Although the Real Academia Española was not founded officially until 1714, this “founding” was merely an official sanctioning of a long tradition of academias which flourished all through the previous century. Most of the great writers, poets, and artists of the Golden Age belonged to or took part in one or more of the then small, informal gatherings known as academias, which were not unlike the salon so popular in France during the same period, from which the official French Academy grew. Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, and Guillén de Castro all took active part in one or more of these groups. For example, in some extant letters written by Lope de Vega, we find numerous references to these academias and to his part in them. He also included scenes in his comedias which either parody or reflect the academia of his day. Reference will be made to some of these later.