Conclusiones CM publice disputandae



De adscriptis numero noningen|tis: dialecticis: moralibus: physi|cis: mathematicis: Methaphysicis: The|ologicis: Magicis: Cabalisticis: cum suis: tum sapien|tum Chaldeorum: Arabum: Hebreorum: Graecorum: Aegypti|orum: latinorumque placitis disputabit publice Iohanes Picus |Mirandulanus Concordie Comes: in quibus recitandis non Ro|manae linguae nitorem Sed celebratissimorum Parisiensium di|sputatorum dicendi genus est imitatus: propterea quod eo nostri tem|poris philosophi plerisque omnes utuntur. Sunt autem disputan|da dogmata: quo ad gentes attinet et ipsos heresiarchas seor|sum posita: quo ad partes philosophie promiscue quasi per sa|tyram omnia simul mixta.


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placitis: In addition to styling his collected theses as placita, Pico employs at least six additional technical terms in the Oratio and the Conclusiones to refer to his theses: sententiae, quaestiones, conclusiones, dogmata, propositiones, and opiniones. Each of these terms is strongly associated with various academic traditions and exercises. For example, Pico appears to establish himself in the ancient tradition of writing philosophical florilegia by designating his theses as placita, since compendia of the statements of ancient philosophers in some notable cases were titled De placitis (e.g. pseudo-Plutarch’s De placitis philosophorum; Galen’s De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis). Similarly, Pico’s use of the term sententiae places him in the tradition of sentence-collecting, which might invite comparisons between Pico’s work and Lombard’s magisterial Sententiae in IV libris distinctae. It appears that the Conclusiones was not Pico’s first attempt at producing a collection of sentences, since G. F. Pico reports in his Vita that as young student of canon law Pico compiled “a sort of epitome or digest (epitomen quandam seu brevarium)” of decretals. The terms quaestiones, conclusiones, dogmata, propositiones and opiniones appear to be related to the Aristotelian dialectical tradition broadly understood to include the various medieval exercises of disputation. For a discussion of Pico’s nomenclature, see Francesco Bausi, Nec rhetor neque philosophus: Fonti, lingua e stile nelle prime opera latine de Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1484-87) (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1996); Bohdan Kieszkowski’s introduction to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Conclusiones sive Theses DCCCC Romae anno 1486 publice disputandae sed non admmissae, ed. Bohdan Kieszkowski (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1973), 8; and “Three Precursors to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Roman Disputation and the Question of Human Nature in the Oratio,” in Pico della Mirandola: New Essays, ed. M. V. Dougherty (New York: Cambridge University Press), forthcoming.




per satyram omnia simul mixta: The last portion of Pico’s preface – omnia simul mixta – translated by Farmer as “everything mixed together,” may be an allusion to the often-cited fragment of Anaxagoras that states “all things were together (panta chrêmata ên homou).” Ambrosius Traversarius rendered this text of Anaxagoras as omnia simul erant in his early 15th-century translation of Diogenes Laertius’s influential De vita et moribus philosophorum, while various texts from the medieval Aristoteles Latinus tradition rendered Anaxagoras’s text as omnia mixta or simul omnia.

As a literary allusion to Anaxagoras, the text omnia simul mixta may indicate how Pico viewed the planned disputation of his wide-ranging theses. According to Diogenes Laertius, Anaxagoras began his treatise with the words “All things were together; then Mind arrived and arranged them in order” (De vita, II.3). Diogenes then recounts that Anaxagoras himself acquired the nickname of Mind, since his was the mind that ordered what had previously been a mixture. Thus, in this preface to the Conclusiones, Pico may be presenting himself as the new “Mind,” who in the course of the disputation will give order to the “mixture” of views contained in his theses taken from various traditions. That Pico is familiar with Anaxagoras’s account of the ordering function of Mind is shown in thesis II.3.21.

This possible literary allusion to Anaxagoras in Pico’s preface is obscured with Biondi’s Italian rendering of omnia as an adverb and taking satyra in the sense of satire. See Conclusiones nongentae: Le novecento tesi dell'anno 1486, a cura di Albano Biondi (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1995). Farmer argues, contra Biondi, that satyra should be taken in the sense of “mixture or medley.” See S. A. Farmer, Syncretism in the West: Pico’s 900 Theses (1486): The Evolution of Traditional Religious and Philosophical Systems (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1998), 188, 210.