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.