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By Arthur Farndell
Marsilio Ficino, a leading pupil of the Italian Renaissance who translated the entire works of Plato into Latin, examines Plato’s Timaeus, the main commonly influential and hotly debated of the Platonic writings. supplying a likely account of the production and nature of the cosmos, the dialogue comprises such questions as what's the functionality of mathematics and geometry within the layout of production? what's the nature of brain, soul, topic, and time? and what's our position within the universe? To his major remark Ficino provides an appendix, which amplifies and elucidates Plato’s meanings and reveals interesting information about Ficino himself.
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Extra info for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus
But if you return each to its own, you will observe that this physical world receives fire as its form from the very Limit of the supernal world, earth as its material from the Limitlessness, but from the intermediate form of the supernal world it receives moisture, the reconciler of fire and earth, holding together the earth, which is by nature liable to dispersion, and nourishing the fire, which is of itself dissoluble. It possesses three things within itself, being fiery on the one hand and earthy on the other hand, with something of its own which is pure and airy and which is midway between these two, since it turns towards fire through that which is highest and towards earth through that which is lowest.
We call them oblong if they are produced by the multiplication of a very small number by a much larger number, such as the number ten, which is the product of two and five, since two times five makes ten. If in the tenth book of the Republic we have called this number linear in some respects, we would like it to be understood as oblong. In addition to this, we were speaking of those that are solid, for they are produced from the multiplication of any number by itself twice, like a solid mass produced in three dimensions, such as twice two 29 All Things Natural 15/4/10 12:08 Page 30 ALL THINGS NATUR AL doubled, which is eight; three times thrice three, which is twentyseven; and four times four times four, which is sixty-four.
For how do the natures of the elements pass below the heavens from causes which are above the heavens, and how will they give direct assent here, unless the regulating powers of the elements pour through the heavens at the same time? Indeed, just as a farmer does not rule the master-builder since he holds none of the principles of architecture, but rather does the geometer, who possesses these principles, rule him, so will the heavens never govern the powers of the elements and of all composed therefrom, unless they comprehend them all.
All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus by Arthur Farndell