1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coraës, Adamantios

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CORAËS (Koraïs), ADAMANTIOS [in French, Diamant Coray] (1748–1833), Greek scholar and patriot, was born at Smyrna, the son of a merchant. As a schoolboy he distinguished himself in the study of ancient Greek, but from 1772 to 1779 he was occupied with the management of his father’s business affairs in Amsterdam. In 1782, on the collapse of his father’s business, he went to Montpellier, where for six years he studied medicine, supporting himself by translating German and English medical works into French. He then settled in Paris, where he lived until his death on the 10th of April 1833. Inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, he devoted himself to furthering the cause of Greek independence both among the Greeks themselves and by awakening the interest of the chief European Powers against the Turkish rule. His great object was to rouse the enthusiasm of the Greeks for the idea that they were the true descendants of the ancient Hellenes by teaching them to regard as their own inheritance the great works of antiquity. He sought to purify the ordinary written language by eliminating the more obvious barbarisms, and by enriching it with classical words and others invented in strict accordance with classical tradition (see further Greek Language: modern). Under his influence, though the common patois was practically untouched, the language of literature and intellectual intercourse was made to approximate to the pure Attic of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. His chief works are his editions of Greek authors contained in his Ἑλληνικὴ Βιβλιοθήκη and his Πάρεργα; his editions of the Characters of Theophrastus, of the De aëre, aquis, et locis of Hippocrates, and of the Aethiopica of Heliodorus, elaborately annotated.

His literary remains have been edited by Mamoukas and Damalas (1881–1887); collections of letters written from Paris at the time of the French Revolution have been published (in English, by P. Ralli, 1898; in French, by the Marquis de Queux de Saint-Hilaire, 1880). His autobiography appeared at Paris (1829; Athens, 1891), and his life has been written by D. Thereianos (1889–1890); see also A. R. Rhangabé, Histoire littéraire de la Grèce moderne (1877).