Marsilio Ficino

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Renaissance's heart is the spatial opening of the "enclosures" (including Columbus' "discovery" of 1492) that was crowned with the works of Cues (De Docta ignorantia, 1440), Ficinus (Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae, 1482), Copernicus (De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium, 1543), Bruno (La Cena de le ceneri, 1584) and Andreae (Christianopolis, 1619).
Marcilius Ficinus seems to second this opinion, out of Plato, or from himself, I know not, (still ruling their inferiors, as they do those under them again, all subordinate, and the nearest to the earth rule us, whom we subdivide into good and bad angels, call Gods or Devils, as they help or hurt us, and so adore, love or hate) but it is most likely from Plato, for he relying wholly on Socrates, quem mori potius quam mentiri voluisse scribit, whom he says would rather die than tell a falsehood, out of Socrates' authority alone, made nine kinds of them: which opinion belike Socrates took from Pythagoras, and he from Trismegistus, he from Zoroastes, first God, second idea, 3.
In that work, Foster denounced Fludd's advocacy of "superstitious and magicall Cures" that he claimed "are more frequent amongst Papists." (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!" (22) Ultimately, he insisted, "Master Doctors argument of sympathy, and his sympathizing Salve, cannot be salved to be naturall and sympathize with reason, though he hath fetched an argument from Dyers and Lyers, from the Divell, the father of Lyers to maintaine it." (23)
Revision of the Mexican genera Ficinus Distant and Jornandes Distant with the description of 21 new species (Heteroptera: Miridae: Orthotylinae: Orthotylini).
(...) Arnoldus [Villanovanus] will have it improperly so called, & a malady rather of the body, then (sic) minde, Tully in his Tusculanes defines it a furious disease of the minde, Plato madnesse it selfe, Ficinus his Commentator (...) a species of madnesse, for many have runne mad for women, (...) but Rhasis a melancholy passion, and most Physitians make it a species, or kinde of melancholy (as will appeare by the Symptomes) and treat of it apart.
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.
Other orthotyline taxa in the Orthatylus genus-group (see Schuh, 1974) have similarly restricted distributions to the Sierra Madre del Sur; for example, the genus Ficinus Distant, many of the species of Jornandes Distant (Schaffner and Schwartz, 2008), several new species of Sealponotatus Kelton and Lopidella Knight, and a new species of a new genus near Jornandes (M.