The Effects and Importance of Marsilio Ficino on the RenaissanceJune 27, 2021
This man is the greatest witness of the events that started the Renaissance. Cosimo de Medici is a faithful servant, doing whatever he commands. However, the efforts of the Medici family, which started the Renaissance, for the rebirth of ancient Greek culture, the translation of ancient works into Latin, the re-emergence of concepts such as painting, sculpture and philosophy that were lost under the dominance of scholastic thought, are actually based on very mystical wishes.
Cosimo Medici was searching for the book that was said to have been written by Hermes and that anyone who could understand the word in it would be immortal. In the end, he was able to find only 5 of the book’s numerous volumes in the Balkans. These books were promptly brought to Florence and translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino. However, since the content of these books is very close to the period, it is also clear that they are a work that is a combination of various sources, even when it is quite obvious that the books were not written by Hermes. This book was called corpus hermeticum. After this book was translated, the works of Neoplatonist thinkers such as Plotinus and Iamblicus were brought up again and the Renaissance emerged with the power of neoplatonism. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that started the Renaissance. The Medici family led the scholastic anti-philosophical actions that started slowly in the fields of literature, painting and philosophy in Germany and England, by translating such books, supporting artists and protecting them from the church.
When you throw a stone into the sea, it creates an effect by forming rows of rings around it. Thoughts and works, which are the legacy of Plato, have reached the present day by spreading to the public. After the Antiquity, the darkness of the Middle Ages caused a pause in the spread of the rings in Europe. This darkness also covers the teachings of Plato. Neoplatonic Philosophy, represented by Plotinus, Proclus, and Iamblicus, develops as a renewal of ancient philosophy at the beginning of Christianity. Continuing this role in the Renaissance period, it forms the origin of the renewal of philosophy in that period. The establishment of the Platon Academy, which was established in the Renaissance, is a result of the circles reaching that moment and the evaluation of Plato’s works by Marsilio Ficino. In the 12th century, Greek manuscripts lost after the fall of the Western Roman Empire were reconsidered by Arab scholars, bringing the teachings to light. Another factor that facilitated the re-discovery of classical culture in the West by the Arab-Islamic philosophy in the East is Byzantium. Byzantine scholars, who knew Greek writers who were not yet known in the West, rearranged and interpreted ancient texts.
In the Renaissance period, the reaction of Italian humanists to Aristotelian Scholasticism highlights the philosophy of Plato. In the period when Plato’s defense was made against Aristotle, the protagonist of scholastic and medieval thought, the Florence Council convened. For this consul, scholars from Byzantium in 1438 brought important sources about Plato. Long before the Byzantine Empire ended, Byzantine scholars brought Greco-Hellenistic culture to Italy. It was Georgios Gemistos Plethon (1355-1450) from Istanbul who brought the sources to life and the ideas about Plato to sprout. Plethon, who was an enthusiastic admirer of Plato, pioneered the idea of recreating the Platonic Academy by giving lectures and lectures about Plato, with the support of Cosimo de Medici, the head of the city-state of Florence. The person who maintained this idea after Plethon was Cardinal Basilius Bessarion (1403-1472), who came to Italy during the consul period, and was against Aristotle like his teacher Plethon in Bessarion. But he is more restrained in highlighting Plato against Aristotle. These two Byzantine thinkers draw on Platonic philosophy and Neo-Platonism to lay a new foundation for the Church and the state.
According to Bessarion, Plethon’s disciple, he represented the reincarnation of the Platonic spirit and developed the purely political project “Pagan Revival” at Mistra, close to Sparta. Convinced that other religions had disappeared, Plethon seriously considered the idea of a Humanist organization modeled after the efforts of Emperor Julian and the restoration of Paganism. This idea later passed on to Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirando. He unified the teachings, establishing a genealogy from Zoroaster to Pythagoras, then Socrates and Plato, and finally the Neoplatonists.”1
In Florence, the Camaldolese brothers’ work and research on ancient texts is completed with the arrival of Byzantine scholars in Florence. Florence becomes the cultural capital of the Renaissance and heir to Neoplatonism. With the establishment of the Academy, studies on Plato began to spread in Europe.
The seed of Plato’s Academy was laid in 1438 and came to life in 1462. The prominent figure in the establishment of the Platonic Academy is Ficino. Ficino, who played an important role in the existence of the Renaissance, was first of all a