Nürnberg: Koberger :Per Antonium Koberger impræsse, 1497. Folio. 20 x 15 cm. Signatures: π¹⁰,A-Z⁸ a-g⁸ h⁴(lacking blank leaf h4); leaf D2 signed C₂./ Final leaf blank and wanting. This copy is bound in XVII century, full vellum. With filled initial spaces, printed guide letters, foliation, without catchwords, The first initial letter is Illuminiated with colours on gilt background with tendrils and an arabesque on margin, red and blue initial letters. There is quite a bit of contemporary marginalia and underlining. There is an ownership note from the XVII century handwritten on title-front. Restoration on foot of spine, signs of humidity. Locations :
Boston Public Library
Harvard Library, Countway Library of Medicine (2)
College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Free Library of Philadelphia
Library of Congress,
The Morgan Library
Pennsylvania State Univ.
Univ. of California,
Univ. of Chicago
Univ. of Florida
Univ. of Kansas,
Univ. of Michigan,
Univ. of North Carolina Library
Yale University. Item #853
Paul Oskar Kristeller makes clear below that the Letters of Marsilio Ficino represent an essential core of his thought and influence as a chief architect of the Platonic and Hermetic revival, the philosophical and revelatory center of the new learning that was revamping religious vision and humanistic enquiry Italian Renaissance.
Excerpt from Paul Oskar Kristeller Preface to volume 1:
“The Letters occupy in fact a very important place in Ficino's work. As historical documents, they give us a vivid picture of his personal relations with his friends and pupils, and of his own literary and scholarly activities. As pieces of literature, edited and collected by himself, the letters take their place among other correspondences of the time and are a monument of humanistic scholarship and literature. Finally, the letters are conscious vehicles of moral and philosophical teaching and often reach the dimensions of a short treatise.
Ficino began to collect his letters in the 1470's, gradually arranged them in twelve books, had them circulated in numerous manuscript copies, and finally had them printed in 1495. The first book contains letters written between 1457 and 1476, and its manuscript tradition is especially rich and complicated. These letters derive great interest from the time of their composition, for they were written at the same time as some of the commentaries on Plato and as the Platonic Theology, Ficino's chief philosophical work. The correspondents include many persons of great significance: Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici, and members of other prominent Florentine families, allied or hostile to the Medici at different times: Albizzi and Pazzi, Soderini and Rucellai, Salviati and Bandini, Del Nero, Benci and Canigiani, Niccolini, Martelli and Minerbetti. There are two cardinals, Francesco Piccolomini, the later Pius III, a famous patron and bibliophile, and Bessarion, the great defender of Platonism. There is Bernardo Bembo, Venetian patrician and ambassador, Giovanni Antonio Campano, bishop and humanist. Francesco Marescalchi in Ferrara, and Giovanni Aurelio Augurelli from Rimini. There are the friends of Ficino's youth, Michele Mercati and Antonio Morali called Serafico, and his favourite friend, Giovanni Cavalcanti. There are philosophers and physicians, and there are numerous scholars, of different generations, who occupy a more or less prominent place in the annals of literature: Matteo Palmieri and Donato Acciaiuoli, Benedetto Accolti, Bartolomeo Scala and Niccolò Michelozzi, all connected with the chancery, Cristoforo Landino, Bartolomeo della Fonte and Angelo Poliziano, Francesco da Castiglione, perhaps Ficino's teacher of Greek, and Antonio degli Agli, bishop of Fiesole and Volterra, Jacopo Bracciolini the son of Poggio, and Carlo Marsuppini, the son of the humanist chancellor of the same name, Benedetto Colucci and Lorenzo Lippi, Domenico Galletti and Francesco Tedaldi, Antonio Calderini and Andrea Cambini, Cherubino Quarquagli and Baccio Ugolini, known for their vernacular verse, and a number of Latin poets: Peregrino Agli, Alessandro Braccesi, Amerigo Corsini, Naldo Naldi and Antonio Pelotti. The book also includes several pieces that are important compositions in their own right: the dialogue between God and the soul (4), on divine frenzy (7), on humanity (55), on the folly and misery of man (57-59), on the use of time (82), on law and justice (95), on happiness (115), the theological prayer to God (116), and the praise of philosophy (123).
ISTC,; if00155000; GW; 9874; Goff; F-155; IGI,; 3864; BM 15th cent.,; II, 443; BSB-Ink,; F-120 Walsh.