Giovanni Pontano (1458-1530) was a key figure in the court of Alfonso ‘the Magnanimous’ in Naples, and amongst the many early works he wrote for his patron was the long poem Parthenopeus (c.1450) which was a eulogy of sort to Bacchus and the restorative powers of wine. This was one of the first works of the Renaissance period written about the god Bacchus in a non-Christian context. Bacchus of course, had for some time been dealt a harsh blow to his reputation, something I will muse on in a later post, but here in both these pieces we see the god Bacchus and wine being praised as restorative, the nurse of love, and the carer for the troubled soul.
Jacopo Sannazaro (1459-1530) wrote of Bacchus and of wine some 50 years after Pontano and albeit in quite a very different pastoral style, but he still mused that wine was restorative and could bring peace to a troubled soul. In his Elegies (2.5) he wrote of Bacchus :
“Holy father, drive away my gnawing cares: clear my clouded breast with aged wine. Bring quiet slumbers to my breast, and enlighten my weary eyes with your inspiration…And provide me with responsive Muses and visit me graciously, your divinity peacefully disposed.”
Till the next meandering…..