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The Platonic Academy of Florence

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Chapter Summary

For centuries scholars have labelled the Ficino circle in Florence the 'Platonic Academy'. Some have nañvely treated it like a modem academy, with membership lists, regularly scheduled meetings, and a meeting house, the sort of academy that has thrived in Tuscany for nearly half a millennium. In 'Cosimo de' Medici and the "Platonic Academy"', and 'The Myth of the Platonic Academy of Florence', James Hankins scrutinizes a number of sources and reaches a number of interesting conclusions. This chapter highlights that the term Platonic Academy is a perfectly appropriate one for the Marsilio Ficino circle. With respect to his students Ficino used the term 'academy' freely. With the wider world of intellectual associates Ficino was more circumspect and humbly made it clear that the real master of the revived Academy was Plato himself, or Plato living through his books. And discovering the appropriate term, the Academy, required no great ingenuity.

Keywords: Florence; James Hankins; Marsilio Ficino; Platonic Academy; Tuscany



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