Marsilio Ficino —99 combined elements drawn from different philosophical, religious, and literary traditions to become one of the most famous philosophers of the Italian Renaissance.
Ficino was born on 19 October,in Figline Valdarno, a small community southeast of Florence, to his mother Alexandra the daughter of a Florentine citizen and her husband, Dietifeci Ficino. The middle of the s Diogene e il topo latino dating Ficino begin a practice that continued throughout his life: Ficino notes that some Peripatetics have held that Aristotle believed the human soul would die along with the body, though significantly he avoids attributing this position to Aristotle himself.
Another way to put this is that for Ficino, imitative exegesis represented a way to philosophize. Instead, he saw himself as one member of a venerable sequence of interpreters who added to a store of wisdom that God allowed progressively to unfold. The s saw Ficino gain an audience in Florence. While extant sources do not permit us to understand the Platonic Academy as a formal school or advanced institution with regular meetings, there are some facts that can be documented: There is also a letter from Ficino to Cosimo from September ofin which Ficino writes: These two sources allow the inference that, while the specific gift of property did not occur untilFicino and his cohort met at least once on Medici property in the hills outside Florence.
There is another document, again fromwhich shows that he received a house in the city of Florence as a gift from Cosimo, which was then rented out, so that Ficino received the income from the rent Gentile, Niccoli, and Viti— Illustrative on a number of levels is a letter of written to a German friend and correspondent, Martin Prenninger in Ficino— There, Ficino discusses his network of friends and acquaintances.
I have never Diogene e il topo latino dating anyone a friend unless I also determined that he had joined literary learning together with uprightness of character.
He continues, in that same letter, to separate his friends into three categories. Ficino also taught occasionally in a more formal sense. He taught very briefly at the Florentine studioor university see Davies He also instructed youths at the Camaldolese convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and he probably taught privately at various times to supplement his income.
But what exactly he taught remains uncertain even as what exactly Plato taught within the confines of the Academy is uncertain. One compelling source, the Declamationes of the little-known humanist Benedetto Colucci, represents Ficino presiding in over a group of five well-born youths see Colucci Here Ficino seems to have been teaching rhetoric and the art of declamation.
Like almost all late ancient Platonists and high medieval thinkers, Ficino believed, for example, that one should start with Aristotle, just he himself had done. In the letter mentioned above, he listed, as an auditoror student, a thinker named Francesco Cattani da Diacceto, whom Ficino eventually considered his successor. And in a letter written to that same Diacceto in JulyFicino stated a classic position for which see Gerson: The s saw him come into his own as a translator; these years also represent the beginnings of his work as a commentator and exegete.
This process of intense reading and commenting set the stage for Ficino to write one of his most interesting works. Between and he composed his Theologia platonica Platonic Theologywhich awaited print publication Diogene e il topo latino dating He feared that his contemporaries were losing their way, and he believed that the right sort of approach would help them find it.
How to paint this portrait as fully
Diogene e il topo latino dating possible was the key question.
Ficino considered the Platonic corpus a treasury of wisdom, filled with different subject matters but always, when rightly interpreted, leading one to the divine. Among these aspects one can include: His Platonic TheologyFicino hoped, would contain genres of argumentation and styles of language that, together, would represent a treasury of wisdom, perfectly apt for different varieties of his contemporaries who might have wavered in their faith.
For those inclined to the newly fashionable classicizing Latinity, Ficino includes in the Platonic Theology countless quotations from Latin classics; for those of an Aristotelian bent, Ficino has natural philosophical arguments for one example see Allen and Hankins eds.
The Platonic Theology was a work of synthesis, but not of systematic philosophy, as thinkers from the eighteenth century on would have understood that latter term. The Platonic Theology represented in some ways a turning point for Ficino: As he was completing the Platonic Theologyhe wrote his On
Diogene e il topo latino dating Christian Religiona treatise that, in its lapidary beginning, synthesized much of his life-long commitment to the centrality of religion to human experience.
Ficino produced both a vernacular and a Latin version of this work; the vernacular version was published inwhereas the Latin came out ineven as Ficino seems to have published two later, different redactions Kristeller1: He continued work on commentaries, and he wrote his work on the rapture of St. This number encompassed all those works contained in the nine tetralogies some now considered spuriousan arrangement attributed by Diogenes Laertius Diog.
All of these translations were complete in draft form by —69 Hankins— After the completion of the Platonic TheologyFicino returned to them, writing commentaries along the way, and in Octoberthe work was printed. This year was almost certainly chosen for astrological reasons, since it appeared to contemporary astrologers to portend great matters, occurring as it did during a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn Hankins As mentioned, Ficino lived in an era when interpretive exegesis represented a form of philosophical composition.
On the other hand, these works were filled with
Diogene e il topo latino dating ambiguity and passages which, if not read carefully, could prove dangerous if not overtly heretical. InFicino published a work, Three Books on Life De vita libri tresthat had a substantial printing history in early modern Europe, even as its contents contributed to his later reputation as a less-than-serious philosopher see Kaske and Clark; and Robichaud a.
The manuscript tradition prior to its printing tells the story of a work composed of three separate books: Toward that end, it counseled various recipes, dietary regimes, and personal habits, all to be undertaken under the umbrella of what were considered proper astrological conditions. Ficino tells to take one typical example of certain stars that possess discrete powers Ficino in Kaske and Clark, 3.
Channeling powers that the divine had implanted in nature for humankind to use could indeed seem legitimate. Yet Ficino came close enough to theological unacceptability that the publication of Three Books on Life signaled Diogene e il topo latino dating only time, seemingly, that his work drew negative attention from Church authorities.
What precisely happened is vague, but a substantial correspondence after May,in which Ficino asked certain friends of his at the court of Pope Innocent VIII for help, suggests that certain people had called his orthodoxy into question Kristeller4: By August of that year, Ficino was assured that his reputation was favorable at the Papal Court.
Ficino considered himself a Platonist, but a Platonist in a very specific mold: For Ficino, as for the late ancient Platonists he admired, Hermes was an ancient Egyptian, roughly contemporary with Moses.
In the early seventeenth century, Isaac Casaubon would prove Diogene e il topo latino dating the writings attributed to Hermes could not have been as ancient as they were believed to be they are considered now to be products of late antiquity.
Ficino described the ancient theology in this fashion in his Preface to his Latin translation of the Hermetic Corpusdiscussing Hermes as first in this chain of sages Ficino, cit. After the yearFicino changed the order and placed Zoroaster first, linking him to the Magi who visited the infant Christ Allen1— Although it would have seemed artificial to Ficino to separate certain areas of philosophizing from each other, nevertheless, it is useful, as a heuristic device, to consider subjects such as ontology separately see Allen Plotinus had expressed himself variously, but it is not inaccurate to say that, for him, there had been four general levels to the cosmos, beginning with The One to hen.
It stood at the summit of the ontological hierarchy and was so great, indeed, that it was outside of Being itself. Thinking, it overflowed into the next ontological level, Mind, which in succession overflowed into Soul, which overflowed into a fourth realm that included Nature, Matter, and Sensation.
Just as Plotinus varied his descriptions of these ontological levels throughout the Enneadsso too did Ficino Allen Similarly, he shared much with Plotinus when it came to psychology, the study of the soul. He entitled the first chapter of his Platonic Theology accordingly: If Ficino shared this notion with Plotinus, and indeed with all Platonists, he differed concerning the issue of the transmigration of souls.
Since this notion was heretical to Christian ears both because it precluded the ex nihilo creation of each and every human soul and because God, having created man in His own image, could not allow a human soul eventually to be reincarnated as an animalFicino had to combat it.
In his view, Plato himself must be read more sensitively, so that in different contexts Ficino spoke of this heretical notion as prefiguring bodily resurrection, as allusions to the return of the soul to the One, or failing that as a hateful doctrine that must be attributed, not to Plato, but to Pythagoras Hankins—59; Celenza—99; Allen and Hankins —06, For Ficino, love linked all things together; and love flowed first from God into all existing things, which consequently shared the property of similarity, outwardly different as they might be on the surface.
For this is the definition of love among all philosophers. For Ficino, in classic Platonic fashion, it is the manner in which one enjoys beauty which differentiates true from false love.
As we have seen, Ficino taught only once, and very briefly, at the Florentine studio Davies ; and there would be no chair in any European university devoted to the teaching of Plato until later in the sixteenth century.
This absence of Plato and Platonism from university faculties is understandable: And the medieval university curriculum reflected a similar propensity to begin with Aristotelian texts in the arts faculties, before a having graduated with a bachelor of arts degree baccalaureus artiumwould move on to the higher faculties of "Diogene e il topo latino dating," law, or theology. This intense focus on Aristotelian texts, especially logic, was useful, providing medieval university students with a common vocabulary and similar approaches to argumentation.
For some, earlier in the fifteenth century, it was the seemingly inelegant Latin of scholastic philosophers that was unappealing. But for Ficino, the problems had less to do with language and more to do with morality.
Character needed to be developed before dialectic was taught. In Philebumed. Ficino, in Allen; Hankins The natural prideful ignorance of youth, when fueled by a capacity to win arguments, could be heightened and led into undesirable directions by the unrestrained power of dialectic.
Ficino died inleaving a significant cultural legacy. Textually, he provided western European thinkers with authoritative versions of Plato, Plotinus, and other Platonizing thinkers. Adherents believed that there was a discernible core of truth in many philosophies seen as different on the surface.
The late sixteenth century saw the teaching of Platonism at the University of Ferrara, with the Croatian-born Francesco Patrizi — holding the chair from —92, moving thence to teach Platonic thought at the University of Rome from until his death. Citizens of this new philosophical republic had little
Diogene e il topo latino dating for semi-mythical ancient sages, hidden natural sympathies, and the interpretive style of philosophizing concerned more with styles of life and less with systematic theories at which Ficino so excelled.
Yet his thought permeated many aspects of western intellectual life. Making Plato and Platonism respectable subjects of research and philosophical reflection; embracing a broad "Diogene e il topo latino dating" of human religious history; and focusing overtly, through practice as well as theory, on the importance of teaching the young: Among philosophers he first turned from physical and mathematical topics to contemplation of things divine, and he was the first to discuss with great wisdom the majesty of God, the order of demons, and the transformations of souls.
Thus, he was called the first author of theology, and Orpheus followed him, taking second place in the ancient theology. After Aglaophemus, Pythagoras came next in theological succession, having been initiated into the rites of Orpheus, and he was followed by Philolaus, teacher of our divine Plato.
In this way, from a wondrous line of six theologians emerged a single system of ancient theology, harmonious in every part. Legacy Ficino died inleaving a significant cultural legacy.
Bibliography Works by Ficino Allen, M. University of California Press. Commentaries on Plato Volumes 1: Phaedrus and IonMichael J.
The Philebus CommentaryM. Marsilio Ficino, Platonic Theology6 vols.