Adamantios Korais

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Adamantios Korais (Greek: Αδαμάντιος Κοραής) (Born: April 27, 1748 - Died: April 6, 1833) was a Greek Scholar known as the "Teacher of the Nation". He was born in Smyrna, in 1748, the son of Ioannis Korais - a wealthy merchant from the island of Chios involved in the rug trade - and Thomasina Rysios, the daughter of the rich merchant Adamantios Rysios, a Smyrna woman.

Korais commenced his studies in the Evangelical school of Smyrna and complemented his studies by reading books he inherited from his rich grandfather Adamantios Rysios.

His father Ioannis, did not envisage his son as a scholar. In 1771, he sent him to Amsterdam to take control of the local branch of his business. The cultural freedom in Amsterdam increased Korais' appetite for knowledge and he neglected the business in order to devote himself to the Arts and Culture. Using numerous private teachers, he studied the Dutch, Hebrew, Spanish and French languages as well as Geometry, fencing and guitar. He also frequently visited the opera.

The assistant manager of the business was very worried and constantly in touch with his parents. It did not take long for the business to close and in 1778, he was forced to return to Smyrna. Four years later (1782), Korais travelled to France to study Medicine in University of Montpellier. After the death of both parents, he relied heavily upon the support of his relatives and friends to survive as his only income was from translations of German and English medical documents into French. He also translated some documents for the Metropolitan of Moscow Plato into Greek.

In 1788, Korais graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in Medicine and settled in Paris.

A classical scholar, Korais was repelled by the Byzantine influence in Greek society and was a fierce critic of the ignorance of the clergy and their subservience to the Ottoman Empire, although Korais admitted that it was the Orthodox Church that preserved the national identity of Greeks.

Korais' main preoccupation was with education and he encouraged wealthy Greeks to open new libraries and schools throughout Greece. Korais believed that education would not only ensure the achievement of independence but also the establishment of a proper constitution for the future liberated Greek state.

Korais assisted in creating a purified form of the Greek language - the Katharevousa - largely based on ancient Greek and devoid of foreign influence.

Korais died in Paris in 1833. His remains were taken to Athens in 1877 and reinterred in the A' Athens Cemetery. His private library of 3,500 volumes was donated to the Greek state.