Edited By Josefa Ros Velasco
3 Giambattista Vico and the Melancholy of History (Miriam Muccione (University of Chicago))
3 Giambattista Vico and the Melancholy of History
University of Chicago
The present chapter aims to reconstruct the role of melancholy in the work of the 18th century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), the New Science (1725, 1730, 1744 ), in the context of what Vico calls the ideal eternal history, the path of development common to all nations, melancholy emerges as the physical, emotional, and human mental responses that accompany the interventions of divine providence on the course of human civil life.
In his treatise dedicated to the health of the intellectual, Three books on life [De vita libri tres or De triplici vita] (1989), written between 1480 and 1489, the Neoplatonic philosopher, physician, and one of the most influential Renaissance interpreters of ancient medicine, Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) refers to the link between melancholy and the intellectual achievements proposed by the Aristotelian tradition. Through a philosophical syncretism of Platonic metaphysics, Galenic medicine, magic, and astrology, Ficino supports the theory of the productive influence of the planet Saturn, associated with melancholy, on contemplative life. According to Ficino, all intellectuals are melancholy and, yet, only the very few who manage to reduce the paralyzing excesses of black bile, by keeping it at its natural temperature, can benefit from its positive influence on the contemplative life. As an intellectual, Ficino himself dealt with the unbalances of melancholy, a life mark that he traces back to his day of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.