Nicholas Leonicus Thomaeus

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Nicholas Leonicus Thomaeus (Italian: Niccolò Leonico Tomeo, Greek: Νικόλαος Λεόνικος Θωμεύς; 1456–1531) was a Venetian scholar and professor of philosophy at the University of Padua. He was one of the first professors of Greek descent to teach Greek in Padua.[1][2]

Nicholas Leonicus Thomaeus
Leonico Tomeo - Opuscula, s. d. - 118440.jpg
Opuscula by Nicholas L. Thomaeus.
BornFebruary 1, 1456
Died1531 (aged c. 75)
OccupationScholar, professor of philosophy at the University of Padua
Notable work


Thomaeus was born in Venice, Italy on February 1, 1456 to a Greek family from Epirus.[3][4][5][6] While in Florence, he studied Greek philosophy and literature under the tutelage of Demetrios Chalcondyles.[3][6] In 1497, the University of Padua appointed Thomaeus as its first official lecturer on the Greek text of Aristotle.[2][4][6] In 1504, he was elected to succeed Giorgio Valla as chair of Greek in Venice, but because Thomaeus failed to take the post seriously, he was succeeded in 1512 by Marcus Musurus.[6] In 1524, Thomaeus published a collection of philosophical dialogues in Latin, the first of which was titled "Trophonius, sive, De divinatione".[4] He was admired by scholars such as Desiderius Erasmus for his philological capabilities.[5] When the University of Padua was reopened after the wars of the League of Cambrai, Thomaeus taught at the university until his death on March 28, 1531.[6]


  • Aristotelis Parva quae vocant Naturalia, Bernardino Vitali, Venice 1523.
  • Trophonius, sive, De divinatione, 1524.
  • Bembo sive de immortalitate animae, 1524.
  • Opuscula. Ex Venetiis, Bernardino Vitali, Venice 1525.
  • Conversio in Latinum atque explanatio primi libri Aristotelis de partibus animalium… nunc primum ex authoris archetypo in lucem aeditus. G. Farri, Venice 1540.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Runciman 1985, p. 212: "The University of Padua was one of the first to encourage the study of Greek; and Greeks who could lecture on Greek texts were especially welcome. A Chair of Greek was founded there in 1463 and given to the Athenian Demetrius Chalcondylas. One of his successors, Nicholas Laonicus Thomaeus, an Epirot by birth, gave in 1497 a course of lectures on Aristotle, using only the Greek text and a few Alexandrian commentaries."
  2. ^ a b Copenhaver & Schmidt 1992, p. 104: "A few years later, cracks in the fortress of Latin Aristotelianism at Padua encouraged the hiring of Niccolò Leonico Tomeo, an Italian-born Greek, to lecture on the Greek Aristotle."
  3. ^ a b Geanakoplos 1985, p. 358: "Born in Venice of Greek parents (wrongly termed Albania by some scholars), Tomaeus as a youth was sent to study in Florence, where at its stadium he read Greek literature and philosophy with his famed compatriot, Demetrius Chalcondyles."
  4. ^ a b c Ossa-Richardson 2013, p. 90: "Niccolò Leonico Tomeo (1456–1531), born in Venice to Greek parents, taught philosophy at Padua from 1497, and became known as a translator and interpreter of Aristotle. In 1524, he published a collection of philosophical dialogues, written in an elaborate Latin; the first of these is entitled 'Trophonius, sive, De divinatione'."
  5. ^ a b Parkinson 2003, p. 40: "Pomponazzi's Paduan colleague Niccolò Leonico Tomeo (1456–1531) was the first professor to lecture on the Greek text of Aristotle. As a Venetian of Greek parentage, Leonico Tomeo inherited the mantle of Byzantine scholars such as Gaza and Argyropoulos along with that of Italian humanists like Poliziano and Barbaro."
  6. ^ a b c d e Bietenholz & Deutscher 1995, pp. 323–324: "Niccolò LEONICO TOMEO 1 February 1456–28 March 1531 Niccolò Leonico Tomeo (Leonicus Thomaeus) was born in Venice of Epirote Greek parentage and studied Greek in Florence under Demetrios *Chalcondyles. He had apparently been teaching at the University of Padua for some time when he was appointed its first official lecturer on the Greek text of Aristotle in 1497, since the Venetian senate's decree called him 'very popular and acceptable to the students'. Though elected to succeed Giorgio *Valla in the chair of Greek in Venice itself during 1504, he does not appear to have taken the post up seriously and was superseded by *Musurus in 1512. He returned to Padua as soon as the university reopened after the wars of the League of Cambrai, teaching there continuously until his death..."


  • Bietenholz, Peter G.; Deutscher, Thomas Brian (1995) [1985]. Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation (Volumes 1–3). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-80-208577-1.
  • Copenhaver, Brian P.; Schmidt, Charles B. (1992). Renaissance Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-219203-5.
  • Geanakoplos, Deno J. (1985). "The Career of the Little-known Renaissance Greek Scholar Nicholas Leonicus Tomaeus and the Ascendancy of Greco-Byzantine Aristotelianism at Padua University (1497)". Byzantina. 13 (1): 355–372.
  • Ossa-Richardson, Anthony (2013). The Devil's Tabernacle: The Pagan Oracles in Early Modern Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-40-084659-7.
  • Parkinson, G.H.R. (2003) [1993]. Routledge History of Philosophy Volume IV: The Renaissance and Seventeenth Century Rationalism. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-41-505378-5.
  • Runciman, Steven (1985). The Great Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of Independence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31310-4.

Further readingEdit

  • De Bellis, Daniela (1975). "Niccolò Leonico Tomeo interprete di Aristotele naturalista". Physis: Rivista internazionale di storia della scienza (in Italian). 17 (1–2): 71–93.
  • De Bellis, Daniela (1980). "La vita e l'ambiente di Niccolo Leonico Tomeo". Quaderni per la storia dell'Universita di Padova (in Italian). 13: 37–75.
  • De Bellis, Daniela (1981). "I veicoli dell'anima nell'analisi di Niccolo Leonico Tomeo". Annali dell'Istituto di filosofia, Universita di Firenze (in Italian). 3: 1–21.
  • Serena, A. (1903). "Niccolò Leonico Tomeo". Appunti Letterari (in Italian). Rome: 5–32.