Giovanni Pontano

(1426 - 1503)

Throughout his forty-eight-year career as a diplomat in the service of the Aragonese kings of Naples, Giovanni Pontano wrote poems, histories, and philosophical tracts. His treatise On Prudence, published circa 1499, rebuts a claim made by Herodotus that two of the happiest people in history were a pair of young brothers granted a painless death after performing a great act of filial piety. “No one thinks that a dead man can be happy,” Pontano writes. “And in the end, human happiness will be spoiled by mosquitoes, flies, and fleas.”

Issues Contributed