The Honest Courtesan During the Italian Renaissance

In: Historical Events

Submitted By ctalentino
Words 1944
Pages 8
Kathleen Talentino
Professor Dr. Duff Sutherland
HIST 106
December 4, 2006

Research Essay
The Honest Courtesan during the Italian Renaissance

The honest courtesan, also known as “cortigiana oneste” in Italy, contributed to the development of the intellectual and cultural revolution of the Italian Renaissance. This was during a time which the status of women struggled against that of their male counterparts. During this revolution, upper class women had less power politically and socially than women of the medieval era, and were confined to the opinion that their attention should be focused on domestic affairs. The honest courtesans were ambitious women who possessed all of the qualities of the male courtier, and maintained their sexual equality. The contributions of this elite group of women were in the areas of philosophical thought; historically through art and literature, and in development of the structure and function of human society. During the Renaissance, Italy experienced many revolutionary ideas, one of them known as Humanism. Humanism birthed the popularity of classical studies among the Italian elite of scholars, artists, writers and architects. This group of elite men were the forefathers of popular contemporary thought, and had the freedom to move in directions economically, socially, politically, emotionally, intellectually, and morally.[1] This idea changed life in Italy by individuals always striving to realize their human potential.[2] Often intellectual pursuits would be shared among their fellow man through conversation and study. The honest courtesan during this era was not merely a street walker only fulfilling the sexual prowess of her clients. She was a self educated woman with whom a man could hold an intellectual conversation, and at times, be challenged through intellectual thought. She was self sufficient and…...

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