Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Translation of the Month

November 2016 [Posted December 2017]

Ippolita Maria Sforza. Duchess and Hostage in Renaissance Naples: Letters and Orations. Edited by Diana Robin and Lynn Lara Westwater. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series, 55. Iter Press and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017. ISBN 9780866985741.

Profile portrait of a young girl
Antonio del Pollaiolo, Profile portrait of a young girl, circa 1465, Florence. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie (Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.)

"This volume presents in translation 100 previously unknown letters of Ippolita Maria Sforza (1445–1488), daughter of the Duke of Milan, who was sent at age twenty to marry the son of the infamously brutal King Ferrante of Naples. Sforza's letters display the adroit diplomacy she used to strengthen the alliance between Milan and Naples, then the two most powerful states in Italy, amid such grave crises as her brother's assassination in Milan and the Turkish invasion of Otranto. Still, Ippolita lived as a hostage at the Neapolitan court, subject not only to the threat of foreign invasion but also to her husband's well-known sexual adventures and her father-in-law's ruthlessness. Soon after Ippolita's mysterious death in 1488, the fraught Naples-Milan alliance collapsed." -- Description from the publisher's website.

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women's and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

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