IAMBLICHUS (ca. 250-ca. 325). De mysteriis Aegyptorum, Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum. - PROCLUS (412-484). In Platonicum Alcibiadem. -De sacrificio et magia. - PORPHYRIUS (233-ca. 305). De occasionibus. -De abstinentia. - SYNESIUS. (370-413). De somniis. - Michael PSELLUS (1018-1081?). De daemonibus. - Lydus PRISCIANUS and Marsilius FICINUS (1433-1499). In Theophrastum De sensu, phantasia, et intellectu. - ALBINUS Platonicus (fl. 2nd century). De doctrina Platonis. - SEUSIPPUS (ca. 407-339 B.C.). De Platonis definitionibus. - PYTHAGORAS (attributed to). Aurea verba et symbola. - XENOCRATES (339-314 B.C.). De morte. All edited and translated from the Greek by Marsilius Ficinus. - Marsilius FICINUS (1433-1499). De voluptate. Venice: Aldus Manutius, September 1497.
Super-chancery 2o (315 x 216 mm). Collation: a-i8 K4; L-M6; N-Z8 &10 (a1r title: Index eorum, quae hoc in libro habentur, a1v Ficino's dedication to Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici and Argumentum, a2r Iamblichus, f1v Proclus, h8v Porphyrius, K4v blank; L1r dedications to Lorenzo and Piero de' Medici, L1v Synesius, N1r Psellus, N8v Prisicianus, S6r Albinus, V8r Seusippus, X2v Pythagoras, X7v Ficinus, &8v colophon , &9r quire register, &9v-&10 blank). 185 leaves (of 186, without the final blank). 37 lines and headline. Types: 2:114R, 7:114Gk. Opening 7-line woodcut white-vine initial on a2r, 2- to 6-line initial spaces elsewhere, most with printed guide-letters. Unrubricated. (Last leaf lightly foxed and with repaired tear and a few small marginal chips, occasional very minor foxing to extreme outer margins.) 19th-century German half diced russia leather and marbled paper-covered boards, spine divided into compartments with pairs of gilt fillets and Greek key tooling (faded) on the four raised bands, edges stained red (joints cracked, wear to extremities); morocco-backed cloth slipcase and chemise.
Provenance: 16th-century Latin marginalia in the Pythagoras and Xenocrates -- 19th-century German note on title ("1016 ?Feldzahn?") -- Allen Bluestein: sale, New York, Parke Bernet, 7 April 1976, lot 41.
FIRST EDITION of this important collection of classical and Byzantine Platonic works. With the exception of Albinus on Plato (Petrus Balbus' translation published by Koberger in 1472, Goff A-365) and the Pythagorean Golden Verses (first published in Greek in the 1495 Aldine Lascaris and the 1496 Theocritus), all the texts first appeared in print here in Ficino's Latin versions and excerpts, the vehicle for their wide dissemination to humanist readers. The editio princeps of Iamblichus' treatise on ritualistic magic, important for the light it throws on fourth-century vestiges of the pagan religions, was not published until 1678, at Oxford.
Ficino learned Greek at the age of 23 and very soon began to experiment with translating. Before he turned 30 Cosimo de' Medici, in a display of exceptional foresight and generosity, had placed at his disposal a villa at Careggi outside of Florence, assured him of an income, and commissioned from him translations of the Hermetic Corpus and Plato. This edition comprises two groups of translations: those of Albinus-Xenocrates were carried out in the early 1460s, and the remaining texts in the 1480s. Ficino's own Epicurean treatise De Voluptate was written in 1457. Ficino dedicated the two sections to Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici (later Pope Leo X), second son of Cosimo's grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent; and to Lorenzo's father Piero and Lorenzo himself, who each in turn took over Cosimo's role as patron after his death in 1464. Ficino, who entered the priesthood in 1473, defended his immersion in pagan hermeticism as compatible with Christian values, since he viewed the ancient philosophers, and above all Plato, as early visionaries of the essential truth, if not of the precise doctrine, of the "true religion" (cf. Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy, p. 91). Along with several Aldine Latin editions of this period (e.g., the 1500 Lucretius, Goff L-335, and the 1499 collection of astronomical works, Goff F-191), this collection formed part of Aldus' ambitious Hellenistic publishing program, intended for a "resolutely academic" readership (Davies, p. 26). Within a month after publication Ariosto wrote to Aldus expressing his gratitude for the edition, assuring him of its usefulness and of ready sales among the students of Ferrara (Lowry, p. 115). For the textual history of each tractate, see Kristeller, Supplementum Ficiniaum, 1937, part III.
A TALL, CLEAN COPY. HC 9358*; Ahmanson-Murphy 17; BMC V, 557 (IB. 24445-6); BSB-Ink. I-127; CIBN J-147; Harvard/Walsh 2648-2653; IGI 5096; Renouard 13,6; Goff J-216.