Convivial Humanism: Giovanni Pontano (1426-1503) on the Art of Living Together
Renaissance humanists aspired to revive and imitate classical antiquity in a number of cultural fields, including in the field of social relations. During the fifteenth century, the social ritual of the symposium, or literary drinking party all’antica, flourished in humanist centres throughout Italy. My project explores the convivial practices of the Accademia Pontaniana, the earliest and among the most influential academies of the Italian Quattrocento. This academy received its name from Giovanni Pontano, first minister at the Aragonese court of Naples, humanist, astrologer, neo-Latin poet, and symposiast. My aim is to understand how conviviality shaped Pontano’s social outlook, scholarly practice, and poetics, and to shed light upon a humanist revival with enormous consequences for European intellectual history.