Cassandra Fedele

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17th century portrait. The template for the picture from Tomasini's edition of Cassandra Fedele's writings was an oil painting in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan) .

Cassandra Fedele (* 1465 in Venice , † 24 / 25. March 1558 ibid) was an Italian humanist .


Her father encouraged her early interest in classical languages. Later he studied dialectics and philosophy with a private tutor. However, she was denied university studies. In 1487 Cassandra was asked by the University of Padua to give a speech in praise of the sciences at a graduation ceremony. Her " Oratio " was soon distributed in print and her female scholarship soon penetrated as far as Germany (Nuremberg edition 1489).

Around 1500 Cassandra Fedele married a doctor from Vicenza , which marked the end of her studies. She and her husband spent a few years on the Mediterranean island of Crete . On the return trip, the couple lost all their belongings in a shipwreck. When Cassandra's husband died on May 1, 1521, she resumed her studies. Since her husband had lost his inheritance in the shipwreck on the high seas, Cassandra lived in poverty. She received little support from her family. In her need, Cassandra Fedele asked Pope Leo X (1475–1521) unsuccessfully for support. Only Paul III. (1468–1549), whom she also asked for help, brought about her appointment to the Senate of Venice as prioress of the orphanage attached to the Church of San Domenico di Castello . The ninety-year-old had her last appearance when she gave a speech to welcome the Polish Queen Mother Bona Sforza .

Angelo Poliziano (1454–1494) called it an "ornament of Italy". Her poetic and musical talent was praised, but only letters and speeches from her have survived.


  • Franco Pignatti:  Fedele (Fedeli), Cassandra. In: Fiorella Bartoccini (ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 45:  Farinacci – Fedrigo. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1995, pp. 566-568.
  • Margaret L. King; Rabil, Albert Jr .: Her immaculate hand. Selected works by and about women humanists of Quattrocento Italy . Binghamton, NY 1983. (Without the original Latin text.) (Rev. ed. 1992)
  • Margaret L. King: Women of the Renaissance . Chicago 1991 (German translation: Women in the Renaissance . From the English by Holger Fliessbach. Beck, Munich 1993)
  • Diana Robin: Cassandra Fedele's Epistolae (1488-1521): Biography as Effacement . In: Thomas Mayer (Ed.): The Rhetoric of Life-Writing in the Renaissance . Ann Arbor, Michigan 1994
  • Sarah Gwyneth Ross: Her Father's Daughter: Cassandra Fedele, Woman Humanist of the Venetian Republic . In: Anu Korhonen, Kate Lowe (Eds.): The Trouble with Ribs: Women, Men and Gender in Early Modern Europe . Helsinki 2007, pp. 204–222 (COLLEGIUM. Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2) Limited preview of ResearchGate

Web links


  1. Scheda with black and white photo at LombardiaBeniCulturali; Color illustration ( memento of the original from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at gettyimages. There are also medals preserved: Marburg image index @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /