Lascaris, Constantine

, a learned Greek, descended from the imperial family of that name, was born at Constantinople, but became a refugee when it was taken, by the Turks in 1454, and went to Italy, where he was most amicably received by duke Francis Sforza of Milan, who placed his own daughter, a child of ten years of age, under the cure of Lascaris for instruction in the Greek language, and it is said to have been for her use he composed his Greek grammar. From Milan he went to Rome, about 1463, or perhaps later, and from, thence, at the invitation of king Ferdinand, to Naples, where he opened a public school for Greek and rhetoric. Having spent some years in this employment, he was desirous of repose, and embarked with the intention of settling at a town of Greece; but having touched at Messina, he was urged by such advantageous oilers to make it his residence, that he complied, and passed there the remainder of his days. Here he received the honour of citizenship, which he merited | by his virtues as well as his learning, and by the influx of scholars which his reputation drew thither. He lived to a very advanced age, and is supposed to have died about the end of the fifteenth century. He bequeathed his library to the city of Messina. His Greek grammar was printed at Milan in 1476, reprinted in 1480, and was, according to Zeno, “prima Graeco-Latina praelorum foetura,” the first Greek and Latin book that issued from the Italian press. A better edition of it was given in 1495, by Aldus, from a copy corrected by the author, and with which the printer was furnished by Bembo and Gabrielli. This was the first essay of the Aldine press. Bembo and Gabrielli had been the scholars of Lascaris, although in his old age, as they did not set out for Messina until 1493. A copy of this Greek grammar of the first edition is now of immense value. Erasmus considered it as the best Greek grammar then extant, excepting that of Theodore Gaza. Lascaris was author likewise of two tracts on the Sicilian and Calabrian Greek writers, and some other pieces, which remain in manuscript. 1


Hodius do Græcis illustribus.—Saxii Onomasticon. Biblioteca Specerina, vol III.—Brunet’s Manuel du Libraire.