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Ficino and Copernicus

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author reassesses the evidence that has been presented previously and follows up some additional clues that have been overlooked. The sources usually cited are the Asclepius and the so-called Definitions Asclepii, the final section of the Pimander, which Ludovico Lazzarelli had published in Latin translation. Copernicus's celebrated invocation to the sun in the first book of De revolutionibus proves that he was imbued with contemporary Neoplatonic ideals, Marsilio Ficino's or not. The Ficino's Timaeus commentary would in any case be an obvious work to consult for an astronomer like Copernicus in search of alternatives to Aristotelian cosmology. Of the classical, medieval, Byzantine and Renaissance sources discussing the doctrine, the Timaeus commentary, as found in Ficino's Latin Plato, is in fact, with the exception of the Suda mentioned, the only one for which there is bibliographical evidence that Copernicus might have consulted it.

Keywords: Aristotelian cosmology; bibliographical evidence; biographical evidence; Copernicus; Marsilio Ficino's cosmology; Marsilio Ficino's Metaphysics; Marsilio Ficino's Timaeus commentary

10.1163/9789047400547_022
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