Rennaissance philosopher, philologist and translator Marsilio Ficino was born on the 19th of December 1433.
He studied both in Florence and Bologna and became a prominent doctor.
His father was a personal physician to Cosmo de’ Medici and Marsilio returned to Florence to continue his father’s work. He served the Medicis (one of the most influential banking families in Italy at the time) for three generations and Cosmo asked Marsilio to translate the works of Plato into Latin.
In 1439 the council of Florence brought a number of Greek scholars to the city. This roughly coincided with the founding of the Platonic Academy. This meant that the study of Greek, particularly Plato flourished.
Ficino became obsessed by Plato; he taught at the Academy and was soon elected president. He was an avid propagator of Plato and even maintained that Plato should be read in churches because he regarded Plato as the forerunner of Christ.
It is also said that he had a bust of Plato in his room before which he kept a flame at all times.
It is said that he was greatly influenced by the works of Savonarola and that they drew him to the church for he was ordained a priest in 1477 and soon became a canon of the Cathedral of Florence.
Towards the end of his life he used his extensive medical knowledge on himself more and more. He was obsessed with his health and kept to a scrupulous medical regime which bordered on pure superstition.
He translated a huge number of works into Latin during his life and had tremendous respect for a number of great writers including Aristotle and St Thomas however he maintained his fixation with Plato.
In all his translations he tried to remain as close to the originals as possible, considering readablity and fluency of his latin to be of secondary importance. His meticulous accuracy is all the impresive considering that he knew no Greek before the age of thirty.
Ficino also wrote a number of original works. While still a young man he wrote “An Introduction to the Philosophy of Plato” but his most important work was "Theologia Platonica de animarum lmmortalitate" a shorter of which appears in his later work "Compendium theologiae Platonicae".
Marsilio Ficino died on the 1st of October 1499 in Correggio.
Many thanks to kidas who helped me iron out a lot of the problems in this wu.