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.
About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
Table: Source Texts of Translated Letters 57
1 Travels in Lombardy: Letters 1-22 (1453-1465) 61
2 Marriage and Betrayal: Letters 23-28 (1465-1466) 80
3 Between Milan and Naples: Letters 29-36 (1466-1467) 89
4 Galeazzo's Marriage and Bianca Maria Visconti's Death: Letters 37-45 (1467-1468) 97
5 The Ambassadors: Letters 46-67 (1469-1475) 108
6 Cholera: Letters 68-75 (1475-1476) 127
7 Assassination and the Struggle for Succession: Letters 76-83 (1477-1479) 134
8 Pazzi Conspiracy and the Ottoman Invasion of Otranto: Letters 84-93 (1479-1482) 145
9 Ippolita and Lorenzo: Letters 94-100 (1482-1486) 156
Wedding Oration for Tristano Sforza and Beatrice d'Este (1455) 173
Oration for Pope Pius II (1459) 185
Oration for Bianca Maria Visconti (1465) 191
Glossary of Names 197