2 compelled me to the study of philosophy (Livermore Forbes, 237; Glenn Wallis, 17).
3 Literally those who live a life of mediocre fortune. Cf. of a mediocre station in life (Livermore Forbes, 237) and of ordinary fortune (Glenn Wallis, 17). As an example of analogous use of the term fortuna, see Pico, Letter to Andrea Corneus, October 15th 1486: «Everybody must act this way, and even more those with whom fortune has been so benevolent that they can live not merely magnificently and comfortably, but also splendidly. These big fortunes take people up at the highest levels and induce therefore some ostentation, but often, like an indomitable and jibbing horse, they behave badly and torment those people instead of carrying them.»
4 More literally makes� for contempt and contumely (Glenn Wallis, 17).
5 Cf. Pico, Letter to Andrea Corneus (quoted): «All the minds have been invaded by a destructive and monstrous conviction that noblemen ought not to touch philosophical studies. At the most they should taste them only with the tip of the lips in order to show their talent, rather than putting them into practice in order to cultivate their soul, in peace. They consider the Neoptolemus� saying as an axiom: do not philosophize at all, or just take these notions for fun as few, simple, fairy tales.»
6 Literally as deeply investigated things. More essential translation is proposed by Glenn Wallis, 17: (to have)� very certain (before our eyes and hands).
7 I am translating in this way studium sapientiae, which is to be regarded as an etymological reflection of the Greek . In this case like in many others, the humanistic Latin of Pico clearly refers to a long classical and patristic tradition.
8 Cf. Pico, Letter to Andrea Corneus (quoted): «.Would it be therefore illiberal, or not proper at all, that a noble man pursued wisdom for free? Who could listen to or tolerate such a thing without getting angry? Whoever has philosophized so that he might be able, or even wanted, not to philosophize, never philosophized. This person has sold a product, but didn�t do any philosophy.»
9 Literally so that one may see (Glenn Wallis, 17).
10 befriend (Livermore Forbes, 238).
11 Here, the past participle accepta is used by Pico with an active value.
12 Cf. Glenn Wallis, 17.
13 Literally box or money-box (Glenn Wallis, 17), or strongbox, but see also treasury (Livermore-Forbes, 238).
14 Cf. Glenn Wallis, 18; but see also the truth I have ever longed for above all things (Livermore-Forbes, 238).
15 This translation is justified by the comparison with a passage of the already quoted Letter to Andrea Corneus, in which Pico reveals his idea on the opposition between active and contemplative life: «But you might say: I want you to embrace Martha without abandoning Mary in the meanwhile. I do not refuse this point of view, neither condemn it nor accuse the person who upholds it. But stating that it is not a mistake to switch from contemplative to public life is a very different thing from regarding the person, who does not want to change from the first one to the second, as affected by a form of laziness; or even as guilty or responsible for a crime.»
16 this disputation of mine (Glenn Wallis, 18); this very disputation of mine (Livermore Forbes, 239).
17 Literally vocal opponents. Oblatrator: «the voice (�denigrator�) is only in Sidon. Epist. I, 3, 2 and IV, 22, 6.» [Bausi 1996, 136]
18 Literally to denigrate and mistrust.
19 The term barzel occurs 76 times in the Old Testament and appears for the first time in Gen 4, 22: all of the occurrences refer, either literally or metaphorically, to the significance of iron. The metaphorical aspect that interests us here is one that alludes to the ideas of physical force, harshness, difficulty, and resistance. Grinding iron against iron symbolizes the way in which a sage tempers the presence of another person�s spirit in such a way that, as a result, the latter�s ability to react will become razor sharp. Cf. for example, Prov. 27, 17: «Ferrum ferro exacuitur,/Et homo exacuit faciem amici sui» («Iron sharpens itself with iron/and man sharpens the intelligence of his companion.») Cf. Cicognani 1963, 119 (in my translation): «In the Talmud the wise are likened to iron, which is grinded and sharpened by beating two pieces against each other. See the Babylonian Talmud. Discussed Tá �anith, p. 7 a. �Rab Hammah observes: what is the significance of the text of Prov. XXVII, 17: �iron and iron together?� As it occurs among instruments of iron, where one sharpens the other, so it is also the case among two wise men that sharpen themselves against one another.»
20 «Triquetrus aspectus (the 120� angle formed by the position of the two planets in question) is [�] a technical term of astrology: cf. Pliny the Elder, Nat. II, 77» [Bausi 1996, 132]. Cf. Carena 1994, 75 (in my translation): «Triquetrus, said of a celestial body at a distance of one third of the zodiac from another body, or rather that forms with that body one side of an equilateral triangle in the zodiac.» Cf. also Cicognani 1963, 119 (in my translation): «The astrological viewpoint spoken of here is called �in triangular aspect,� which means that the two visuals construct a 120� angle, namely one of the most favorable aspects; and the desired philosopher will have to the highest degree the conjunction of hermetic intelligence (Mercury) and belligerent power of Mars.»
21 Literally they desire�that Mars face Mercury directly from a horizontal trine.
22 quas incidi angustias. Note the transitive use of incidere with the simple accusative, stated in poetry (cf. Lucretius, IV, 568), in post-classic Latin (Solinus, Tacitus, and above all Apuleius, with four examples in Metamorphoses) and in the Christian authors. [Bausi 1996, 140]
23 Literally to what post I have been assigned. The middle-passive tone it acquires here also seems implicit in Garin-Tognon�s free translation, 35: in che posizione mi trovo (in what position I find myself).
24 Cf. Job, 32, 8. In reality, the Vulgate states that the spirit is present in men. Cf. Chaim Wirszubski, 1969, 171-179 and 1989, 29 et al., on the peculiarity of the interpretation of the book of Job put forth by Pico and, consequently, of the translation proposed by him. Pico was heavily influenced by Kabalistic literature as well as by Jewish mysticism, philosophy and theology, namely the Medieval texts of Moses ben Maimon (alias Maimonides: 1135-1204) and of Levi ben Gershom (1288-1344). Gershom�s Comment on the Book of Job had been translated by Flavius Mithridates, and it was this version that Pico read. More specifically, for the passage that interests us, it seems important to mention the mediation of the Comment to the Pentateuch by Menahem of Recanati, otherwise known as Menachem rekanatensis vel de Recineto, translated, though sometimes inappropriately, by Flavius Mithridates.
25 Literally I will have said.
26 The construction peculiare quod is of classical background and is stated, for example, in Pliny the Elder (Nat. XVII, 129). [Bausi 1996, 140]