and Manolis Papoutsakis, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009, p. 15-36 and Athanasios Markopoulos, “Roman Antiquarianism: Aspects of the Roman Past in the Middle Byzantine Period (9th-11th Centuries)”, Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London 21-26 August, 2006, Plenary Papers, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006, vol. 1, pp. 280-281.

31 See always, albeit with caution, Paul Collinet, Histoire de l’École de droit de Beyrouth, Paris: Sirey, 1925, p. 92 f., 103 f.; Lemerle, Premier hu­manisme, pp. 51, 85-87; Troianos, Peges, pp. 100 f., 104-108 with extensive bibliography.

32 Cribiore, The School of Libanius, pp. 60-61.

33 For the exedra see W(illiam) L(oerke), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium 2, New York-Oxford: Oxford University Press 1991, p. 769.

34 Cribiore, The School of Libanius, p. 61.

35 Gilbert Dagron, Naissance d’une capitale. Constantinople et ses institutions de 330 à 451, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1984, p. 222.

36 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 54 f.

37 Gilbert Dagron, “L’Empire Romain en Orient au IVe siècle et les traditions politiques de l’Hellénisme. Le témoignage de Thémistios”, Travaux et Mémoires, 1968, vol. 3, pp. 1-242, esp. 60 f.

38 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 55 f.; Dagron, Naissance d’une capitale, pp. 125-127 and passim.

39 Dagron, “Le témoignage de Thémistios”, p. 205 f.

40 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 56-60; J. Vanderspool, Themistius and the Imperial Court, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995, pp. 96-100; Anthony Kaldellis, Hellenism in Byzantium. The Transformation of Greek Identity and the Reception of the Classical Tradition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 72 f.

41 Codex Theodosianus 14.9.3=Codex Justinianus 11.19.1.

42 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 64; A(lexander) K(azhdan), “University of Constantinople”, Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium 3, New York-Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991 p. 2143.

43 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 63-64; Wilson, Scholars, p. 49 f.

44 See Gilbert Dagron, “Aux origines de la civilisation byzantine: Langue de culture et langue d’État”, Revue Historique, 1969, vol. 241 (1969), pp. 23-56; Bruno Rochette, Le latin dans le monde grec. Recherches sur la diffusion de la langue et des lettres latines dans les provinces hellénophones de l’empire romain, Brussels: Latomus, 1997, p. 130 f.

45 Markopoulos, «Roman Antiquarianism», p. 280-281, with all the relevant bibliography.

46 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 77 f.

47 Dagron, “Le témoignage de Thémistios”, pp. 163-186; also Vanderspool, Themistius and the Imperial Court, pp.138-139.

48 Joëlle Beaucamp, “Le philosophe et le joueur. La date de la “fermeture de l’école d’Athènes”, Travaux et Mémoires, 2002, vol. 14, pp. 21-35; Edward Watts, “Justinian, Malalas, and the End of Athenian Philosophical Teaching in A. D. 529”, Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 94 (2004), p. 169.

49 Troianos, Peges, pp. 147-148 f.

50 Claudia Rapp, “Literary Culture under Justinian”, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian, ed. Michael Maas, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 392 f.

51 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 98-99.

52 Troianos, Peges, p. 147.

53 C(live) F(oss), “Aphrodisias”, Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium 1, New York-Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991 p. 128.

54 Troianos, Peges, p. 101 n. 21.

55 Markopoulos, “De la structure de l’école byzantine”, p. 86.

56 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, p. 256.

57 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 256-257 f.

58 Lemerle, Premier humanisme, pp. 159-160, 165-167 and passim; Speck, Kaiserliche Universität, pp. 10-13 and passim; Alan Cameron, The Greek Anthology from Meleager to Planudes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 308-311; Patricia Varona Codeso, Miguel III (842-867) Construcción histórica y literaria de un reinado, Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifícas, 2009, p. 141 f.

59 On Leo, apart from what is noted by Lemerle and Speck, see P. Magdalino, L’Orthodoxie des astrologues. La science entre le dogme et la divination à Byzance (VIIe-XIVe siècle), Paris: Lethielleux, 2006, pp. 65-68 and passim; Kaldellis, Hellenism in Byzantium, pp. 182-183 and very recently, Niketas Siniossoglou, Radical Platonism in Byzantium. Illumination and Utopia in Gemistos Plethon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 64 f.

60 Genesios 69, 55-70, 67 (Thurn); Theophanes Continuatus 192, 16-23 (Bonn).

61 Speck Kaiserliche Universität, p. 22 f.

62 Theophanes Continuatus 446, 1-22.

63 Jacques Lefort, “Rhétorique et politique. Trois discours de Jean Mauropous en 1047”, Travaux et Mémoires, 1976, vol. 6, pp. 272-284. On the revision of the education system in the time of Monomachos see Wanda Wolska-Conus, “Les écoles de Psellos et de Xiphilin sous Constantin IX Monomaque”, Travaux et Mémoires, 1976, vol. 6, pp. 223-243 and “L’école de droit et l’enseignement du droit à Byzance au XIe siècle: Xiphilin et Psellos”, Travaux et Mémoires, 1979, vol. 7, pp. 1-107; Paul Lemerle, Cinq études sur le XIe siècle byzantin, Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1977, pp. 193-248 and recently Troianos, Peges, pp. 216-217 and n. 7, 236 and n. 68.

64 According to the content of the novel, the nomophylax — the state official in charge of the law school — ought to speak Greek, of course, but must also have a satisfactory knowledge of Latin in order to be able to perform his duties.

65 Troianos, Peges, p. 217.

66 Eleni Pappa, Georgios Pachymeres, Scholien und Glossen zu De partibus animalium des Aristoteles (cod. Vaticanus gr. 261), Einleitung, Text, Indices von Eleni Pappa, editio princeps, Athens 2009 and very recently Pantelis Golitsis, “A Byzantine Philosopher’s Devoutness Toward God: George Pachymeres’ Poetic Epilogue to His Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics”, The Many Faces of Byzantine Philosophy, ed. Börje Bydén and Katerina Ierodiakonou, Athens: Norwegian Institute at Athens, 2012, pp. 109-127, with full bibliography.

67 Brigitte Mondrain, “Jean Argyropoulos professeur à Constantinople et ses auditeurs médecins, d’Andronic Éparque à Démétrios Angelos”, Polypleuros nous. Miscellanea für Peter Schreiner zu seinem 60. Geburtstag, edited by Cordula Scholz and Georgios Makris, Leipzig: Saur, 2000, pp. 223-250.

68 Marie-Hélène Blanchet, Georges-Gennadios Scholarios (vers 1400-vers 1472), Paris: Institut français d’études byzantines, 2008, 478 f.

This article was originally written in English for History of Istanbul and its Turkish translation was published in 2015.