Excerpt from Opera Latine Conscripta, Vol. 2: Continens: 1. De Umbris Idearum; 2. Ars Memoriae; 3. Cantus Circaeus Morto il Prof. Francesco. Excerpt from Opera Latine Conscripta, Vol. 2: Continens: 1. De Umbris Idearum; 2. Ars Memoriae; 3. Cantus Circaeus Morto il Prof. Francesco fiorent1no. See, for example: Cantus circaeus, in Opera, vol. Il.i, “Formae verö aliae quae sunt intrinsecae, extrinsecarum rivuli atque filiae, quae per véhicula.
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Cantuw the time that Bruno arrived in England in the spring of he had already published three treatises on mnemotechnics in Paris: It should be no fantus then that the Italian works which Bruno published in England – the works which we now refer to collectively as the Dialoghi Italiani – should bear the imprint of this flurry of mnemotechnical thought.
They also help us to understand aspects of Bruno’s mnemotechnical practice which are left largely implicit in the predominantly technical treatises in which his methods are presented. Rather than representing fundamentally different kinds of enterprise – as has sometimes been maintained – I would argue that the Italian dialogues of Bruno’s London period, in which he sets out his nova filosojia and the mnemotechnical treatises, are linked both by a common set of metaphysical assumptions and by their diverse but complementary i of Bruno’s search for a technique which could harness both the intellect and the imagination in order to transform man’s ethical and intellectual capacities.
Bruno’s art of memory, as I have argued elsewhere, was conceived by Bruno as a method of ordering the intellect a logica means of effecting a moral transformation of the subject an ethical art and as a form cwntus magic. In fact these three aims are seen by Bruno as complementary, and are united in Bruno’s overarching project: In the theoretical introduction to De umbris idearum — the dialogus praelibatorius ciraeus — Bruno suggests that while his art of memory could be used effectively by the rude and untutored circaeux held particular benefits for those who were versed in the “metaphysics and doctrines of the Platonists.
It was, in fact, seen as “the origin of many methods” which are compared to “various organs” by which one could “explore or discover artificial memory”.
Essentially, Bruno argues, the original principle of the universe – the One – propagates itself like light, descending through increasingly imperfect forms until it reaches the lowest degree of matter.
The universe is subject to a “constant movement from the Light towards the darkness [of matter]” “demigratio. There is an “order and connection in all things such that inferior bodies follow intermediate bodies. It is an instrument designed to help the mind trace the multitudinous species of the universe back towards the unity of the superessential form. It is difficult to read the Spaccio della bestia trionfante, presented to Sir Philip Sidney inwithout connecting its themes and structure to the mnemotechnical schemes of Bruno’s sojourn in Paris.
This he does by “placing in a certain number and order all of the first forms of morality, which are the capital virtues and vices. The images of the Spaccio are placed in an “arena” camposet in a “theatre” teatro where they are “waiting to be examined, discussed and compared” rather than being set down dogmatically.
The images are “worthy of being gazed upon with no ordinary lenses. In conclusion, consider as definite only the order and number of the subjects of moral consideration, together with the foundations of such a philosophy, which you will see therein entirely represented.
Moreover let each one gather from this medium the fruits that he can, according to the capacity of his own bowl.
The order, the initiation, the disposition, the index of the method, the tree, the theatre and arena of the virtues and the vices – where afterward one must discuss, inquire, inform oneself, correct oneself, distend oneself, betake oneself, and pitch one’s tent on other considerations, when, cantks upon everything according to our own light and intention, we shall explain ourselves in numerous other particular dialogues, in which the universal architecture of such a philosophy will be fully completed and in which we shall reason in a more definite manner.
What Bruno seems to be suggesting here is that it is the method — the system of representing first forms – which is the important thing. He is providing an instrument that could be used to generate a potentially infinite number of dialogues. This too was the aim of his mnemotechnical systems – methods for image combination which would allow one to consider, compare and arrange the infinite contents of the physical, intellectual and “hyperphysical” or supercelestial universe that is the structures cirfaeus the world, the mind, and the cosmos.
This is why Bruno insists that his mnemotechnical arts were simultaneously a logic, a physics and a metaphysics.
Canhus Bruno’s allegory Jove is not taken as “a good vicar or lieutenant of the first principle and universal cause,” but rather as “something variable. That same Jove is made the governor and mover of heaven in order that he gives us to understand cantjs in every man, in each individual, are contemplated a world and a canhus where, for governing Jove, is signified Intellectual Light, which dispenses and governs in it, and distributes, in that admirable structure, the orders and seats of the virtues and vices.
When one considers the function of Bruno’s mnemotechnical systems as methods for ordering and organising intelligible species derived from the sensible world and the “shadows of ideas” images or similitudes in order to reform and perfect man’s ethical nature, to render him “godlike,” it seems clear that what Bruno is offering us in the Spaccio is a fabular.
Giordano Bruno: Cantus Circaeus (‘The Incantation of Circe’)
While the Spaccio may not be a memory art, it is a representation of how a memory art might function – using images and a spatialized memory an inner “world,” “heaven” or “universe” in order to methodically inculcate virtues and expel vices.
It is not without significance that memory has a key role to play in the reform of the heavens. In Bruno’s scheme these are: The dispensation of the collyria to the various muses signifies the various aspects of Bruno’s philosophical and mnemotechnical project. Arithmetic, geometry and music are granted the ability to perceive “the harmonious proportion of sensible things. Here we find the threefold structure so characteristic of Bruno’s philosophy: An understanding of the intellectual realm would also allow one to manipulate and reform the passions and affects – the “disposition” towards good or evil.
The muses are presided over by Mnemosine in this allegory, I would argue, because it was the art of memory which Bruno believed would enable man to attain the intellectual and ethical reformation that his new philosophy required; mnemotechnics promised to be the instrument of a universal art whose ultimate aim was to reform and perfect man’s nature. Thus Saulino, in the first part of the second dialogue describes the art of “reforming inclinations” as an art of arts, or universal discipline:.
We cannot conceive a greater end than that which so directs minds and reforms inclinations that from them are produced fruits useful and necessary to human behaviour. For certainly that must be a divine thing, art of arts and discipline of disciplines, through which men must be governed and repressed, men, who among all animals are most distinct in complexion, most varied in customs, and in inclination most divided, in wills most diverse, in impulses most inconstant.
It is also the art of memory which Bruno is thinking of in the section of the Spaccio which deals with the magical rites of Egypt – a similar connection to the one which he makes in both the De compositione. In order to do this we need “that wisdom and judgement, that skill, industry and use of intellectual light that are revealed to the world by the intelligible sun”. This “use of intellectual light” is the custom called magic:.
And she is said to be intermediate and mathematical, inasmuch as she depends upon the reasons and acts of the soul that is at the horizon between the corporeal and the spiritual, the spiritual and the intellectual. Sophia’s definition of magic also applies to Bruno’s mnemotechnics, construed as a method which would allow one to move methodically between the species of nature, the species of rational discourse and the supernal forms, ascending and descending the “scale of nature” and as such participating in both the natural and the divine.
In the Third dialogue Jove says that it is the creative and industrious part of man – his ability to create other forms via the use of his intellectual capacities – which renders him god-like: In the second dialogue of the Spaccio Jove exhorts Diligence: That is, the art of memory was designed to lead the practitioner to the point where he “deified” himself in Bruno’s sense of this termor achieved a beatific state of union with God.
In the Degli eroici furori we have a poetic representation of the stages through which the soul passes on its journey through the vestiges of nature, into the shadows of ideas toward the ineffable idea of God found within the soul of the furioso. Seen in this way the Eroici affords a view of how Bruno’s art of memory would transform both intellect and soul until man and his idea of God would fuse.
The “magic” of the Brunian memory art was thus an Itinerarium in mentem dei. In the second part of the Eroici Bruno explicitly identifies the “heroic frenzies” of the Eroici with the outcome of the memory art as it is described in the Triginta sigillorum explicatio Comparing the ecstatic transport of his heroic lover with Iamblichus’s account of the soul leaving the body during mystical contemplation, Bruno insists that what he is describing is precisely a “contraction” of the kind which he described in the Sigillum sigillorum:.
Opere mnemotecniche, I
So great is the power of contemplation as Iamblichus notes that sometimes the soul. I do not wish this to be understood in any other way than the various ways which are explained in Of the Thirty Seals where all the modes of contraction are presented by which people – some ignominiously, others heroically – cease to fear death or suffer bodily pains.
In a section of the Sigillum entitled De multiplici contractione, Bruno describes fifteen distinct kinds of transport some heroic mystical raptures.
The connection between the art of memory and “heroical” rapture can be seen from Bruno’s description of the stages of contemplation in his De umbris idearum.
Bruno envisaged the memory art as a means to “progress through a natural and rational course towards the explication of forms,”44 the final objective of this progress is to trace the analogical series of cwntus “divine and natural order” through the mind. Bruno does ciraeus elaborate what he means by the final two stages of this upward progress, that is, “the transformation of oneself into the thing” and “the transformation of the thing into oneself.
In the third dialogue of the first part, Tansillo describes the furori as a kind of memory or remembrance by which the desiring soul seeks to transform itself into the similitude of divinity the beautiful and the good:.
These frenzies of which we speak and which we see put into execution in these dialogues, are not a forgetfulness, but a memory; they are not careless actions but loves and desires of the beautiful and the good by. The philosophical frenzy is directed by a “rational force” impeto razionale which controls and directs rapture toward positive ends.
Just as the lover seeks to become one with his beloved – it is the power of Love to “transform the heart into that other nature to which it aspires”49 – so the heroic lover whose “beloved” ol God seeks to become one with the divinity which he seeks. This form of “love” is an intellectual act: This can be seen clearly in the figure of Actaeon the “hunter” who follows the vestiges or tracks of divinity immanent in nature Bruno represents this immanent aspect of divinity – the deus in rebus – as Diana.
Bruno represents the idea of man’s transformation into a god via the allegory of Actaeon devoured by his own hounds. Actaeon is “ravished outside of himself ‘ as he perceives that he is the divine object: The intellect “goes circling through the degrees of perfection to reach their infinite centre circaeuus is neither form nor formed.
In the figure of Actaeon and Bruno’s other furiosi, we can see delineated the nine-stage process described in De umbris cirvaeus the contemplation of order in natural things, the tracing of analogies between these things in the mind, the derivation of the “intelligible images of God” from his effects in nature, and finally – through an intellectual contact with these intelligible images, the transformation of the self into the divinity which it seeks.
When Tansillo explains cirfaeus “degrees of contemplation” Li gradi della contemplazione to Cicada and outlines the “three preparations” tre preparazioni of the furioso, what we find is a condensed version of the ladder of Plotinus in the De umbris.
The furioso first resolves to “conform himself to a divine similitude,” then he “applies himself to the superior species” and lastly he “submits his entire will and affection to God.
The psychological structure described in the Eroici is closely modelled on his mnemotechnical conceptions.
Opera Latine Conscripta, Vol. 2 : Giordano Bruno :
In the De umbris he describes how “inferior things acquire the nature of superior things through intermediary things,”65 and in the Eroici, Bruno describes how there is a cycle revoluzione of ascent and descent in nature which draws the inferior towards the superior: That this transformation of inferior beings to a higher level also involves an ethical ip whereby the affects are transformed by a process of intellection or contemplation, we might say is clear both from the description of the lover’s frenzies in the Eroici and the theoretical parts cicraeus Bruno’s mnemotechnical treatises.
In the Sigillum sigillorum, which deals with the “four rulers” quatuor rectoribus of the art of memory love, art, mathesis and magicBruno talks about the “personal education of our soul” domesticum animi nostri. The “more circadus and stronger” these forms are the more effectively they motivate the passions.
In the Eroici we find the same insistence on the interdependence of intellection and appetition. When all circaes affections are completely converted to God, that is, to the idea of ideas, by the light of intelligible things, the mind is exalted to the suprasensual unity, and all is love, all one, and it no longer feels itself solicited and distracted by diverse objects, but becomes one sole wound, in which all the affections gather to become a single affection.
Both the affections and the intellect strive to transform themselves into the higher forms which they make contact with through “individual objects circcaeus species of objects. As Liberio says in the third dialogue of the circafus part: Wherever it forms and impresses its own image, Severino says, “no other form can be impressed or sealed.
The end-point of the heroic frenzy and Bruno’s mnemotechnical practice was, I would argue, deification deificatioin the sense that the intellect and the affects are both “completely converted” to the love of God.
Paradoxically, however, the mind cannot draw near to this divinity within. The transcendent li of Bruno’s divinity signified by Apollothe archetypal form of divinity, cannot be approached except by means of nature and its multiple forms. Bruno’s method – as he describes it in the Eroici — is both a “logic” and a mode of “contemplation” which guides one through the “traces and vestiges of nature” to the “essence of all things.
The allegorical poetry of the Eroici and the astrological allegory of the Spaccio is another. In the Eroici, Catus describes the furioso in a metaphor which recalls the inner architectural spaces of his Lullian and mnemotechnical writings as a builder, a fabricatore: See Stephen Clucas, “Amorem, artem, magiam, mathesim: Brunian Images and the Domestication of the Soul,” Zeitsprilnge: Forschungen zur Friihen Neuzeit circadus. Art, Magic and Mnemotechnics,” Physis: Memory, Magic and Metaphysics in Brunian Mnemonics,”.
Philosopher of the Renaissance, ed. Leo Olschki, ] Rutger University Press, Imerti have been silently adapted where I thought it was appropriate. The Italian original will be provided in the footnotes, as follows: Giovanni Aquilecchia, ill vols. Sansoni, 3rd ed. Bruno, Expulsion, ; “bandir quelli dal cielo.
Bruno, Expulsion, 74; canhus appropriarsi alla cirvaeus e natura che possono presentare” Bruno, Dialoghi, 2: Bruno, Expulsion, 74; “degni d’essere con non ordinarii occhiali remirati” Bruno, Dialoghi, Aquilecchia, ed. Bibliopolis, ; see also Cesare Vasoli, “Umanesimo e Simbologia nei primi scritti Lulliani e mnemotechnici del Bruno,” Umanesimo e Simbolismo, Atti del IV convegno internazionale di studi umanistici, ed.