Mario Equicola’s De Natura d’amore: Love and Knowledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mario Equicola’s encyclopedic treatise De Natura d’amore [On the Nature of Love] may be an “arid tract,” but that did not stop it from being published in multiple editions in Italian and French for over a hundred years. The frequent reprinting of Equicola’s Natura d’amore is intriguing because it is a particularly dense and opaque scholarly text, which would seem to have little popular appeal. Equicola was a scholar at the court of Isabella d’Este, the Marchessa of Mantua, and the Natura d’amore was not originally conceived for a broad audience. The work is over four hundred pages long, and unlike most sixteenth-century philosophical texts on love, it is not written in the relatively accessible dialogue format. De Natura d’amore is encyclopedic in scope, but not in organization; it is repetitive, contradictory, and unfocused. There is no central thesis, just information—a torrent of facts, opinions, and citations. The method is not so much syncretic—like Ficino’s attempts to reconcile Classical philosophy and Christian doctrine—as accretive. Equicola loves to list things. To make matters worse, he chose to write in an odd blend of Italian and Latin, with torturous syntax and eccentric vocabulary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarly Modern Cultural Studies 1500-1700
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages44
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameEarly Modern Cultural Studies 1500-1700
ISSN (Print)2634-5897
ISSN (Electronic)2634-5900


  • Classical Authority
  • Human Love
  • Modern Writer
  • Moral Virtue
  • Sixteenth Century

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Linguistics and Language


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