Giovanni Gioviano Pontano (1426–1503) was an important humanist and scholar of Renaissance Italy, the presiding spirit of the Accademia Pontaniana, and chief minister and tutor to the Aragonese Kings of Naples. He was also the most innovative and versatile Latin poet of Quattrocento Italy. His Two Books of Hendecasyllables, given the subtitle Baiae by their first editor Pietro Summonte, experiment brilliantly with the metrical form associated principally with the ancient Latin poet Catullus. The poems are the elegant offspring of Pontano’s leisure, written to celebrate love, good wine, friendship, nature, and all the pleasures of life to be found at the seaside resort of Baiae on the Bay of Naples. They are translated here for the first time into English.
Pontano's Baiae have now appeared in an elegant and lucid English translation by Rodney G. Dennis in the I Tatti Renaissance Library; like all the volumes in this superb new series, the book has been beautifully produced… The I Tatti volumes with their royal blue covers, spacious layout of both Latin text and facing translation, and discreet but detailed annotation, are a bibliophile's delight. Pontano, a discriminating bookman, would have been pleased.
Rodney G. Dennis is the retired Curator of Manuscripts at Houghton Library of the Harvard College Library.