History's Women: More Great Women: Tarquinia Molza: Italian Singer, Poet, Conductor, Composer and ScholarTarquinia Molza
Italian Singer, Poet, Conductor, Composer and Scholar
1542 – 1617 A.D.

Daughter of Camillus Molza, knight of the first order of St. James of Spain, and granddaughter of Francis Maria Molza, a celebrated Italian poet, was a woman of very high accomplishments, uniting in an extraordinary degree, wit, learning, and beauty. Her father, observing her genius, had her educated with her brothers, and by the best masters, in the chief branches of literature and science. Some of the most distinguished men of the time were instructors and eulogists. She was mistress of Latin, Greek, and the ethics of Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch. She also understood Hebrew and natural philosophy, and wrote her own language, the Tuscan, with ease and spirit. She played on the lute and violin, and is also said to have a highly cultivated singing voice.

Tarquinia Molza was greatly esteemed by Alphonsus II., Duke of Ferrara, and his court. The city of Rome, by a decree of the senate, in which all her excellencies were set forth, honored her with the title of Singular, and bestowed on her the rights of a Roman citizen. This decree was passed December 8, 1600.

She was married to Paulus Porrinus, but losing her husband while still very young, she would never consent to be married again. Her grief was so acute at the result of his death that she was called a second Artemisia. She retained her personal charms until an advanced period of life, confirming the opinion of Euripedes, that “the autumn of beauty is not less pleasing than its spring.” Although so courted and extolled, she avoided notice and distinction, and retained to the last her fondness for a retired life.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.