Ficino was fascinated by Plato and tried to imitate him in almost all respects. He made his
estate in the Florentine countryside like that of Plato’s near Athens. The stone pines at
Montevecchio were intended to play the role of the platanus trees in the Academy’s groves.
The Terzolle brook corresponded to the Cephissus River. On the walls of the lecture hall
where the members gathered, over time various fitting maxims appeared (just as in the
Athenian Academy): “A bono in bonum omnia dirigentur” (“Everything comes from the
good and returns to the good”), “Fuge excessum, fuge negotia, laetus in praesens” (“Avoid
excess, flee from troubles, rejoice in the present moment”). In the hall there was also a bust of Plato before which burned an eternal lamp. Like Plato, Ficino opened his home to his friends, whom came to be called academics (Academici). Their master was called princeps Academicorum. The place where they met came to be called the Accademia Carregiana.
With Ficino’s growing fame, he was called the “second Plato” (alter Plato), and the title of
academic was an honorary distinction bestowed by Ficino himself. In this way he gathered
around himself a circle of persons known as Ficiniani (at the Academy there were also the
Pichiani or disciples of Pico, and the Savonaroliani or disciple of Savonarola). He created a
community of “brothers in Plato” (fratres in Platone) who were the “Platonic family”
(Platonica familia). He became the “father” (pater Platonicae familiae). They greeted each
other with the words “salus in Platone” (“good health in Plato”). The basic conditions for
membership were erudition, moral probity and friendship with Ficino.
Marian Ciszewski, Universal Encyclopedia of Philosophy