Who was Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to receive a university doctorate in history

Memorial plaque of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia in Venice.  Photo: Julia Alegre

Memorial plaque of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia in Venice. Photo: Julia Alegre

In VeniceVisible to all, but not noticed by the eye that does not pay attention to detail, is a memorial plaque to the memory of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, It’s not easy to find, but it’s also not exceptionally hard to notice. It is located at the end of one of the busiest streets of the Italian city, which ends at the Grand Canal, near the wonderful, but crowded Rialto Bridge, where, no matter what time of year, tourists come to take photos, Collapsing City The general flow of walkers.

The rest of us are grateful to this woman for laying the first stone to break the glass ceiling in universities. Is The first person in the history of humanity to receive a doctorate degree When even dreaming of achieving that feat (even with study) was taboo for most of his contemporaries. Born on 5 June 1646 in the capital of the canals (with pardon from Amsterdam), her innate talent for letters and logical thinking soon became apparent to her parents. Such is the importance of his contribution (and the invisibility to which history has relegated him is worth noting). Google has dedicated its famous ‘doodle’ to him. On the occasion of the 373rd anniversary of his birth in 2019.

She was the third daughter of the nobleman Giovanni Battista Cornaro Piscopia and Zanetta Boni, a humble peasant woman with whom Boni is said to have fallen madly in love. The couple, who were not married when Elena Cornado Piscopia came into the world, had four other children. to Elena They never recognized his blood related privileges Are not born under the auspices of the sacred sacrament of marriage of their parents. Despite this, his father, who was a lover of literature and science and advised by the family’s priest friend Giovanni Fabrice, had him learn Latin and Greek before doing so with Hebrew, Spanish, French and Arabic (which he spoke fluently). Encouraged to study. Mathematics, theology, astronomy and philosophy. that girl was a real genius, with a big heart. He was also good at playing musical instruments (he played the harpsichord, violin and veena) and also wrote poetry.

Young Cornaro Piscopia He entered the University of Padua, Italy in 1672., He was 26 years old. By then, his scholarship had already qualified him to be elected president of the Venice association Accademia dei Pacifica two years earlier. He then wanted to obtain a doctorate in theology, which was rejected. By the Bishop of Padua and Chancellor of the University, Gregorio Barbarigo, right-hand man of Pope Innocent XI. The reason for this was none other than her condition as a woman. However, they allowed him to obtain the above academic degree in philosophy. Which today is called Ph.D. Known as.

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His graduation ceremony, held in the Cathedral of Padua on 25 1678, was an unprecedented event for the time. Officials and curious people traveled there who did not want to miss the opportunity to witness the strangeness of seeing a woman graduate. His fame spread to practically all learned circles of Europe. He dedicated the rest of his life to charity and education.To lecture and publish extensive research, writings and translations of religious texts.

He never married or had children. When she was only 11 years old, Elena Cornaro Piscopia took a vow of chastity. In 1665 she took the habit as a monastic woman. Of the Benedictine order. Venice was a woman ahead of her time, able to overcome gender stereotypes that limited her to the domestic sphere and the care of the family. First woman to earn a doctorate degree He died at the age of only 38.She was suffering from tuberculosis and her health had deteriorated due to prolonged fasting and restless study. If you pass through Venice, check your license plates. This is justice.

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