Lorenza Gianfrancesco – From Manuscript to Print: the Oziosi and Sileni Neapolitan Academies Tribute to Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

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Event Date: 17 – 18 September 2011
British Library Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB

The Italian Academies 1525–1700 Project presents:

THE FIRST INTELLECTUAL NETWORKS OF EARLY MODERN EUROPE

This major international conference is being hosted as part of the AHRC funded research project The Italian Academies 1525-1700: the first intellectual networks of early modern Europe.

Academies represent a vital and characteristic dimension of early modern culture.
There were ca. 600 Academies in Italy in the period 1525-1700. Frequently international in membership, and in correspondence with scholars across Europe, they were fundamental to the development of the intellectual networks later defined as the ‘République des Lettres’, and to the dissemination of ideas in early modern Europe. Their membership included pioneering scientists, writers, artists, political thinkers, and representatives of both sexes and all social classes. The interests of the Academies ranged from the humanities, to the figurative and performance arts, natural sciences and medicine; many were interdisciplinary in their outlook and activities.

However, the social and cultural phenomenon of the Italian Academies has hitherto attracted relatively little research due in part to the wide range of their interests and difficulties in accessing relevant information.

The conference aims to explore research questions raised by the activities of Academies in this period.

Lorenza Gianfrancesco (Royal Holloway, London) – From Manuscript to Print: the Oziosi and Sileni Neapolitan Academies Tribute to Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

In October 1611 the death of Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of Philip III of Spain, was followed by a series of tributes organised in key territories under Spanish domination. The funerary ceremony of Queen Margaret, which took place at Naples in March 1612, was one of the most monumental events organised in the Kingdom of Naples during the seventeenth century. This saw the involvement of two academies: the Oziosi and the Sileni which worked together to write verses and devise encomiastic iconography publicly displayed during the Queen’s funerary tribute. By analysing the printed account of that event published in Naples in 1612 and its surviving manuscript, this paper will attempt to answer the following questions:

What was the position of the tribute of Queen Margaret within the Neapolitan tradition of public funerary celebrations? What was the political significance of that event? To what extent was this event used to strengthen the alliance between Spanish authorities and some groups within Neapolitan society? What position did the Oziosi and the Sileni academies play in ensuring that the tribute to Queen Margaret would combine art and politics? What are the differences between the manuscript and the printed text of Queen Margaret’s Neapolitan tribute?

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