chapter  5
Kostis Smyrlis Financial crisis and the limits of taxation under Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1321)
Pages 12

Pletho's reputation for subversion is based on his paganism, explicated in his Book of Laws, only excerpts of which have survived: it was posthumously burnt at the order of George Gennadios Scholarios, the first patriarch of Constantinople after its conquest by the Ottomans in 1453 and a major opponent of Pletho during much of the latter's lifetime. George attacked the philosophical interpretation of Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy by Bessarion, Pletho's student and upholder of his memory in Italy. Posterity's judgement on Pletho's paganism was mixed: some translators and editors of his work since the sixteenth century have defended his adherence to Christianity, while others were more sceptical. Antique statuary was instrumental in performing magic in both the Byzantine and the Islamic worlds. The translator's condemnation of Pletho's philosophy is not a form of dissimulation in the Straussian sense but a disagreement and opposition with Sufism and its philosophy that was clearly an important force in fifteenth-century Ottoman society.