Isabella D'Este

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Isabella d’Este

Isabella d’Este was one of the most innovative, and influential women of the Renaissance era. She set an example for all women to break away from the traditional roles of society and to become known. She aided Mantua in a time of need while, her husband was captured and held hostage in Venice, she had obtained a collection of beautiful things and antiques which she was passionate, yet greedy about. She was also a very well educated woman which was not considered normal in that time. Born in Ferrara, in Northern Italy, in May of 1474, Isabella was the first daughter of Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Leonora of Naples, daughter of Ferdinand I of Naples, the Aragonese King of Naples, and Isabella of Taranto. She had an equally famous younger sister, Beatrice d’Este. Her father, Ercole strongly believed in equality, which led to her and five siblings to be well-educated. Beatrice, Isabella and their four brothers had a very humanistic education that they received from their tutor Battista Guarino. At sixteen, Isabella could speak Greek and Latin was able to play the lute, sing, dance and debate with elders fabulously. Also when she was sixteen she married Francesco Gonzaga, who was twenty-five at the time. He was the Marquis of Mantua or prince, who she thought to be “ugly, but a strong, brave, gentleman.” Once she was married she moved to Mantua which is in today’s Lombardy, Italy. In 1509, when her husband was captured and held hostage in Venice, Isabella took control of the military and held off invaders until her husband’s return in 1512. Many townsfolk thought that she was a tougher ruler than her husband and might be better suited for the role, but her husband’s return allowed her to live glamorously for the rest of his life. She then ruled Mantua again as a regent for her son Fredrick. During this time she began to play an important role in Italian politics, which steadily advanced Mantua’s position. She helped to...
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