The story of how souls stood in ranks in front of Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos just before choosing
the form of their next reincarnations is a place to which Plato’s readers kept going back throughout
the centuries. Seeking to find answers, they often found new questions. For Plato’s splendid narrative
at the very end of the Republic, also known as the ‘Myth of Er’ (X.614-621), is in itself ambiguous,
defending and threatening at the same time the soul’s capability for self-determination. This paper
will discuss how this myth was received by Plato’s most famous Renaissance translator and
interpreter, the Italian Marsilio Ficino. It will focus, in particular, on Ficino’s understanding of the
delicate relation between the Fates spinning the ‘Spindle of Necessity’ and the soul’s free agency.

Presented by Anna Corrias (HPI)