De Mulieribus Claris

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A miniature depicting a queen with four musicians from a c. 1440 illuminated version of the De Claris Mulieribus held by the British Museum[1]

De Mulieribus Claris or De Claris Mulieribus (Latin for "Concerning Famous Women") is a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, composed in Latin prose in 1361–1362. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in post-ancient Western literature.[2] At the same time as he was writing On Famous Women, Boccaccio also compiled a collection of biographies of famous men, De Casibus Virorum Illustrium (On the Fates of Famous Men).

The famous women[edit]

The Banquet of Cleopatra and Antony, a woodcut from a 1479 version of Giovanni Boccaccio's De Mulieribus Claris published in Ulm, Germany, which also depicts the suicides of Cleopatra and Antony[3]



  1. ^ Royal 16 G V fol. 3v
  2. ^ Boccaccio (2003), p. xi
  3. ^ Anderson (2003), p. 50.


  • Anderson, Jaynie (2003), Tiepolo's Cleopatra, Melbourne: Macmillan, ISBN 9781876832445.
  • Boccaccio, Giovanni (2003). Famous Women. I Tatti Renaissance Library. Vol. 1. Translated by Virginia Brown. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01130-9.
  • Boitani, Piero (1976). "The Monk's Tale: Dante and Boccaccio". Medium Ævum. 45 (1): 50–69. doi:10.2307/43628171. JSTOR 43628171.
  • Watanabe-O'Kelly, Helen (2010), Beauty Or Beast?: The Woman Warrior in the German Imagination from the Renaissance to the Present, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199558230

Further reading[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

  • Boccaccio, Poeet Ende Philosophe, Bescrivende van den Doorluchtighen, Glorioesten ende Edelsten Vrouwen (Antwerp, 1525)
  • Boccaccio, Tractado de John Bocacio, de las Claras, Excellentes y Mas Famosas y Senaladas Damas (Zaragoza, 1494)
  • Boccaccio, De la Louenge et Vertu des Nobles et Cleres Dames (Paris, 1493)
  • Boccaccio, De Preclaris Mulieribus (Strassburg, 1475)
  • Boccaccio, De Preclaris Mulieribus (Louvain, 1487)
  • Boccaccio, De Mulieribus Claris (Bern, 1539)
  • Boccaccio, De Mulieribus Claris (Ulm, 1473)
  • Boccaccio, French translation (Paris, 1405)

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Schleich, G. ed., Die mittelenglische Umdichtung von Boccaccio De claris mulieribus, nebst der latinischen Vorlage, Palaestra (Leipzig, 1924)
  • Wright, H.G., ed., Translated from Boccaccio's De Claris Mulieribus, Early English Text Society, Original series w/Latin (London, 1943)
  • Guarino, G. A., Boccaccio, Concerning Famous Women (New Brunswick, N.J., 1963)
  • Zaccaria, V., ed., De mulieribus claris with Italian translation (Milan, 1967 and 1970)
  • Branca, V., ed., Tutte le opere di Giovani Boccaccio, volume 10 (1967)[ISBN missing]
  • Zaccaria, V., ed., De mulieribus claris, Studi sul Boccaccio (Milan, 1963)
  • Kolsky, S. , Ghost of Boccaccio: Writings on Famous Women, (2005)
  • Franklin, M., Boccaccio's Heroines: Power and Virtue in Renaissance Society (2006)
  • Filosa, E., Tre Studi sul De mulieribus claris (2012)

External links[edit]