Luisa Sigea de Velasco

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Luisa Sigea de Velasco (1522 in Tarancón – October 13, 1560 in Burgos), also known as Luísa Sigeia, Luísa Sigea Toledana and in the Latinized form Aloysia Sygaea Toletana, was a poet and intellectual of the 16th century, one of the major figures of Spanish humanism, who spent a good part of her life in the Portuguese court in the service of Maria of Portugal (1521–1577), as her Latin teacher. André de Resende wrote the following epitaph for her: Hic sita SIGAEA est: satis hoc: qui cetera nescit Rusticus est: artes nec colit ille bonas, (Loosely translated: Here lies Sigea; no more need be said; anyone who does not know the rest is an uneducated fool.)

Satyra Sotadica[edit]

In 1680 an erotic work was published, entitled Aloysiæ Sigeæ Toletanæ satyra sotadica de arcanis amoris et veneris: Aloysia hispanice scripsit: latinitate donavit J. Meursius. The title translates as "Luisa Sigea Toledana's Sotadic satire, on the secrets of love and sex; Luisa wrote it in Spanish; it has here been translated into Latin by J. Meursius." Johannes Meursius (1579 – 1639) was a Dutch classical scholar and antiquary. "Sotadic" refers to Sotades, the 3rd-century BC Greek poet who was the chief representative of a group of writers of obscene, and sometimes pederastic, satirical poetry.

This is widely considered the first-ever fully pornographic work written in Latin, and it contains among other things a defense of tribadism (i.e. lesbianism). The attribution to Sigea (as well as the attribution to Meursius) was a hoax, as was first demonstrated by Bruno Lavignini in his edition of the poem (Italy, 1905). It is believed that the true author was the Frenchman Nicolas Chorier. The work was translated into many other languages, including English, under the title Dialogues of Luisa Sigea.


  • Sintra, in António Maria Vasco de Melo César e Meneses, conde de Sabugosa, O Paço de Cintra, apontamentos historicos e archeologicos, Câmara Municipal de Sintra, 1989–1990, facsimile edition of that published by the Imprensa Nacional de Lisboa in 1903
  • Dialogue de deux jeunes filles sur la vie de cour et la vie de retraite (1552); edition and commentary by Odette Sauvage. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1970

Further reading[edit]

  • Ana Maria Alves, Comunicazione e silenzio in un diálogo umanistico. A propósito di Luísa Sigea, in Davide Bigalli e Guido Canziani (eds.), Il diálogo filosófico nel '500 europeo, Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi (Milano, 28-30 maggio 1987), Milano, FrancoAngeli, 1990
  • André de Resende, Ludovicae Sigaeae tumulus, Rio de Janeiro, 1981 (facsimile edition reproducing the edition Lisboa, 1561), ISBN 85-7017-016-5
  • Carolina Michaëlis de Vasconcellos, A Infanta D. Maria de Portugal (1521–1577) e as suas damas, Edição facsímile, Lisboa, CNCDP, 1994
  • Edward V. George, "Luisa Sigea (1522-1560): Iberian Scholar - Poet", in: Laurie J. Churchill, ed. Women Writing in Latin: from Roman Antiquity to Early Modern Europe. 3 vols. New York: Routledge, 2002; Vol. 3, pp. 167–187
  • Edward V. George, "Sly Wit and Careful Concession: Luisa Sigea’s Dialogue on Court versus Private Life", in: Studia Philologica Valentina, 4 n.s. 1 (2000), pp. 173–192
  • Ismael García Ramila, "Nuevas e interesantes noticias, basadas en fe documental, sobre la vida y descendencia familiar burgalesa de la famosa humanista, Luisa de Sigea, la 'Minerva' de los renacentistas", in Boletín de la Institución Fernán González, XXXVIII, 144 (1958), pp. 309–321; XXXVIII, 145 (1959), pp. 465–492; XXXVIII, 147 (1959), pp. 565–593
  • José Silvestre Ribeiro, Luiza Sigéa: breves apontamentos histórico-literários, Lisboa, Academia Real das Ciências de Lisboa, 1880
  • Manuel Serrano y Sanz, "Apuntes para una biblioteca de escritoras españolas, desde el año 1401 al 1833", Tomo II, Madrid, Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, 1905, pág. 394
  • Nicolas Chorier, Aloisiæ Sigeæ Toletanæ Satyra Sotadica de Arcanis Amoris et Veneris. Aloisa Hispanice scripsit, Latinitate donavit Joannes Meursius (or rather by Nicolas Chorier), Parisiis, 1885. 8vo. xxxvi+342 pp.
  • Paul-Auguste Allut, Aloysia Sygea et Nicolas Chorier. Lyon: N. Scheuring, 1862
  • Sira Lucía Garrido Marcos, Luisa Sigea Toledana, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (unpublished dissertation), 1955 (658 pp., T-7298)
  • Sol Miguel Prendes, "A Specific Case of the Docta Foemina: Luisa Sigea and her Duarum Virginum Colloquium de Vita Aulica et Privata", in: Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Abulensis: Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of NeoLatin Studies, (Ávila, 1997), Tempe, Ariz. : Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 2000
  • Susanne Thiemann, Vom Glück der Gelehrsamkeit: Luisa Sigea, Humanistin im 16. Jahrhundert, (Ergebnisse der Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung an der Freien Universität Berlin; No 9.), Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-8353-0018-0

External links[edit]