‘Music, melancholy and medical spirits: the background to Ficino’s astrological medicine’

Thursday 27th November, 6.00pm Arts Theatre, Arts Building, University of Manchester.

This talk will consider Marsilio Ficino and his book the De triplici vita (1489), a health manual for scholars which proves to be the first Western text to suggest how to use music for altering one’s mood; not directly, but by means of songs that are especially designed to draw down astral influences. To appreciate the novelty of Ficino’s method for curing melancholy, this talk will identify the key sources he drew on, and compare his ideas with earlier medical theories of melancholy.