Battista Malatesta (c. 1384 – 1448), also known as Battista di Montefeltro forename also called Baptista, was an Italian Renaissance poet.
Baptista Malatesta was the daughter of Antonio II da Montefeltro, Count of Urbino, and the granddaughter of Federico II da Montefeltro. On 14 June 1405 she married Galeazzo Malatesta, the heir to the lordship of Pesaro. Galeazzo came to power in 1429 but was so hated as a ruler that, after two years of power in 1431, he was driven from his city. His wife thereupon found a refuge in her old home at Urbino. She lived for some twenty years a widowed and secluded life. She died, as a Sister of the Franciscan Order of Santa Chiara, in 1448.
De studiis et litteris
She was a learned woman of the aristocracy who was educated in philosophy and languages, and was a poet and orator. She corresponded with other scholars of her time such as Leonardo Bruni. Bruni's letter to Baptista Malatesta of Montefeltro, entitled De studiis et litteris, was written in the early 15th century (1424, to be precise). In it Bruni describes a course of study suitable for women, illustrating the belief, early on held by humanists, that classical studies are "worthy to be pursued by men and women alike." De studiis et litteris is the earliest known example of a humanist inter-gender dialogue about women's education.
The Emperor Sigismund when passing through Urbino in 1433 was greeted by her in a Latin oration, which half a century later was still thought worthy of print.
- Allen, Sister Prudence (2002). The concept of woman. 1250-1500 (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman. ISBN 0802833470.
- Bruni d'Arezzo, Leonardo (1912). W.H. Woodward, ed. Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (Hanover Historical Texts Project ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 119–33.
- Hankins, James (1990). Plato in the Italian Renaissance (2nd impression, with addenda and corrigenda. ed.). Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9004091610.
- Woodward, William Harrison (1920). Vittorino da Feltre and other humanist educators: essays and versions. An introduction to the history of classical education. University of California Libraries.
- Leonardo Bruni letter to Baptista di Montefeltro Leonardo Bruni d'Arezzo De Studiis et Litteris W.H. Woodward, ed., Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912), 119-33. Accessed September 2008
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