Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Marsilio Ficino

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit


University of Florence

Marsilio Ficino

Marsilio Ficino Flee the loathsome shadow Marsilio Ficino 143399 and

19 October 1433Figline Valdarno, Republic of Florence (

Notable works
1489  De vita libri tres1484  De amore1482  Theologia Platonicade immortalitate animae

Diotifeci d'AgnoloAlessandra di Nanoccio (parents)

October 1, 1499, Villa Medici at Careggi, Florence, Italy

Influenced by
Plato, Plotinus, Gemistus Pletho, John Argyropoulos

Platonic Theology, Three books on life, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, Commentary on Plato's Symposiu, Meditations on the soul

Similar People
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Plato, Poliziano, Giordano Bruno, Plotinus

Letters of marsilio ficino 1433 1499 volume 1 letters 14 40

Marsilio Ficino ([marˈsiːljo fiˈtʃiːno]; Latin name: Marsilius Ficinus; 19 October 1433 – 1 October 1499) was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest who was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with every major academic thinker and writer of his day and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin. His Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato's Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy.


Marsilio Ficino wwwieputmeduwpcontentmediaFicinojpg

A speach of marsilio ficino in praise of philosophy year 1477


Marsilio Ficino Marsilio Ficino Quotes QuotesGram

Ficino was born at Figline Valdarno. His father Diotifeci d'Agnolo was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de' Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, who was made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de' Medici. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian humanist philosopher and scholar was another of his students.


During the sessions at Florence of the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1438–1445, during the failed attempts to heal the schism of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, Cosimo de' Medici and his intellectual circle had made acquaintance with the Neoplatonic philosopher George Gemistos Plethon, whose discourses upon Plato and the Alexandrian mystics so fascinated the learned society of Florence that they named him the second Plato. In 1459 John Argyropoulos was lecturing on Greek language and literature at Florence, and Ficino became his pupil.

Marsilio Ficino Marsilio Ficino Florence39s Dumbledore The Thinker39s

When Cosimo decided to refound Plato's Academy at Florence he chose Ficino as its head. In 1462, Cosimo supplied Ficino with Greek manuscripts of Plato's work, whereupon Ficino started translating the entire corpus to Latin (draft translation of the dialogues finished 1468–9; published 1484). Ficino also produced a translation of a collection of Hellenistic Greek documents found by Leonardo da Pistoia later called Hermetica, and the writings of many of the Neoplatonists, including Porphyry, Iamblichus and Plotinus.

Marsilio Ficino Quotes by Marsilio Ficino Like Success

Among his many students was Francesco Cattani da Diacceto, who was considered by Ficino to be his successor as the head of the Florentine Platonic Academy. Diacceto's student, Giovanni di Bardo Corsi, produced a short biography of Ficino in 1506.

A physician and a vegetarian, Ficino became a priest in 1473.


In 1474 Ficino completed his treatise on the immortality of the soul, Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae (Platonic Theology). In the rush of enthusiasm for every rediscovery from Antiquity, he exhibited a great interest in the arts of astrology, which landed him in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1489 he was accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII and needed strong defense to preserve him from the condemnation of heresy.

Writing in 1492 Ficino proclaimed: "This century, like a golden age, has restored to light the liberal arts, which were almost extinct: grammar, poetry, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music ... this century appears to have perfected astrology."

Ficino's letters, extending over the years 1474–1494, survive and have been published. He wrote De amore (1484). De vita libri tres (Three books on life), or De triplici vita, published in 1489, provides a great deal of medical and astrological advice for maintaining health and vigor, as well as espousing the Neoplatonist view of the world's ensoulment and its integration with the human soul:

There will be some men or other, superstitious and blind, who see life plain in even the lowest animals and the meanest plants, but do not see life in the heavens or the world ... Now if those little men grant life to the smallest particles of the world, what folly! what envy! neither to know that the Whole, in which 'we live and move and have our being,' is itself alive, nor to wish this to be so.

One metaphor for this integrated "aliveness" is Ficino's Astrology. In the Book of Life, he details the interlinks between behavior and consequence. It talks about a list of things that hold sway over a man's destiny.

Probably due to early influences from his father Diotifeci, who was a doctor to Cosimo de' Medici, Ficino published Latin and Italian treatises on medical subjects such as Consiglio contro la pestilenza (Recommendations for the treatment of the plague) and De vita libri tres (Three books on life). His medical works exerted considerable influence on Renaissance physicians such as Paracelsus, with whom he shared the perception on the unity of the micro- and macrocosmos, and their interactions, through somatic and psychological manifestations, with the aim to investigate their signatures to cure diseases. Those works, which were very popular at the time, dealt with astrological and alchemical concepts. Thus Ficino came under the suspicion of heresy; especially after the publication of the third book in 1489, which contained specific instructions on healthful living.

Ficino introduced the term and concept of "Platonic love" in the West. It first appeared in a letter to Alamanno Donati in 1476, but was later fully developed all along his work, mainly his famous De amore. He also practiced this love metaphysic with Giovanni Cavalcanti, whom he made the principal character in his commentary on the Convivio, and to whom he wrote ardent love letters in Latin that were published in his Epistulae in 1492; there are also numerous other indications to suggest that Ficino's erotic impulses were directed exclusively towards men. After his death his biographers had a difficult task trying to refute those who spoke of his homosexual tendencies. But his sincere and deep faith, and membership of the clergy, put him beyond the reach of gossip, and while praising love for the same sex, he also condemned sodomy in the Convivium.


Ficino died on 1 October 1499 at Careggi. In 1521 his memory was honored with a bust sculpted by Andrea Ferrucci, which is located in the south side of the nave in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.


  • Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae (Platonic Theology). Harvard University Press, Latin with English translation.
  • vol. I, 2001. ISBN 0-674-00345-4
  • vol. II, 2002. ISBN 0-674-00764-6
  • vol. III, 2003. ISBN 0-674-01065-5
  • vol. IV, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01482-0
  • vol. V, 2005. ISBN 0-674-01719-6
  • vol. VI with index, 2006. ISBN 0-674-01986-5
  • The Letters of Marsilio Ficino. Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers. English translation with extensive notes; the Language Department of the School of Economic Science.
  • vol. I, 1975. ISBN 978-0-85683-010-5
  • vol. II, 1978. ISBN 978-0-85683-036-5
  • vol. III, 1981. ISBN 978-0-85683-045-7
  • vol. IV, 1988. ISBN 978-0-85683-070-9
  • vol. V, 1994. ISBN 978-0-85683-129-4
  • vol. VI, 1999. ISBN 978-0-85683-167-6
  • vol. VII, 2003 ISBN 978-0-85683-192-8
  • vol. VIII, 2010 ISBN 978-0-85683-242-0
  • vol. IX, 2013 ISBN 978-0-85683-289-5
  • Commentaries on Plato. I Tatti Renaissance Library. Bilingual, annotated English/Latin editions of Ficino's commentaries on the works of Plato.
  • vol. I, 2008, Phaedrus, and Ion, tr. by Michael J. B. Allen, ISBN 0-674-03119-9
  • vol. II, 2012 (forthcoming), Parmenides, part I, tr. by Maude Vanhaelen, ISBN 0-674-06471-2
  • vol. III, 2012 (forthcoming), Parmenides, part II, tr. by Maude Vanhaelen, ISBN 0-674-06472-0
  • Icastes. Marsilio Ficino's Interpretation of Plato's Sophist, edited and translated by Michael J. B. Allen, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
  • De vita libri tres (Three Books on Life, 1489) translated by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clarke, Tempe, Arizona: The Renaissance Society of America, 2002. With notes, commentaries and Latin text on facing pages. ISBN 0-86698-041-5
  • "De triplici vita". World Digital Library (in Latin). 16 September 1489. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  • De religione Christiana et fidei pietate (1475–6), dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici.
  • In Epistolas Pauli commentaria, Marsilii Ficini Epistolae (Venice, 1491; Florence, 1497).
  • Meditations on the Soul: Selected letters of Marsilio Ficino, tr. by the Language Department of the School of Economic Science, London. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1996. ISBN 0-89281-658-9. Note for instance, letter 31: A man is not rightly formed who does not delight in harmony, pp. 5–60; letter 9: One can have patience without religion, pp. 16–18; Medicine heals the body, music the spirit, theology the soul, pp. 63–64; letter 77: The good will rule over the stars, p. 166.
  • Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, tr. by Sears Jayne. Spring Publications, 2nd edition, 2000. ISBN 0-88214-601-7
  • Collected works: Opera (Florence,1491, Venice, 1516, Basel, 1561).
  • References

    Marsilio Ficino Wikipedia

    Similar Topics