This volume presents in translation 100 previously unknown letters of Ippolita Maria Sforza (1445–1488), daughter of the Duke of Milan, who was sent at age twenty to marry the son of the infamously brutal King Ferrante of Naples. Sforza’s letters display the adroit diplomacy she used to strengthen the alliance between Milan and Naples, then the two most powerful states in Italy, amid such grave crises as her brother’s assassination in Milan and the Turkish invasion of Otranto. Still, Ippolita lived as a hostage at the Neapolitan court, subject not only to the threat of foreign invasion but also to her husband’s well-known sexual adventures and her father-in-law’s ruthlessness. Soon after Ippolita’s mysterious death in 1488, the fraught Naples-Milan alliance collapsed.
"In Duchess and Hostage in Renaissance Naples: Letters and Orations, Diana Robin and Lynn Westwater offer a riveting new volume for the Other Voice series. They provide consistently excellent translations of Sforza’s distinctive and sometimes downright peculiar Italian and Latin originals. Readers will also find meticulous historical contextualization in the editors’ analytical introduction, and in the individual summaries that begin each section of texts. Ippolita Maria Sforza adds a different type of protagonist to the growing roster of “other voices,” showing us an Italian noblewoman maneuvering with confidence and dexterity not only in the literary domain but also in that of formal politics."
Sarah Gwyneth Ross
Associate Professor and Director of the History Core, History Department, Boston College
DIANA ROBIN is Professor Emerita of Classics at the University of New Mexico, Scholar in Residence at the Newberry Library, and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. She has published extensively on women and humanism in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy.
LYNN LARA WESTWATER is Associate Professor of Italian at The George Washington University. She has published widely on early modern Italian women’s writing.
Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017
The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 55
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 518
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