All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus by Arthur Farndell

By Arthur Farndell

Marsilio Ficino, a leading pupil of the Italian Renaissance who translated all of the works of Plato into Latin, examines Plato’s Timaeus, the main commonly influential and hotly debated of the Platonic writings. delivering a possible account of the construction and nature of the cosmos, the dialogue comprises such questions as what's the functionality of mathematics and geometry within the layout of construction? what's the nature of brain, soul, topic, and time? and what's our position within the universe? To his major statement Ficino provides an appendix, which amplifies and elucidates Plato’s meanings and reveals attention-grabbing information about Ficino himself.

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Extra info for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus

Example text

Some, I think, will reply that the finest powers of the elements are to be located there as causes, while in the spheres of the elements beneath the Moon their natures are according to their forms, and in compounds they are present through some participation; but they will deny that the actual natures of the elements are present in the heavens. With reference to these matters, the followers of Plato point out that particular excellences are universally based on particular natures, and therefore, if the excellences of the elements are in the heavens, their natures are there too; but just as the excellences reside there in a genus far superior to these here, so their natures reside in a genus that is more excellent, indeed, to speak more accurately, in a genus that is most excellent.

Although they call some of these numbers square and others rectangular, according to their origin, they also call them circular on account of their outcome and end. And so, by means of the numbers five and six, which are the first roots of the circular numbers, we divide the spherical body of the world, firstly into five parts: celestial fire, ethereal fire, and the sub-lunar air, water, and earth. This division is ratified in the Epinomis. The second division, by means of the number six, is when we subdivide the celestial fire into the ‘fixed’ and the ‘wandering’.

The heavens are indeed the true fire. But the air that is thus ignited is called aether; yet it is not so consumed by fire as is our air, which becomes violent in fuel that is dry, thin, and compact. Since Aristotle had given the name of ‘fire’ to that fire with which we are acquainted, 42 All Things Natural 15/4/10 12:08 Page 43 COMPENDIUM CHAPTER 26 he called the sublunar kind ‘Pyroïdes’, that is, something fiery or something in the form of fire, as if in agreement with Plato; and when, in relation to its motion, he assigns to it the everlasting and thus nonviolent revolution of the heavens, he is thus clearly indicating that fire has a motion that is circular rather than straight; and in this, too, he concurs with Plato.

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All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus by Arthur Farndell
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