- Patrizi, Francesco
- (1529-1597)Italian Neoplatonic philoso-pher. Born into a family of minor Croatian nobility, he served for a time under an uncle who was captain of a Venetian warship, then studied at Venice and elsewhere before beginning the study of medicine at Padua in 1547. There he studied Greek and discov-ered the writings of Plato and the Renaissance Neoplatonist Mar-silio Ficino, which transformed him into an enthusiastic Platonist. After his father's death he abandoned medicine and spent a quar-ter-century travelling and working in Italy, Cyprus, and Spain. A widely read and learned man, he became a noted polymath and wrote books on many topics, including history, literary theory, and warfare, sometimes in Latin but usually in Italian. In 1571 his Dis-quisitiones peripateticae /Inquiries into Peripatetic Philosophy at-tacked the philosophy of Aristotle and his modern disciples and upheld the superiority of Plato.In 1577-1578 the University of Ferrara appointed Patrizi to the first chair of Platonic philosophy in any European university. In 1592 he moved to the University of Rome, again with the title of professor of Platonic philosophy. His major publication, Nova de universis philosophia /A New Philosophy of Universes (1591), was an encyclo-pedic presentation of philosophical and scientific knowledge related to the Platonic tradition, including a determined effort to develop a Platonic natural science to replace traditional Aristotelian science. This work also contended that Platonism was fully compatible with Christianity and that Aristotelian philosophy ultimately led to athe-ism. His book was denounced to the Congregation of the Index on charges of heresy, and after two years of litigation was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books. Neither the papal universty nor any other continued the chair in Platonic philosophy, and traditional scholasti-cism based on Aristotelian principles continued to dominate univer-sity faculties for several centuries.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.