Raf Van Rooy (University of Oslo)
This semester's first Classics Seminar will be held by our Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow Dr. Raf Van Rooy. He will speak about Ippolita Maria Sforza as a student of Greek in Early 1460s Milan.
Ippolita Maria Sforza as a Female Student of Greek in Early 1460s Milan
When the language and literature of ancient Greece were being rehabilitated during the Renaissance, the students were first and foremost aspiring humanists, almost as a rule men. An early exception was Ippolita Maria Sforza (1445–1484), the eldest daughter of the Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza and a highly intelligent woman who produced numerous vernacular and Latin letters, three Latin orations, and a Latin poem. Two versions of the Greek grammar by the Byzantine émigré Constantine Lascaris (1434–1501) are dedicated to the young Ippolita, the one an autograph by Lascaris in the original Greek from the years 1462–65, the other a Latin verse translation of Lascaris’ grammar by the humanist Bonino Mombrizio (1424–ca. ?1478/82), dedicated to Ippolita in the years 1463–65.
In my presentation I will argue that Lascaris tutored Ippolita in early 1460s Milan, a teaching relationship in which Ippolita’s Latin teacher Baldo Martorelli took up a pivotal role by noting down Latin translations in Ippolita’s copy of Lascaris grammar. I will relate this to traces of Greek learning in Ippolita’s extant writings. In addition to discussing the triangular teaching relationship between Ippolita, Martorelli, and Lascaris, I will address two questions to the grammars by Lascaris and Mombrizio. Firstly, how did the Greek grammarian and his translator envisage Ippolita as a learner of Greek? Secondly, in what ways did this differ from approaches focused on (groups of) male students, if at all? My answers will be based on the (partly unedited) grammar manuscripts, both their dedicatory prologues and the contents of the grammars.