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 generally influential and hotly debated of the Platonic writings. providing a likely account of the construction and nature of the cosmos, the dialogue accommodates 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 observation Ficino provides an appendix, which amplifies and elucidates Plato’s meanings and reveals interesting information about Ficino himself.
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Additional resources for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus
Again, it should not be said that the light of the Sun heats through reflection alone, but that, through reflection alone, it reduces to ashes. For the reflected rays of the Moon give no warmth, since watery power predominates in her, while the rays of the Sun provide health-giving warmth on account of the fiery and quickening nature of the Sun. It should not be objected that the rays of the Moon give no warmth on account of the Moon’s slower movement, for, even if it is posited that the Moon is slower, she is so much nearer to human beings than the Sun is that she should give, if not as much heat, at least some heat, if it is true that heat is at any rate produced from reflection.
But musicians are not allowed to go beyond the fourth ratio obtaining between related items, for the ears are offended by any further development. Moreover, the perfect principles of music are held within these ratios. Within them we move through three qualities, inevitably and ‘solidly’, as if through three dimensions, as far as the solids, and we do this on three occasions. For through the double at the fourth step we reach eight, which is the first solid. Again, through the triple at the fourth step we reach twenty-seven, which is the second solid.
You will, of course, be able to unite these two plane numbers, nine and four, with a single appropriate intermediary or mean, which is the number six. For the ratio of nine to six is the same as that of six to four, since in both instances the ratio is the sesquialteral, as nine contains six and one half of six, which is three. In the same way, six contains four and two more, a half of four. But that six is the appropriate mean is apparent from the fact that it is composed of them both, for one side of four is two, and one side of nine is three; and the product of two and three is six.