Ippolita Maria Sforza

The Renaissance Princess Who Linked Milan and Naples


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About the Book

In April 1455, ten-year-old Ippolita Maria Sforza, a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Milan, was betrothed to the seven-year-old crown prince of the Kingdom of Naples as a symbol of peace and reconciliation between the two rival states. This first full-scale biography of Ippolita Maria follows her life as it unfolds at the rival courts of Milan and Naples amid a cast of characters whose political intrigues too often provoked assassinations, insurrections, and wars. She was conscious of her duty to preserve peace despite the strains created by her husband’s arrogance, her father-in-law’s duplicity, and her Milanese brothers’ contentiousness. The duchess’s intelligence and charm calmed the habitual discord between her families, and in time, her diplomatic savvy and her great friendship with Lorenzo de’ Medici of Florence made her a key player in the volatile politics of the peninsula for almost 20 years.
Drawing on her letters and contemporary chronicles, memoirs, and texts, this biography offers a rare look into the private life of a Renaissance woman who attempted to preserve a sense of self while coping with a tempestuous marriage, dutifully giving birth to three children, and supervising a large household under trying political circumstances.

About the Author(s)

Jeryldene M. Wood is an art historian and associate professor emerita of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Jeryldene M. Wood
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: 77 photos (8 in color), notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8047-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3916-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Family Trees xi
Principal Characters xv
Author’s Note on Renaissance Money, Time and Translations xvii
Introduction 1
1. Learning from the Past 11
2. Col tempo: Sforza’s Road to Milan 29
3. Most Faithful Daughter 41
4. Cultivating Virtue 55
5. Coming of Age 66
6. Divine Bride 78
Between pages 92 and 93 are 4 color plates
containing 8 photographs
7. Rex Triumphator: Aragonese Naples 93
8. Disillusionment 114
9. Return to Milan 132
10. Sister and Brother 141
11. The Politics of Marriage 157
12. Sea Changes 169
13. Conspiracy 180
14. War 193
15. Insurrection 203
16. Détente 216
Epilogue 233
Chapter Notes 239
Bibliography 263
Index 269