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Dialogues, Volume 2: Actius

Dialogues, Volume 2: Actius

Giovanni Gioviano Pontano

Edited and translated by Julia Haig Gaisser

ISBN 9780674237186

Publication date: 09/15/2020

Giovanni Gioviano Pontano (1429–1503) served five kings of Naples as a courtier, official, and diplomat, and earned even greater fame as a scholar, prose author, and poet. His Dialogues reflect his diverse interests in religion, philosophy, and literature, as well as in everyday life in fifteenth-century Naples. They are especially important for their vivid picture of the contemporary gatherings of Pontano and his friends in the humanist academy over which he presided from around 1471 until shortly before his death.

Volume 2 includes the Actius, named for one of its principal speakers, the great Neo-Latin poet Jacopo Sannazaro, and contains a perceptive treatment of poetic rhythm, the first full treatment of the Latin hexameter in the history of philology. The dialogue continues with a discussion of style and method in history writing, a landmark in the history of historiography. This is a new critical edition of the Actius and the first translation of this dialogue into English.


  • Volume Two of the I Tatti edition of Pontano’s five dialogues epitomizes the three volumes as a whole. The Latin text and editions are of the highest quality. The translation of the Actius, and the other dialogues, is eloquent and accurate. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy because of the challenges present in these dialogues…It is truly masterful work.

    —Brian Maxson, Bryn Mawr Classical Review


  • Julia Haig Gaisser is Eugenia Chase Guild Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and Professor Emeritus of Latin at Bryn Mawr College.

Book Details

  • 480 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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