Foro di studi avanzati Gaetano Massa
Foro di Studi Avanzati has its origins as an association of scholars under the aegis of Dr. Gaetano Massa and Prof. Riccardo Campa in Rome and New York. Dr. Gaetano Massa [1911-2009] was a scholar, journalist, and librarian of the art and literatures of Italy, Iberia and Latin America. Prof. Riccardo Campa [1934-] is a scholar of philosophy, literature and the cultures of Italy, Spain and Latin America and a colleague of Borges and Montale. Both remain profound patrons of the Republic of Letters to whom we all are all indebted. Supported by the Instituto e Biblioteca Italo-Latino Americano, the Monsignor Jannone Foundation of Rome and private sponsors, they organized meetings of the Instituto Italo-Latino Americano in Italy, Spain, and Latin America, and symposia of The International Society for Aristotelian Studies and The International Society for Neoplatonic Studies in Rome and New York. At the Academia Real de Espana in Rome on June 25th 2013 the Foro di Studi Avanzati was established with the signing of its inaugural Statuto. On June 17th 2015 the FSA Buenos Aires Declaration was published to inaugurate our annual FSA/Roma conferences sponsored in part by The Institute at Caesars Head Ltd. USA. Foro di Studi Avanzati has as its model symposia held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during the winter of 1951-1952 and were attended by Gaetano Massa. In symposia, Kristeller, Cassirer, Sarton, Bainton and Panofsky devoted themselves to the cultural background of a given period, mapping it from different points of view. Burckhardt’s Die Zeit Constantin’s des Grossen, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien and Croce’s Estetica framed the horizons of these conferences. Broadly speaking, the age of Diocletian marked a stage in the transition from the late classical civilizations of the Roman Empire to the Christian-Romano-Germanic civilizations of the early Middle Ages. The Renaissance marked for mid-twentieth century scholarship a dialectical transition from the fully developed civilization of the high Middle Ages to the modern world. Late Antiquity is recognized today similarly as a pivotal age of inheritance and transition and is included in our research programs. Foro di Studi Avanzati maintains the spirit of Gaetano Massa and Riccardo Campa by supporting the Humanities as classically defined, emphasizing that its histories, literatures, arts, languages, philosophy and religions still speak to us in a modern age. Humanista, coined at the height of the Renaissance period in Italy, was derived from an older term – studia humanitatis. In the general sense, it was a literary education in a style advocated by Cicero and Gellius. To be revived by Petrarch, Pico, Ficino and Cusanus it remained the basis for university curricula into modernity. Both terms stood for a clearly defined cycle of 2 scholarly disciplines – grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy read in the context of Latin and to a lesser extent, Greek sources. Texts studied derived not only from Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Boethius in the original; but also from a variety of newly discovered writings. Hence Seneca, Plutarch, Pindar, Pausanius, Plautus, Lucian, Terence, Diogenes Laertius, Sextus Empiricus and Plotinus became part of a renaissance and later modern canons. Moreover, the sources of Neoplatonic theurgy and religion, and the apocryphal works attributed to the Pythagoreans, Orpheus, Zoroaster and Hermes Trismegistus were also introduced to be currently studied from the precipice of Nag Hammadi and later Platonism. Such remains possible because Chrysoloras suggested the first Latin translations of Plato’s Republic while Plethon’s visit to Florence in 1438 left a deep impression. So much so that Cardinal Bessarion’s defense of Plato over Aristotle exercised influence not only into the sixteenth century but into contemporary debate as well. It was a Renaissance belief in the value of learning as the molder of character derived from a study of the philosophy, theology, aesthetics, religion, and the arts that defines Foro di Studi Avanzati as a collegia academicae. As humanista dedicated to a studia humanitatis our amici academicae and artis map connections between ancient, medieval, renaissance and modern worlds. Indeed, we are perhaps akin to Poggio, who like a pig to truffles unearthed in the Swiss monastery of St. Gall the entire works of Quintilian, the poems of Lucretius, discourses by Cicero, treatises on architecture by Vitruvius and on agriculture by Columella, and celebrated in Rome. And we follow the examples, as best we can, of three popes: Nicholas V, who created a fitting setting for this great library by housing it in the Vatican Library, its books exquisitely bound in red velvet with silver caps; and Sixtus VI and Alexander VI who invited philosophers, rhetoricians, poets, historians, philologists, grammarians and professori of Latin and Greek to the Vatican Library for study. Much more modestly indeed, FSA welcomes its amici yearly to Casa Filippini in Rome – where under the aegis of Pio IX and Cardinale Cremonesi- we engage in studies of ancient, medieval, renaissance and early modern texts and contexts.