Friday, January 22, 2016

Baldassare Castiglione's 'The Book of the Courtier' (1528), Take I

Let's take a look at another "distant mirror:"* Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier (1528). In it, there are observations that reach back to the ancients and forward to the future-present.

In a lengthy discussion between courtly men and women, some of the men quoted by Castiglione scoff at women's abilities. But "the Magnifico" asks: 

"Do you not believe that there are many [women] to be found who would know how to govern cities and armies as well as men do?" 

Lord Gaspar had just quipped: 

"Since you have given women letters and . . . magnanimity and temperance, I only marvel that you would not also have them govern cities, make laws, and lead armies, and let the men stay at home to cook and spin." 

(Third Book, Wordsworth Classics edition, 2000, English translation by Leonard Eckstein Opdycke, page 170).
A mere 500 years later, we discuss the same matters, which are particularly relevant now in the USA. Indeed, one of the major candidates running for president during this year's national election season is, for the first time in the USA, a woman. Too, combat positions have just recently been opened to women in the US armed forces. "The Magnifico" would be pleased, having spoken thus in 1507.

What say ye readers in the 21st century? Should men "stay at home to cook and spin?" 

*Nod to Barbara Tuchman.

Today's Rune: Initiation. 


jodi said...

Erik-like I said to our girl Stacey, Frieda K. wasn't the first one to have a monkey!

Charles Gramlich said...

I can cook a little but I sure can't spin.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think we should ALL stay home to cook and spin. I am spinning around the room right now.

t said...

:) all the comments.