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George Akropolites

eorge Akropolites' life covers the greatest part of the 13th century. He was born in Constantinople in 1217 of wealthy parents who sent him to Nicaea to continue his studies, after he had finished school at the age of sixteen. The emperor admitted Akropolites to his court and entrusted his education to the scholars Theodore Hexapterygos and Nikephoros Blemmydes. In time he won the confidence of the emperor John III Vatatzes who made him his secretary and entrusted him with the role of tutor to his son and heir to the throne of Nicaea, Theodore II Doukas Laskaris. Later, when Theodore became emperor (1254-58), he conferred upon his tutor the title of megas logothetes and made him commander-in-chief of all the military forces in Europe. In 1260 the emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos sent Akropolites as ambassador to the court of the Bulgarian tsar. Akropolites continued to offer Michael his services, as a diplomatic envoy and an academic teacher, even after the fall of Constantinople in 1261. These offices led him to Rome and Lyons, where, in 1274, he signed the Union of the Churches on Michael's behalf. He died in 1282, probably in the month of August, after a journey to the court of the emperor John II of Trebizond. He left behind him a noteworthy historical work, entitled Chronike Syngraphe, which made him famous as a historian. Two less known theological works of his, entitled On the procession of the Holy Spirit and Against the Latins, testify to the thoroughness of his theological and philosophical schooling. He believed that theology and philosophy should not be confused, as was usually the case in Byzantium, because the former is concerned with teaching, whereas the latter is a science. He admired Aristotle for his Logic and Physics, while he recognised the superiority of Plato's theological thought. He affirmed, in fact, that the works of Plato and those of the neoplatonic philosophers helped him understand difficult passages in the writings of the Fathers of the Church.

See also: Union of the Churches