Founded in 1480 by Marsilius Ficinus, at Florence, under the patronage of Lorenzo de Medicis. This organization is said by the Freemasons of Tuscany to have been a secret society, and is supposed to have had a Masonic character, because in the hall where its members held their meetings, and which Doctor Mackey reported was remaining in his time, many Masonic symbols are to be found. Clavel (page 65, third edition, 1844) supposes it to have been a society founded by some of the honorary members and patrons of the Fraternity of Freemasons who existed in the Middle Ages, and who, having abandoned the material design of the Institution, confined themselves to its mystic character. If his suggestion be correct, this is one of the earliest instances of the separation of Speculative from Operative Masonry.
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