benedetta carlini

anonymous asked:

Who Are The Renaissance Gays

oh my god so many

it’s obviously hard in a lot of cases to pinpoint someone’s sexuality but in terms of people we have a fairly good bet about?

absolutely leonardo and michelangelo. possibly botticelli as well (he was only denounced once, which is shadier as people did tend to accuse their enemies of ‘sodomy’ but he had no known affairs with women and his reputed love for simonetta vespucci is on a lot of shaky mythical ground so take that as you will)

lorenzo de’ medici had many affairs with women as well, but many of his closest friends were denounced for sodomy multiple times and they wrote him extremely amorous letters….. which i have a hard time believing they’d do if he wasn’t down for it considering how powerful he was. i think it’s pretty solid to say he was into men, if not necessarily exclusively. the letters certainly indicate that to me.

henri iii in france had several male favorites who were called his “mignons”.

re the ladies, unfortunately there’s a lot less info out there. but benedetta carlini was a lesbian nun in renaissance italy so um, made some waves. there’s a book about her but i’ve yet to read it.

this is a very incomplete list but few examples off the top of my head.

in terms of more general social trends, michael rocke’s forbidden friendships is a study of gay culture in renaissance florence that’s p extensive

The cover of Immodest Acts, a book about Benedetta Carlini’s life

Benedetta Carlini was born to a middle-class Italian family in 1591, who were able to buy her a place in a reasonably comfortable convent, the Convent of the Mother of God, at Pescia. When she was thirty, Benedetta was made abbess of the convent, but then reported a disturbing series of visions in which men were trying to kill her. Fearful that Sister Benedetta was being harassed by demonic entities, the other sisters assigned Sister Bartolemea to her cell. Thereafter, Sister Benedetta’s more disturbing visions ceased, but she still encountered alleged supernatural visitations.

These came to the attention of the Counter-Reformation Papacy, determined to subordinate potentially troublesome mystics if they showed any signs of independent or “heretical” spirituality. Although they paid three to four visits to the nunnery, it wasn’t until they interrogated Sister Bartolemea that they found that Benedetta and Bartolemea were lovers. According to Bartolemea, Sister Benedetta would make love to her, and both would experience the mystical epiphanies that Sister Benedetta described.

According to Brown, it may not have been Benedetta’s lesbianism that led to her ultimate downfall and imprisonment, as much as her egotism. However, Bartolemea’s admission was enough to ensure that Benedetta was stripped of her primacy as abbess and held under guard for the remaining 35 years of her life. She died in 1661; her lover, Sister Bartolomea, predeceased her by one year, dying in 1660.

I am crying from laughing

holy shit guys if you want to read an amazing tale of bullshittery and what is perhaps the first recorded account of someone using an Otherkin persona please read “Lesbian Sexuality in Renaissance Italy: The Case of Sister Benedetta Carlini” by Judith C. Brown.

Oh my god holy shit you will absolutely die

long story short, during the Renn. Sister Benedetta is caught having a lasting sexual relationship with another nun and both are taken to court for it

BUT, in a hilarious combination of ignorance about how lesbians work (physicians and the Church alike were literally confused about how women could be pleased without a man present) and these two women’s attempt to make themselves as innocent as possible you get a hilarious account of Sister Benedetta claiming to be a vessel for an angel she calls Splendidiello who then acts as the male when having relations with the lover, whose sins were then forgiven by Benedetta when she was later possessed by Jesus himself.

The actual account of how their sexual relations went down were hampered by the fact that “So disturbed was the scribe writing down what had been said that the heretofore neat and legible handwriting of the report totally breaksdown” and it essentially reads like bad fanfiction

Wikipedia on medieval lesbians:

Forty days’ penance was demanded of nuns who “rode” each other or were discovered to have touched each other’s breasts. An Italian nun named Sister Benedetta Carlini was documented to have seduced many of her sisters when possessed by a Divine spirit named “Splenditello”; to end her relationships with other women, she was placed in solitary confinement for the last 40 years of her life.[80] Female homoeroticism, however, was so common in English literature and theater that historians suggest it was fashionable for a period during the Renaissance.[81]