Fidelis, Cassandra

, a very learned lady, of a family originally of Milan, is supposed to have been born about 1465. She was early instructed in the Greek and Latin languages, elocution, and the Aristotelian philosophy, to which she was partial, and maintained a correspondence with many of the literati of her age. She is said to have been of unblemished morals, great frankness of disposition, and occasional gaiety. Politian considered her as no less> a prodigy among her sex than Picus was among his, and was so struck with her character, that he visited Venice almost solely with a view to converse with her; and persons of all ranks vied in their respect for her, while crowned heads invited her by large offers to visit and settle in their courts. In 1487, Cassandra delivered a public oration | before the university of Padua, “pro Alberto Lamberto Canonico Concordiensi,” a philosophical relation of hers, which is still extant. Some suppose her to have been in the practice of delivering public lectures in that university, but this is doubted by her biographer. She had once the honour of addressing a complimentary oration to Bona Fortia, queen of Sarmatia, when visiting Venice, which was delivered in the Bucentauro, sent out with a suitable train to meet and escort her into the Venetian port; on which occasion the queen presented her with a magnificent gold chain; but Cassandra, with that philosophic indifference which she had always evinced for this precious metal, gave it next day into the hands of the doge.

Agreeably to the will of her father, she gave her hand to Jo. Maria Mapellius of Vicenza, a learned physician, in her connexion with whom she experienced various reverses. In 1521 she became a widow. In her ninetieth year she was appointed to preside over a religious society of her own sex at Venice, and died in 1558, or as some say in 1567. She had composed a work “De Scientiarum Ordine,” frequently mentioned in her letters, but it was never published. Thomasinus wrote her life, prefixed to her “Epistolse et Orationes Posthumae,Padua, 1636, 8vo. 1


Gresswell’s Politian, &c. Roscoe’s Lorenzo. —Niceron, Viji. —Tiraboschi.