Bessarion (Βησσαρίων; 2 January 1403 – 18 November 1472) was a Byzantine Greek Renaissance humanist, theologian, Catholic cardinal and one of the famed Greek scholars who contributed to the so-called great revival of letters in the 15th century.
He was educated by Gemistus Pletho in Neoplatonic philosophy and later served as the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He eventually was named a cardinal and was twice considered for the papacy.
His baptismal name was Basil (Greek: Βασίλειος, Basileios or Basilios). The name Bessarion he took when entering the monastery. He has been mistakenly known also as Johannes Bessarion (Giovanni Bessarione) due to an erroneous interpretation of Gregory III Mammas.
Bessarion was born in Trebizond, the Black Sea port in northeastern Anatolia that was the heart of Pontic Greek culture and civilization during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The year of his birth has been given as 1389, 1395 or 1403.