In praise of women: Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti's 'Gynevera de le clare donne'

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Abstract

Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti’s 'Gynevera de le clare donne', a manuscript collection of 31 female biographies, completed in early 1492, aimed to defend, and even to normalize, the exercise of political authority by elite women. Based loosely on Giovanni Boccaccio’s 'De mulieribus claris', but written in Italian, not Latin, it departed radically from its model by excluding women who had acquired notoriety through wickedness or been undone by the supposedly innate failings of their sex. Instead, it focused on those who had achieved worldly renown through remarkable, but always virtuous, conduct. This essay analyses the cultural and political context of this text and why it found favour with women such as the young Isabella d’Este, marchioness of Mantua.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Intellectual Dynamism of the High Middle Ages
EditorsClare Monagle
Place of PublicationAmsterdam The Netherlands
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Chapter14
Pages297-315
Number of pages19
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)978904537174
ISBN (Print)9789462985933
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameKnowledge Communities
PublisherAmsterdam University Press

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