Neophytos Doukas
Neophytos Doukas

Neophytos Doukas or Dukas (Greek: Νεόφυτος Δούκας; 1760, Ano Soudena, Ottoman Empire – 1845, northwestern Greece) was a Greek priest and scholar, author of many books and translations from ancient Greek works, and one of the most important personalities of the modern Greek Enlightenment (Diafotismos) during the Ottoman occupation of Greece. His contributions to Greek education have been neglected because of the traditional ideas he advocated concerning the Greek language question (being an "archaist", supported the use of classical Greek over Katharevousa [puristic Greek] and Dimotiki[citation needed]).


Doukas was born in the village of Ano Soudena, in the mountainous Zagori region of Epirus, northwestern Greece. As a child he lived inside a monastic community and became a priest when he reached adulthood. He started his studies in Ioannina and Metsovo and then continued in Bucharest (Wallachia). His major interests were ancient Greek philosophy and literature as well as religious Greek and Latin documents.

At 1803 he moved to Vienna and became one of the most significant personalities of the Greek community there, in which he lived for 12 years. His career as a teacher started in 1812 in Bucharest, when he became director of the Eponym School (Greek: Επώνυμη Σχολή). His teaching methods were so popular that the number of his students increased rapidly in a 6 months period: from 60 to 400. His work was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1820 he became a member of the Filiki Eteria organization.

With the creation of the Greek independent state, he returned to Greece and undertook the administration of the orphanage of Egina, after being invited to do so by Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias. He made a donation of 11,000 books to the orphanage's library. In the same period, he became director of Rizarios Seminary (a religious institution of higher education) in Athens, but he died at the age of 85, before he could take up the duties of this position.


His significant educational and writing activity remained mostly unknown (until the late 20th century), mainly because of his conservative ideas and his promotion and use of the classical Greek language in education.[1] He was accused by Adamantios Korais of being an "anti-philosopher". His contributions to Greek bibliography and to the Greek Enlightenment were, however, crucial.

Among many other works (over 70 books), he edited many ancient Greek authors, including Aristophanes, the Bibliotheca, Homer, Pindar, Euripides and Sophocles.



Further reading