Leonicus Thomaeus, Nicolaus
Dialogi … — Venice 15242.400 €
Dialogi, nunc primum in lucem editi. — [Colophon:] Venetiis in aedibus Gregorii de Gregoriis. Mense septembri. M. D. XXIIII.
[Venice, de Gregoriis, Sept. 1524]
4to (204 x 140 mm). a-z4 (lacking blank z4): 90, (1) leaves. Waterspot to lower outer corner. Modern vellum.
Tomeo (1456-1531), born in Venice into a Greek family from Epirus, hence his name sometimes appears as Νικόλαος Λεόνικος Τωμεύς. Studied Greek literature and philosophy in Florence with Demetrius Chalcondyles; lectured in Padua and Venice, of great influence by starting the study of the texts of Aristotle in the original Greek; in 1497 the Venetian Senate appointed T. as lecturer of Aristotelian philosophy in „the Greek text“ at Padua University, where he had a number of English students such as Reginald Pole – to whom the Dialogi is dedicated, Thomas Linacre, Cuthbert Tunstall and and others. Philosophical influences are Ficino’s works and neo-platonism in general.
A summary of Tomeo‘ career by D. A. Geanakoplos:
„In at least three respects, then, Tomaeus’s career had genuine significance for Italian Renaissance thought: besides of course influencing scores of Italian humanists in almost all aspects of Greek learning, he in effect brought a final end in Italy to the Aristotle-Plato controversy among the Greeks (though certainly not among the Latins) by seeking to reconcile their philosophies. Through his Greek exegesis of Aristotelian philosophy, which drew heavily on the ancient Greek and Byzantine commentators, he brought about, if not the complete victory, at least the ascendancy of the ‚Byzantine‘ prespective over Averroist philosophy at Padua. Italy’s leading medical school. Finally, through his influence on Pomponazzi, who in turn influenced the precursors of Galileo, it may be affirmed that the career of the polymath Tomaeus helped to pave the way for the emergence of modern science in the work of Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci.“ (The Career of the Little-Known Renaissance Greek Scholar Nicolaus Leonicus Tomaeus and the Ascendancy of Greco-Byzantine Aristotelianism at Padua University, in: D. J. Geanakoplos, Constantinople and the West, Madison 1989, pp. 114-129).
This is from a conference of the Balkan Physical Union held in 2010:
„In the middle of XV century, in European Renaissance, it was necessary to study the Aristotle in original Greek, because translations from Arab in Latin had caused considerable alterations in the meaning of original texts. This task in the beginning was trusted to Leonico Tomeo, which, not only opened the way for the studying of the Aristotle in original, but himself made important interpretations about philosophic and social problems and gave his arguments about concepts of natural sciences, as for motion, atoms etc. He translated some works of Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy etc, from the Greek to Latin. The work of Tomeo gave revolutionary results and prepared the way for the scientific method of Galileo, which from Padua, where worked and lived Tomeo and later, Galileo, propagates in all European universities.“
The Dialogi is Tomeo’s major philosophical work. Subsequent editions were published in Paris 1530 (de Colines), and Lyon 1532 and 1542 (Gryphius).
The Dialogi are „a collection of of dialogues of Ciceronian-Platonic form on several subjetcs … Their guiding thread is Tomeo’s effort to prove that Plato and Aristotle agree about the major philosophical matters … Some dialogues deal with the soul and reveal Tomeo’s closeness to the Neoplatonic positions developed in Florence, above all, those by Marislio Ficino: in Bembus, sive de animorum immortalitate, for example he used the Platonic Phaedrus’s arguments to show that Plato’s and Aristotle’s seeming contradiction about the soul’s immortality was just terminological. In Alverotus, sive de tribus animorum vehiculis, he discussed the afterlife, vehicles of the soul, the possibility to expiate sins, and the existence of fate. Trophonius, sive de divinatione and Sadoletus, sive de precibus are about religious matters. In the first one, the last ancient oracle, visited and described by Pausanias, is the pretext to talk about divination, which is thought to be an expression of natural religiousness, because the divine issues directly from earth disguised as the spirit. The second one compared anthropomorphic paganism with Christian providence and discussed how human prays coud influenc divine will. Interesting themes touched on the dialogues are also: the naturalness of language; the conflict with contemporary philosophers who are similar to the Sophists and sell their knowledge; the logical relation of a relative term and ist correlative; and the role of grammarians.“ (Eleonara Gamba, in: Enc. of Renaiss. Philos. III 1901)
Legrand, Bibl. Hellénique III no. 321; Adams L-507; ustc 838042; Edit16 52837. See also Bietenholz II 323f.