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Benjamin of Lesbos (Greek: Βενιαμίν Λέσβιος; alternatively transliterated as Veniamin of Lesvos or Lesvios; 1759-1824) was a Greek monk, scholar, and politician who was a significant figure in the Modern Greek Enlightenment.[1]


Benjamin of Lesbos was born on the island of Lesbos in the town of Plomari. At the age of 17 he travelled to Mount Athos and there became a monk at Pantokratoros Monastery.[2] In 1812 he was invited to direct the Patriarchal School in Constantinople, but declined this offer and instead settled in his native Lesbos to establish a school there. Later, in 1820, he taught at the Evangelical School of Smyrna.[1] He also was associated with a school in nearby Ayvalık, where he was the principal instructor and earned the admiration of Lord Byron, who praised Benjamin as "a man of talent" and "a free-thinker".[3] He died in 1824 in Nafplio, during the Greek War of Independence.
Philosophical thought

Benjamin of Lesbos was exposed to West European philosophical theories in his studies and travels, and was notably influenced by John Locke, especially in the area of epistemology. He played an intellectual role in Greek culture and has been described as a "remarkable philosopher" in his own right.[4]

Benjamin of Lesbos is commemorated in the Festival of Benjamin, held annually in late June in Plomari.[5]

Efstratios Theodosiou; V.N. Manimanis; M.S. Dimitrijevic. "The theory of Pantachekineton of Benjamin Lesvios".
"Benjamin of Lesbos [Ο Βεανιαμίν Ο Λέσβιος]". Attic Plomari Association [Σύνδεσμος Πλωμαριτών Αττικής] (in Greek). Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
Beaton, Roderick; Kenyon Jones, Christine, eds. (2017). Byron: The Poetry of Politics and the Politics of Poetry. Routledge. p. 234. ISBN 9781472459633.
Paschalis Kitromilides (1994). Rogers, G. A. J. (ed.). Locke's Philosophy: Content and Context. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. p. 227. ISBN 0198240767.

Bonnheim, Julia, ed. (2006). Let's Go Greece (8th ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 514. ISBN 0312348851. Retrieved 12 January 2020.

This article incorporates text translated from the corresponding Greek, French, and Russian Wikipedia articles.

Further reading

Cavarnos, Constantine (1987). Modern Greek philosophers on the human soul: selections from the writings of seven representative thinkers of modern Greece: Benjamin of Lesvos, Vrailas-Armenis, Skaltsounis, St. Nectarios, Louvaris, Kontoglou, and Theodorakopoulos (2nd ed.). Belmont, Massachusetts, USA: Institute For Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. ISBN 0914744771. OCLC 15721856.
Argyropoulos, Roxane (2003). Bενιαμίν Λέσβιος και η ευρωπαϊκή σκέψη του δεκάτου ογδόου αιώνα [Benjamin of Lesbos and European Thought in the 18th Century] (in Greek) (2nd ed.). Athens: Centre for Modern Greek Studies. ISBN 9607916271.


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