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Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters - From a letter to Thomaso Valeri, Bishop of Florence



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Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters

From a letter from Marsilio Ficino to Thomaso Valeri, Bishop of Florence.

Diseases, unless they are very dangerous, should not be irritated by drugs. For the whole constitution of diseases is rather like the nature of living beings. In fact the structure of living beings is bounded from the very beginning of their own generation by a set length of time.

The whole genus is subject to this, and each being contains within itself its allotted life span from its birth, unless unavoidable events intervene.  Life is not prolonged for any one beyond this fixed time. The same rule of nature applies to diseases. If anyone tries to shorten them by drugs before they have run their allotted course of time, illnesses that were minor or rare usually become serious or widespread.

Therefore diseases should be treated and controlled by attending to diet insofar as each person has leisure for this, lest a difficult and dangerous disease be aggravated by drugs. So says Plato. The Florentine people often commend our Galileo because he observes this rule. For this reason I, too, am full of praise for Lorenzo Martellini, a true doctor, and would also praise Tommaso Valeri-except that I am writing to him!

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Ficino, Marsilio

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