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Agostino Strozzi

Agostino Strozzi (ca.1450 – after 1505) was an Augustinian abbot and author.

Although he was born into the Mantuan branch of the exiled Florentine Strozzi family—once rivaling the Medici as one of the most important banking families in Florence—there is little information about Agostino Strozzi. According to Carolyn James and F.W. Kent, his birth name was Carlo which was common in the Strozzi family, causing “a further impediment to tracing his early career.” (90) He studied at the University of Ferrara around the 1470s before becoming an Augustinian prior in Mantua and, later, an abbot in Fiesole.

Around the turn of the 16th century, Strozzi was commissioned to write La defensione delle donne (The Defense of Women) by his cousin Margherita Cantelmo (ca.1474–1532), a close friend of Isabella d’Este, the Marchesa of Mantua. Cantelmo commissioned another treatise in defense of her gender: De Mulieribus (On Women) by Mario Equicola. La defensione delle donne was first published anonymously in 1876 and is divided into two books. The first lists and refutes the main calumnies against women. The second book praises women and each chapter enumerates historical examples of women who excelled in various disciplines. Strozzi also wrote two lost devotional works published in 1486 and 1498 and two short treatises on frienship and modesty dedicated to Cantelmo. Another work, titled Dialogo di San Giuseppe e della Vergine (Dialogue of Saint Joseph and the Virgin), published in Venice in 1535 and written by “Don Agostino Strozzi Mantovano Canonico Regolare”, is believed by James and Kent to be the work of a different, later, Agostino Strozzi.



James, Carolyn and F.W. Kent. “Margherita Cantelmo and Agostino Strozzi: Friendship’s Gift and a Portrait Medal by Costanzo da Ferrara.” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance 12 (2009): 85–115.

Strozzi, Agostino. Dialogo di San Giuseppe e della Vergine. Venice: Nicolini da Sabbio, 1535.

Zambrini, Francesco (ed.) La Defensione delle donne d’autore anonimo. Bologna: G. Romagnoli, 1876.