A Gallicized intellectual of the Greek Enlightenment, Adamantios Koraís was born in Smyrna, the city with the largest Greek population in Anatolia (Asia Minor), where he was introduced to classical literature by a Dutch Protestant pastor. From 1771 to 1778 he worked as a merchant in Amsterdam; from 1782 to 1786 he studied medicine at Montpellier, France; then he lived in Paris as a medical doctor and scholar from 1788 until his death in 1833. He experienced the French Revolution and the campaigns of Napoleon, whom he censured as a despot. This was a little ungrateful, as Napoleon had awarded him a 3,000-franc pension for his translation of the geographer Strabo.
In 1805 a wealthy Greek merchant and philanthropist living in Europe, Michael Zosimas, agreed to publish (Paris, 1807-1826) the Hellinikì Vivliothíki, a series of classical texts with extensive prefaces drafted by Koraís himself, presenting classical Greek texts to a modern Greek readership. These were to be distributed by Zosimas and circulated all over Europe and Greek Asia Minor, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Greek-speaking communities of Romania and Russia. Several supplementary books, Hellinikìs Vivliothíkis Párerga, were also published in Paris (1809-1827).
Perhaps influenced by the English historian Edward Gibbon, Koraís developed an aversion to the Church and the Middle Ages. He knew and quoted from the French translation (Paris, 1819) of Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788). The holdings in his personal library show a predilection for the Enlightenment and for scientific authors, as well as for James Fenimore Cooper, Pierre Bayle, David Hume, Marie Josephe de Lafayette, Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, Claude Fleury, and others.
In 1798 a Greek in Paris published an anticlerical pamphlet, Adelphikì di-