Christine de Pisan
1364-1430
Ethics, Social & Political Philosophy



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Christine de Pisan/Pizan is a rather well known woman of the European Middle ages.  She was born in Venice but was raised in France. After the death of her husband she supported herself and family, becoming the first known European to support herself exclusively through her writing.

Chronology

1364 - Christine was born in Venice. Her father was Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano, a physician, astrologer and Councilor of the Republic of Venice. Soon after her birth, her father was appointed to the Court of Charles V of France and Christine was able to study languages and read widely in the extensive court library.

1379 She married Etienne du Castel , a secretary at the Court. The couple had 3 children.

1387 - Death of Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano.

1390 - Death of Etienne du Castel . This left her a widow with three children to support and no income. Her husband was dead as was Charles V, her protector.

She had difficulties getting money from her husband's estate or even the salary that was owed him. She turned to writing as a means of support and began writing courtly love poems. Henry IV, King of England, and Galeazzo Visconti, Tyrant of Milan, each invited her to come and live at court, but she refused.  She wanted to remain in France.

1402 She wrote Le Dit de la Rose (The Tale of the Rose).

1403 She wrote Mutation de Fortune. (Change of Luck)

1404 She finished a biography of Charles V: Le Livre des Fais et Bonnes Meurs du Sage Roy Charles V

1405 She wrote Le livre de la cité des dames (The Book of the City of Ladies).

1406 She wrote Livre des trois vertus (The Book of the Three Virtues) and Lavision Christine (Christine's Vision) which was  dedicated to Marguerite of Burgundy. The dedication indicates that she was under the patronage of that queen.

1408 ca. Livre du corps de policie (The Book of the Body Politic)

1410 Christine Pisan completed Fais d'armes et de chevalerie (Feats of Arms and Chivalry )

1414 She wrote Le Livre de la Paix (The Book of Peace ).

1415 She composed L'epistre de la Prison de Vie Humaine (A Letter Concerning the Prison of Human Life]. This work was written to console the women after the Battle of Agincourt.

1418 She joined the convent at Poissy where her daughter was a nun. Convents were typical retirement homes for widows, but after some time, she returned to public life.

1429 She wrote Le Ditié de Jehanne d'Arc (Hymn to Joan of Arc).

c.1430 Christine Pisan died.


Works

A translation of Hymn to Joan of Arc can be found at: Hymn to Joan of Arc

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Society for the Study of Women Philosophers

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