In Georgios Steiris, George Arabatzis & Sotiris Mitralexis (eds.), The Problem of Modern Greek Identity: From the Ecumene to the Nation-State. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 201-214 (2016)

Athanasia Theodoropoulou
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Nine years before the fall of Constantinople, in 1444, cardinal Bessarion in his third and last letter addressed to Constantine Palaeologus, Despot of Mystra, expressed his deep concern about the economic, political, cultural, social and moral crisis, maintaining that the multidimensional crisis would inevitably lead to Byzantium’s decline. Bessarion stresses that the aristocracy’s biased policy, the burdensome taxation, the low level of business activity, the complete lack of technological advancements and the deficient education system not only shaped the Peloponnesian state but also transformed the once brave, conscientious and studious Greeks into a cowardly, indolent and ignorant people. Realizing that the constitution of Greek society and the behavior of its citizens are impediments to modernization and to cultural progress, Bessarion proposes a series of reforms based on a revival of Ancient Greek culture and on technological advances of West that would lead to a well-governed, self-sufficient and independent Greek state. On 23 April 2010, 566 years after Bessarion’s letter, the Greek government requested financial assistance from the European Support Mechanism in order to avert the probability of default in Greece. The fiscal deficit, the swelling sovereign debt and the global financial recession shape Greece in crisis. The aim of this paper is to give an interpretative presentation of Bessarion’s letter with reference to modern Greece; to analyze the causes of the Byzantine Empire’s decline and the recommended reforms in comparison to the causes of the financial crisis in Greece and the implementation of austerity measures. I will prove that nowadays modern Greeks face the same problems with the Greeks of Peloponnese such as political corruption, administrative incompetence, excessive taxation, economic impoverishment, class inequality, unemployment, reduced business activity and inability to exploit natural resources. In this sense, I will show that the identity crisis of modern Hellenism was first cultivated and formed gradually from the Renaissance to modern Greece.
Keywords Cardinal Bessarion  Political Philosophy  Modern Greek Identity  Byzantium
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,968
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Byzantine Philosophers of the 15th Century on Identity and Otherness.Georgios Steiris - 2016 - In Georgios Steiris, Sotiris Mitralexis & George Arabatzis (eds.), The Problem of Modern Greek Identity: from the Εcumene to the Nation-State. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 173-199.
Social Quality Indicators in Times of Crisis: The Case of Greece.Konstantinos G. Kougias - 2014 - International Journal of Social Quality 4 (2):46-68.
Luc Deitz and John Monfasani.Cardinal Bessarion - 1997 - In Jill Kraye (ed.), Cambridge Translations of Renaissance Philosophical Texts. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1--133.
Plato Today.R. H. S. Crossman - 1937 - Routledge.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #524,776 of 2,433,281 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #462,722 of 2,433,281 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes