Ceccarella Minutolo (fl. 1460-70) was a Neapolitan noblewoman, whose family belonged to the most cultivated and refined court circle. She was married twice, first to Francesco Brancaccio, and after his death, to Camillo Piscicelli. The author of elegantly composed letters, which at the time circulated among members of the Aragonese court in Naples, Minutolo was renowned as a writer in her day, known to her contemporaries also as the “Sybilla Parthenopea” meaning Neapolitan Sibyl. Thirty-eight of her letters have come down to us in three manuscripts. The letters are written to various individuals on a variety of topics: to the Princess Eleonora of Aragon about her gift of a puppy; to a famous physician praising his abilities; to Alfonso, Duke of Calabria exhorting him to pursue humanist studies; and to King Ferdinand of Aragon asking to find her a husband. The majority of the letters, however, are written to a man referred to only as “Theophilo,” meaning “one who loves God.” The letters to Theophilo are primarily, although not exclusively about love, expressing jealousy, longing, sorrow, but in them Minutolo also discusses literary and and philosophical issues.
Portion of a manuscript page of Ceccarella Minutolo’s letter to Eleonora of Aragon
Ceccarella Minutolo Lettere, Raffaele Morabito, ed., 1999
O.S. Casale, “L’epistolario quattrocentesco di C. M.: fortuna critica e canone ecdotico”, in La critica del testo. Problemi di metodo e esperienze di lavoro. Atti del Convegno, Lecce … 1984, Roma 1985, pp. 505-517
An entire manuscript containing Minutolo’s letters is online on the site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France
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