The Tigress of Forl%C3%AC: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici

Elizabeth Lev. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-15-101299-2
In her first book, Lev, a Rome-based Renaissance scholar, offers a rich account of a dramatic and tragic life: a tale of murder, childhood marriage, revenge, rape, accession to power by a Florentine woman, and a violent downfall. The illegitimate daughter of the duke of Milan, Caterina Sforza (1463–1509) received a first-rate humanist education. But at 10, she was married to the pope's debauched nephew, becoming the countess of the strategic Romagna fiefdom Imola. At 13, her father was assassinated, and at 15 she was humiliated by her husband's involvement in the murderous Pazzi conspiracy against the Medici. What followed was a series of rises and falls. Her husband was assassinated; she avenged his death (which brought her notoriety) and became regent of her family's property. She finally found a soul mate in Giovanni de' Medici, who died young of gout. Caterina once humiliated Machiavelli, who later denounced her repeatedly in his famous treatises; after her capture and rape by Cesare Borgia, Caterina's rule ended. Lev offers a rich, nuanced portrait of a highly controversial beauty and military leader and her violent albeit glittering Italian Renaissance milieu. Map. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 245 pages - 978-1-78185-040-4
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Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-908800-17-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-60804-4
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