The time of the Macedonian dynasty, marked by stirring activity in the field of external and internal affairs, was also a period of intense development in the sphere of learning, literature, education, and art. This epoch witnessed the clearest exhibition of the characteristic traits of Byzantine learning, expressed in the progress of a closer union between secular and theological elements or the reconciliation of the ancient pagan wisdom with the new ideas of Christianity in the development of universal and encyclopedic knowledge, and finally, in the lack of original and creative genius. During this period the higher school of Constantinople was once more the center of education, learning, and literature, about which the best cultural forces of the Empire were gathered.
Emperor Leo VI the Wise, a pupil of Photius, though not endowed with great literary genius, wrote several sermons, church hymns, and other works. His greatest service was expressed in his efforts to uphold the intellectual atmosphere created by Photius, so that, in the words of one historian, he made for himself a place of honor in the history of Byzantine education in general, and of its ecclesiastical education in particular. Leo favored and protected all men of learning and letters; in his time the imperial palace was sometimes transformed into a new academy and lyceum.
The outstanding figure in the cultural movement of the tenth century was Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who did much for the intellectual progress of Byzantium, not only by protecting education, but also by contributing many original writings. Constantine left all government affairs to Romanus Lecapenus, and devoted the greater part of his time to the field which interested him. He succeeded in becoming the heart of an intense literary and scholarly movement to which he contributed greatly by active participation. He wrote much, induced others to write, and attempted to raise the education of his people to a higher level. His name is closely connected with the erection of many magnificent buildings; he was passionately interested in art and music, and spent large sums of money on the compilation of anthologies from ancient writers.
A History of the Byzantine Empire - Table of Contents
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