An Introduction to Olympia Morata, a Forgotten, Feminist Voice from Sixteenth Century Italy
Webb, Val (Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN)
Sea Changes, Vol.1 (2001)
I met Olympia Morata in the British Library while searching for women lost from history. My search word ‘heroine’ uncovered an 1864 inspirational collection Heroines of the Household. Olympia was the first entry. This paper is a report of my ongoing research on this elusive woman, including an analysis of how successive biographers determined her historical oblivion.
The Sixteenth Century northern Italian Renaissance city of Ferrara vied with Florence as a center for learning and the arts. Its universities drew scholars from across Europe, and poets Ariosto and Tasso, artists Titian and the Dossi brothers, roamed the court of the Duke of Este. Like other influential Italian families, the Estinis sought political alliances through marriage.