Laura Cereta: My Renaissance Hero

An Italian named Laura Cereta was an intellectual woman ahead of her time. She is my hero because she pushed it to the limit. Cereta insisted on having intellectual conversations with both men and women during a time when women we not supposed to do so.

She was a writer who lived from 1469–1499, and was a well known humanist and feminist of the Renaissance Period. How sad that she died younger than I. I would love to locate the archive where her original writings can be found- if not, I guess a secondary source in the form of a book would do. Most of her writing was in the form of personal letters to scholarly men. There must be a private collection of her original works somewhere?

The subject of her letters, many of which she published on her own in a book included: enlightenment; war; death; fate; and the oppression of married women. Check out this awesome letter I found online. Of course~ an archivist would need to verify the accuracy of this internet source.
Laura Cereta’s “Letter to Bibulus Sempronius”

You [Bibulus] brashly and publicly not merely wonder but indeed lament that I am said to possess as fine a mind as nature ever bestowed upon the most learned man. You seem to think so learned a woman has scarcely before been seen in the world. You are wrong …. for you have ceased to be a living man, but become animated stone; having rejected the studies which make men wise, you rot in torpid leisure. The explanation is clear: women have been able by nature to be exceptional, but have chosen lesser goals. For some women are concerned with parting their hair correctly, adorning themselves with lovely dresses, … or standing at mirrors to smear their lovely faces. But those in whom a deeper integrity yearns for virtue, restrain from the start their youthful souls, reflect on higher things, harden the body with sobriety and trials, and curb their tongues, open their ears, compose their thoughts in wakeful hours, their minds in contemplation to letters bonded to righteousness. For knowledge is not given as a gift, but [is gained] with diligence. Nature has generously lavished its gifts upon all people, opening to all the doors of choice through which reason sends envoys to the will …. You pretend that I alone am admirable because of the good fortune of my intellect. But I, compared to other women who have won splendid renown, am but a little mousling.

Explore posts in the same categories: Edification, History, Humanities, Knowledge, Legends, Mind, Philosophy, Scholarship, Women, Worthy Reads, Writers, Writing

One Comment on “Laura Cereta: My Renaissance Hero”

  1. Sahm King Says:

    Indeed. I wonder how much better this world would have turned out had men encouraged equality (especially acceptance of the great intellectual capacities) of women? How much less myopic we would be? A thought.

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