By Arthur Farndell
Marsilio Ficino, a leading student of the Italian Renaissance who translated all of the works of Plato into Latin, examines Plato’s Timaeus, the main extensively 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 production? what's the nature of brain, soul, subject, 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 attention-grabbing information about Ficino himself.
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Extra info for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus
For between eight and twenty-seven we placed two appropriate means: twelve and eighteen. The number twelve is born from eight and twenty-seven, since the side from which eight is multiplied is two, while the side from which twenty-seven is multiplied is three, but from two and three is produced twelve, if you take two times double three, where the arising twelve takes two of its sides from eight and one side from twenty-seven. Again, from two and three arises the number eighteen, if you take three times three twice, where eighteen, the number coming to birth, takes one of its sides from the distant eight, giving ‘twice’, and two of its sides from the number twenty-seven, giving ‘three times three’.
At this seventh step, as on the seventh day, there is rest. 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.
Of these elements, that which is placed on the surface, according to its nature, is the most extensive and therefore the finest of all in substance, the keenest of all in power, and the one best equipped for penetration, as well as the one that, in its action, is most inclined to movement. That which is positioned in the centre follows the nature of the centre and is therefore most constricted and compacted in substance, blunt in power, and in action least capable of movement. The nature of the two means is middling in these respects.
All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus by Arthur Farndell