This book argues that in three of his early vernacular romances, Boccaccio, working with descriptive language, not with sketches or plastic imitations, presented to his contemporaries for the first time a vast and persuasive picture of an essential aspect of Greek and Roman Antiquity, the details of pre-Christian religious practices. Imitating literary works where the Romans described these practices, Boccaccio represented the ritual and physical details of pagan worship with its temples, cult images, altars, prayers and animal sacrifices. Such detailing is the necessary prelude to the many acts of imitation of the Antique that so preoccupied the painters, sculptors and decorative artists of the Renaissance. In it lies the beginning of modern archaeology.
New York, Bern, Frankfurt/M., Paris, 1991. 202 pp.
Contents: Italian literature - Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375) - Romance, late medieval and early Renaissance - Humanism -
History of classical scholarship - History of classical archaeology - Vergil - Ovid - Titus Livius.