Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Platonic Relationship

Posted by Elyse Bruce on August 11, 2010

Plato’s ideal of a strong, pure, chaste, spiritual non-sexual love — as opposed to the heavy-breathing very physical sort of love spoken of by Socrates — was known in Latin as “amor Platonicus.” 

Florentine scholar, Marsilio Ficino (1433 – 1499), one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance and a reviver of Neoplatonism, re-introduced the term and concept of “platonic love” in his book,  De vita libri tres or The Book of Life written in 1489. 

Eventually the ideal of “platonic love” turned up in the English language around 1630 and was popularized in 1636 with the publication of Sir William Davenant’s book, Platonic Lovers.

Needless to say, a number of people have claimed there is nothing but a “platonic relationship” between them and their secret paramours for decades.   They are, of course, almost always stretching the truth.

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