April A to Z Challenge 2016

P: Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia

PGreat women in history are not always born into their destiny. They aren’t always these rebellious people who have a burning desire to forge their own path. Sometimes they need a guiding hand to push them in the right direction. One such example of this is Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia.

Elena, a Venitian, born in June 1646 was a child prodigy. She could speak speak Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and French. Additionally, she was a talented musician. By the age of seventeen she could play a handful of instruments and composed her own music.

Her father encouraged her to attend the University of Padua. There she studied mathematics, theology, and philosophy. Elena’s favorite subject was theology. So when the time came she applied for a doctorate in the subject.  However, the local clergy would have none of this. A woman could not hold a doctorate in theology! It was a preposterous notion. With the encouragement of her father she applied again for the degree and again she was denied.

Her father wouldn’t let her give up. and soon a compromise was reached. Elena received a doctorate in philosophy. By this time Elena was the talk of Venice. Everyone wanted to see piscopiaher give her interview to the examiners. They had to move the location somewhere secret. After Elena passed her test her commencement had to be moved to a cathedral to accommodate everyone who showed up to watch the woman they called The Daughter of Venice.

After Elena received her degree she joined a convent. She had a number of marriage proposals but she turned them all down. She spent her remaining days as a scholar and helping the poor.

For some Elena inspired literature check out these books:

  1.  Venice: Pure City
  2. The Guilded Hour

 

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