Friday, June 26, 2009

ROME: Laura Cereta

Laura Cereta
Laura Cereta was born in Italy in an aristocratic family around 1469. She was a feminist during the renaissance era. Her form of writing was letters to other writers and intellectuals of her time period. She was taught both languages, Latin and Greek which opened many doors for her. When she turned seven years old, she was taken to a convent were she was taught skills such as reading and writing as well as religion. As a child she was very fragile and suffered diverse illnesses. Being the eldest of all six children, at the age of nine years old she went back home to take care of her younger brothers and sisters. At the age of fifteen, she married Pietro Serina. Laura Cereta became a widow after a year and two months of marriage, and pursued a writing career publishing her first set of letters in 1488 titled, “Epistolae familiars.”

Laura Cereta wrote a letter in January 13th of 1488 titled, "Letter to Bibulus Sempronius,” which became one of her best known works. In her letter she talks about her possessing great intelligence just as men did. Cereta also emphasizes that all the previous ideologies about women and their lack of thought and incapability to take care of themselves are wrong.

Laura Cereta argues that women were granted by nature to be outstanding, but they just preferred not to have so many goals. She states that there are two types of women. There are women who have chosen to be animated stones, giving up intelligence and knowledge that would make them wise as men. These types of women according to Laura Cereta are concerned with their appearance; they love dresses, accessories, and spent all day looking at themselves in the mirror. On the other hand, she said there are women who chose to have a profound honor in their personas and desired to be virtuous. These women had opened their ears; restrain their tongues and minds to expose their thoughts. Cereta also states that these women would write letters to intellectual about what was righteous.

Laura Cereta accentuates that wisdom is not granted as a gift or talent; it is a skill that must be developed with education. She stressed that men envied her because of her intellect because it went against all their ideologies. Indeed, men opposed to her writing and went to the extreme of accusing her of plagiarism because a woman could not write that well, neither had the capabilities to learn other languages and write fluently in these, very typical ideologies of these time frame.
By: Iliana L.

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