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Mario Equicola's De mulieribus Revisited

Stephen D Kolsky


The De mulieribus (About Women), published in 1501, occupies a privileged place in the history of early modern thought on women. Its significance has only been recently appreciated and even so its mode of argument is so different from that of previous treatises on the subject that explanations of its novelty have not been altogether satisfactory. It is the purpose of this essay to add a new piece of evidence which will underline the seriousness of Mario Equicola's approach to his material and the philosophical integrity of his project. I will propose that ancient sceptical thought provided the driver behind his radical ideas about women. The De mulieribus challenges accepted norms of conceptualising women, particularly those norms which are Aristotelian in their approach. Equicola sets up Plato as a positive alternative to Aristotle.

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Spunti e Ricerche. Rivista d'italianistica.
ISSN (Print): 0816-5432.
ISSN (Electronic): 2200-8942.