Birgitte Thott

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Not to be confused with Brita Tott.
Birgitte Thott

Birgitte Thott (1610–1662) was a Danish translator, writer and feminist. She produced the first translations of Classical Roman literature into Danish.[1]


She was the daughter of noble Christen Thott (1568–1617) and Sophie Below (1590–1650). She married Otte Gøye (1604–1642) in 1632. She had no children, but raised two nieces as foster children. Thott directed her own education by hiring a great number of private teachers to assist her in her studies at her manor Turebygård on Själland after she was widowed in 1642. She became the most learned woman of her time in Denmark.


Among the 150 "learned women" from the 1650–1800 period, listed in encyclopedias as a so-called "gynæcéer", Thott is regarded as the most notable. She was famous by her contemporaries and praised by Ludvig Holberg, Otto Sperling and Ole Worm within art.

She is most famous for her translation of Seneca from Latin, his work Philosophus (1658) in particular. She completed the first translations of Roman Classical literature into Danish. She argued that women should have access to Seneca even if they could not read Latin, pointed out that Seneca had a positive attitued toward education for women. She presented the idea, that education should be accessible for both genders.[1]

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago[edit]

Under the spelling Bridget Tott, her name is included as one of the 999 women appearing in American artist Judy Chicago's installation work The Dinner Party. She is included in the Heritage Floor part of the installation.



  1. ^ a b Churchill, Laurie J.; Brown, Phyllis R.; Jeffrey, Jane E. (2002). Women writing Latin : from Roman antiquity to early modern Europe. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415942470.