Marsilio Ficino

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Ficino, Marsilio


Born Oct. 19, 1433, in Figline, near Florence; died Oct. 1, 1499, in Careggi, near Florence. Italian humanist and Neoplatonic philosopher; founder of the Platonic Academy of Florence.

Ficino translated into Latin works of Plato (published 1484), Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Porphyry, and Psellus, as well as some of the Areopagite’s works and treatises from the hermetic literature. In his commentaries on these works and in other works, such as Platonic Theology—On the Immortality of the Souls (1469–74, published 1482; latest edition, vols. 1–2, 1965) and On the Christian Religion (1476), he developed a philosophical system that constituted an original interpretation of Neoplatonism (including the concept of emanation) and the mystical teachings of late antiquity in a spirit of concordance with the major doctrines of Christianity. The true worth of man, endowed with the capacity for cognition and with free will, is in his divine origin, the immortality of the soul, and the ability for uniting with god at the highest level of contemplation (“divine madness”). Characteristic of Ficino is the importance given to earthly beauty, the contemplation of which he regarded as a step toward the highest mystical contemplation. Ficino considered the historically existing religions and religious philosophical doctrines as stages in the development of a universal religion.

Ficino furthered the revival of Platonism and the struggle against scholastic Aristotelianism and had a significant influence on the development of the philosophy of the Renaissance and the 17th and 18th centuries.


Opera, vols. 1–2. Basel, 1561.
Supplementum Ficinianum, vols. 1–2. Florence, 1937.
Commentaire sur le Banquet de Platon. Paris, 1955.


Puzino, I. V. “O religiozno-filosofskikh vozzreniiakh M. Fichino.” Istoricheskie izvestiia, 1917, no. 2. Pages 91–111.
Gukovskii, M. A. “Novye raboty po istorii platonizma ital’ianskogo Vozrozhdeniia.” Voprosy filosofii, 1958, no. 10. Pages 169–73.
Kristeller, P. O. Il pensiero filosofico di M. Ficino. Florence, 1953.
Saitta, G. Marsilio Ficino e la filosofia dell’ Umanesimo, 3rd ed. Bologna, 1954.
Marcel, R. Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). Paris, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
21) Denouncing him for the false cure as well as for excusing "Fryer Roger Bacon, Trithemius, Cornelius Agrippa, Marsilius Ficinus, and Fratres Rosea crucis, from being Caco-magicians," or sorcerers, Foster claimed to be scandalized that anyone would be willing to pardon such men, and wondered "that Belzebub was not in the number
One must refer especially to the renewed interpretation of the Analytic by Jacopo Zabarella and Cornelius Martini, combined with the conversion of logic into dialectic by Rudolf Agricola, Philipp Melanchthon, and Petrus Ramus, and take into account, of course, the modernization of the theory of ideas reintroduced by Marsilius Ficinus and developed further by Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Wolff, Baumgarten, and--last but not least--Georg Friedrich Meier.
These lectures were considered by the canons as a preaching duty, as the letter begins with the words "Viso quam laudabile sit predicare Verbum Dei et quam dominus Marsilius Ficinus singulis diebus in ecclesia angelorum predicat.
I often sink down on my huge old Marsilius Ficinus in a fit of laughter' (Letters III, 141-2).
Either one understands the platonizing interpretation of the Narcissus myth, found, for instance, in Marsilius Ficinus, in the sense of a wanting-more inscribed in the replacing reflection, or one understands this wanting-more itself in the sense of that interpretation.