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Women in the fourteenth-century Venetian scuole *.


In Italy, as in many other parts of Europe, lay confraternities emerged as a new form of devotion in the thirteenth century. (1) A major purpose was to pray for the souls of deceased members. Moreover, confraternities offered their members support in illness or poverty; assistance in the hour of death, and, afterwards, an honourable funeral.

Through confraternities lay people wanted to gain spiritual goods and to share them. They did what had been typical for monks and nuns for centuries: they formed a voluntary group which pursued religious as well as social and charitable aims. Members called themselves "brother" and "sister," prayed and sang, did penitence by flagellation and cared for the poor. But, unlike monks and nuns, they remained in the world, being nonetheless determined to live a pious life. In the 1260s, a first wave of foundations of devotional confraternities took place -- the flagellant confraternities or confraternities of discipline. In the same period in many parts of Italy also laudesi (praising) confraternities, which focused their religious life on praying and singing, appeared.

Although studies on women's participation in the confraternities are few, scholars have often noted that women could be members in most laudesi confraternities, with various limitations. (2) A common limitation was the exclusion of women from all administrative and organizational roles. Giovanna Casagrande describes it as widespread in central Italy in spite of some exceptions in sixteenth-century Umbria. (3) The Confraternita della Misericordia Maggiore, founded in Bergamo (1265), had, from its foundation until 1340, 1700 female members, but no women officers. (4) In the Tuscan city of Cortona women were admitted to the confraternity of San Vincenzo, founded in 1363, at least from the year 1400 on, but no female officers can be traced. (5) In fifteenth-century Rome there were women in confraternities but female officers were elected only at the end of the century. (6) In the confraternity of S. Maria Giosafat in Catania, on the contrary, two women, Margarita de Romano and Agata de Josafat, who had an assembl y room built, were called magistrae et rectrices (teachers and rectors) in a episcopal document. (7)

Another form of limitation was women's exclusion from meetings and participation in confraternity processions. This exclusion from important moments of the public and social life was practiced by the fraternity of Santa Maria della Misericordia in Arezzo and the confraternity of Santa Reparata in Florence. (8) In the small town of Sansepolcro in central Italy women played a secondary role in confraternital life as well. Although the majority of the members were women in the fraternity of San Bartolomeo, the main charitable institution of the city in the late thirteenth-early fourteenth century, officers were all male. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the fraternity of San Bartolomeo lost its unique position in the town and became the institution overseeing charity and burial for the wealthy of Sansepolcro. Since 1280, while few men were recruited, new and more prestigious confraternities of discipline were founded and women were excluded from them. (9)

Almost nowhere were women admitted to public flagellation, and either they could not be members of flagellant confraternities at all, or they could only share their spiritual goods. Probably there were exceptions: Carmelina Naselli has discovered that the compagnia of S. Maria di Giosafat was called societas fustiganitum seu disciplinantium domnarum (society of flagellant women) in a document by the bishop of Catania. Giovanna Casagrande mentions only one case of women being accepted in a flagellant confraternity in Perugia in the sixteenth century. On the Venetian mainland the flagellant confraternity of the parish church of Codroipo commissioned in 1549-50 a table showing the Virgin Mary protecting the members with her mantle in the traditional pose. Under the Virgin's throne, on the left hand is a group of brothers bearing capes, and on the right hand an equivalent group of sisters. This scene, reproduced also on the confraternity's gonfalone, testifies to the presence of women. (10)

Several explanations have been proposed for the exclusion of women from public flagellation. The prohibition of appearing naked in public places may have played a role in the movement of 1260, but it does not apply for later confraternities, because the brethren used a coat covering the whole body. Sharon Strocchia explains the exclusion of women from flagellation: "men were unwilling to humiliate themselves publicly in such an intimate setting before members of the subordinate sex." Casagrande draws attention to the fact that flagellation was part of the imitation of Christ, which contemporaries saw as inappropriate for women. (11)

In Venice since the thirteenth century there had been various kinds of confraternities, the local denomination of which was scuole (singular: scuola). This article concentrates on the two most important groups: the scole verberatorum or scuole dei battuti, dei flagellanti (flagellant confraternities), called later scuole grandi (S. Maria della Carita, S. Giovanni Evangelista, S. Marco, S. Maria della Misericordia o Valverde); and the scole communes, later called scuole piccole. (12) Early Renaissance Venetian scuole have been extensively studied. In three important essays published at the end of the sixties Lia Sbriziolo analyzed the decisions of the Council of Ten which authorized new scuole and controlled existing ones. She also used the statutes of some scuole and the decisions of their general assemblies, sources that often have been exploited since then. (13) Brian Pullan has profiled the role of the scuole grandi inside the assistance system of sixteenth century Venice, while Richard Mackenney has drawn attention to the scuole piccole and the guilds confraternities over a period of several centuries, with a first glance at female presence in these institutions. Moreover, Venetian confraternities have been dealt with by Dennis Romano, Fernanda Sorelli, and Giuseppina De Sandre Gasparini. (14) Lorenza Pamato recently published the list of the sisters in the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista, while Francesca Ortalli's new book is the first extensive study on Venetian scuole piccole. (15)

In the late medieval society, in Venice as elsewhere, women experienced numerous impediments, including limitations in property rights and exclusion from politics, administration, and long distance trade. During the last decades, Stanley Chojnacki has studied Venetian women in the early Renaissance, especially patricians, and shows that in spite of the legal limitations they enjoyed a range of personal and social options. (16) On the basis of testaments and other notarial evidence, Fernanda Sorelli and Linda Guzzetti analyze the presence of women in Venetian economic life, both as investors and as workers. (17)

In the context of these studies, the present article focuses on the significant social opportunities devotional confraternities offered to Venetian women, showing that they could not only esserci (be present) in the scuole piccole, but also valere (have a value). (18) The analysis of the female membership of confraternities helps us to understand who were the women wanting to join each institution. The sources are the statutes of the confraternities, their membership lists and the resolutions of their general assemblies, as well as testaments and some decisions of the Council of Ten and of other governing councils. (19) The Venetian confraternities founded before 1400 are the major focus, with some attention to later developments.


Although men and women did not have equal status in medieval society they were considered spiritually equal; (20) so both sexes had claims to the spiritual goods which the entire church acquired through the saints, as well as those particular institutions --e.g., a scuola -- gained through the prayers and penance of its members.

The first chapters of the statutes of most Venetian scuole mentioned the cesendello, a lamp that burned continuously on an altar for the souls of deceased brothers and sisters, at the confraternity's expense. In these first chapters "brothers and sisters" were almost always named together. (21) The same parallel treatment of men and women can be found in the chapters on the prayers and the masses for the souls of the members. Despite this, the position of men and women in the scuole was not equal and, moreover, diverged significantly from one institution to another.

The decisions of the Council of Ten, which supervised the scuole from 1360, clearly referred to the presence of women. The first reference to women and men as members appears in the permission for setting up the Scuola di S. Leonardo on 31 March 1395: a scuola "that all persons can loin, men as well as women." Later, in permitting new scuole communes the Council of Ten used routinely the formula: "men and women ... like in other similar scuole." It is evident that this governing Council considered the presence of women normal. (22) We have found records of forty-nine scuole in the fourteenth century; and in thirty-eight of these confraternities there were sisters. (23) Moreover, we know women joined fourteen other scuole whose records do not survive, because in their wills they declared themselves members. (24)

The use of statutes on this issue involves some risks, generally true for normative sources: a reference to sisters in the statutes is no guarantee that there were women at any time, while resolutions of general assemblies show more accurately the actual state at a given moment. More specifically for this study, not all chapters of the statutes allow a reader to recognize the presence and the role of sisters. By using the masculine plural or gender-indeterminate expressions like frar, zascun de questa scuola (brothers, each one of this confraternity) for both sexes, the presence of women is concealed. The statutes of three scuole draw attention to this fact, as Richard Mackenney notes. (25) They declared that they would not repeat the word 'sister' each time when they meant brothers and sisters in order nor to multiply the number of words: "In the chapters sisters are not mentioned like brothers to avoid multiplying words, but we want all rulings to be valid for both sisters and brothers." (26) Thus the entir e text has to be taken into account to understand what is meant. In the statute of the Scuola di S. Alberto, e.g., there are no feminine forms, but the fact that it had a tomb for sisters shows that a frar de la nostra scola (brother of our confraternity) could be a woman as well as a man. (27)

Nevertheless the grammatically masculine form predominated in chapters on certain topics in the majority of the statutes. Regulations for the case of illness or death of a member fuor de la terra, i.e. outside Venice, applied explicitly to fellow-sisters only in ten of forty-four statutes. Only six statutes expressed fear that sisters too played at dice (zugar a dadi) , (28) and sixteen the fear that they could publicly live in a state of mortal sin (publicamente stesse in peccato mortal). Although it is rarely said exactly what this mortal sin was, sexual behavior must have been meant, as occasionally explained by the addition in adulterio (adultery). (29) Thus, it is not astonishing that warnings about vivere inpecato mortal concerned women more often than those about playing at dice, a male passion.

All members shared the confraternity's goods. The statute of the Scuola di S. Leonardo expressed this in a typical manner: "all goods our community collects shall be common to brothers and sisters." Likewise, everybody had to contribute to these goods, meaning not only the spiritual goods, but also the material ones; so it was added that: "likewise sisters shall be obliged to contribute to expenses." (30)

According to twenty-two of the forty-four preserved statutes, sisters as well as brothers were obliged to attend the general assembly (capitulum) which took place twice a year and at which the statute was read aloud. In the assembly of the Scuola di S. Francesco in the Franciscan church of S. Maria dei Fran sisters must have been expected to participate, for the statute obliged both to ask the gastatdo (male warden) for permission to speak: "no brother or sister is allowed to stand up to speak in the capitulum without the permission of the gastaldo." (31) When the Scuola di S. Gregorio on 23 February 1377 passed a resolution concerning the annual meal for the poor, this was done "in the general meeting of the good men and women of the scuola." (32) But not all confraternities allowed women to speak and vote in the general meetings. Only men passed a resolution in the general meeting of the Scuola di SS. Giuliano e Carlo in 1399 ("warden, office bearers, and good men") which allowed the membership of all women and abolished the previous limitation to female inhabitants of the parish and wives of degani (male office bearers). (33)

Only a few statutes of scuole piccole set a maximum number of members. The Scuola di S. Maria della Celestia, e.g., admitted up to 700 women and 700 men and the Scuola di S. Caterina dei Sacchi up to 400 women and 500 men. (34) The statute of the Scuola di SS. Apostoli fixed a maximum number of 600 only for women. (35) The Scuola di S. Gregorio established a limit of 500 persons without distinguishing between brothers and sisters. (36) These figures are not really significant: on the one hand the real number of members could diverge. (37) On the other hand the figures could have been raised for reasons of prestige, as the Council of Ten did for the scuole grandi. Yet, they show that some scuole expected a similar demand for membership from men and women.

Six of the known forty-four statutes speak about two tombs (arche) the confraternity had at a particular church. One was designated for sisters, the other for brothers. (38) The custom of dividing burials according to sex was not common to all scuole, for the statute of the Scuola di S. Gregorio provided only one grave for members: "a tomb in (the church of) Saint Gregor in which those who will shall be buried." (39)

Fourteenth-century women's testaments witness that many considered it important to make bequests to the scuole and to entrust them with their funerals and commemoration ceremonies. In course of the century, the share of female testators who made bequests to the scuole increased to twenty-five percent of all testatrices, while the share of male testators remained at a lower, constant level. (40) Moreover, many female testators in the last quarter of the century declared themselves members of one or more confraternities. (41) It is not possible to ascertain whether the number of women members of the scuole increased in the course of the fourteenth century or if they declared their membership more frequently. In both cases these declarations testify to the increasing importance of the scuole for Venetian women.


Only men could become full members in the scole verberatorum of S. Maria della Carita, S. Giovanni Evangelista, S. Marco, S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde, and in the scole communes of S. Maria della Misericoria e S. Francesco "dei mercanti e naviganti" (of merchants and sailors), Dodici Apostoli, S. Agnese, S. Cristoforo (in S. Maria dei Crociferi), S. Mattia de Muran, S. Nicolo (in S. Maria dei Carmini), and S. Cristoforo dei Mercanti (in Madonna dell'Orto), before the middle of the fourteenth century. (42) Lay women took part neither in the social life nor in the decision-making process.

In such scuole women can be found as only marginal participants. The statute of the Scuola della Carita specified that it was not allowed to admit women except entire nunneries. (43) The nuns of these convents had to pray for the souls of dead brethren and the brethren had to pray for the souls of dead nuns. Also in other cases, when the statute of a scuola which had no female members prescribed prayers for the souls "of our sisters and brothers," the former are likely to be members of nunneries joined in a confraternity of prayers.

Besides prayers, women could secure other benefits from the scuole of which they were not full members. The records of the Scuola di S. Agnese show that on 12 December 1339 Catarina Contarini had bestowed on the scuola "a dress of Alexandrian velvet, a pair of sleeves with forty-three gilded buttons under the condition that our confraternity will give her on the feast day a bread and a candle." On 28 July 1401 Agnesina Soranzo gave to the same scuola "a dress with thirty-nine buttons" under a similar condition." (44) In other cities flagellant confraternities offered spiritual advantages to female relatives of members and women making bequests to them. (45)

In its early years, the Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco, founded in 1261, accepted women, although with restricted rights. Two regulations concerning sisters written about 1270 are part of the first chapters. They guaranteed them participation in all spiritual benefits of the scuola -- such as those acquired through the flagellation of the brethren -- and took care of their souls after their death. (46) A resolution denying women any form of membership in this scuola does not survive, but it probably existed since the confraternity developed as a purely male organization beginning in the middle of the fourteenth century. (47)

The case of the Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista is similar. Although the mariegola initially named only fratres, a decision in the year 1318 stated clearly that women belonged to the confraternity and regulated their membership. The financial conditions for joining were settled and it was required that the gastaldo had to ask the husband's permission before admitting a married woman. (48) This requirement appears in no other Venetian confraternal statute. Possibly this rule resulted from a compromise in the course of a process of exclusion of women from the scuolegrandi, but it does not seem to have been a real obstacle. In the period 1318-27 the scuola had a large number of sisters. The writer of the mariegola kept silent regarding the sisters, while requiring the brothers to come to masses, processions, and funerals. Therefore we do not know if women were subsumed under the term "brother" or if they were excluded from these confraternal activities. A change took place in March 1327. The majority of the br ethren present to the general assembly decided that from then on they would not admit lay women any more; they gave no explanation for this decision. (49)

In conclusion, from the thirteenth century through the first third of the fourteenth century, women were present in flagellant confraternities, although with limitations in their activities. Nonetheless, their presence has been forgotten both in the Venetian tradition and among scholars of Venice, probably because their exclusion took place at an early stage, measured by the century-long history of the scuote grandi.


The presence of women and the relative equality of brothers and sisters within the majority of scuole piccole sharply contrast with the exclusion of women from the scuole grandi. (50) In most scuole piccole the range of female activities enlarged in the course of the fourteenth century. The first chapters of most statutes of earlier scuole piccole mentioned no female officers. They mentioned dead sisters in connection with the prayers and the lamps for their souls, and possibly live sisters because of the prayers they were expected to say. Rulings concerning the rights and duties of sisters, similar to those for the brothers, were added to the statutes of many of these scuole at a later time, while the statutes of scuole which were founded after 1350 provided for female officers from the beginning. In the statute of the Scuola della Celestia the chapters concerning women were probably added in 1361 and appear en bloc. (51) In the Scuola di Sant'Orsola, founded in 1300, according to the first part of the statu te, there were sisters but no gastalda (female warden), and it was the gastaldo who ordered members to visit ill brothers and sisters. (52) In chapter twenty-three dealing with the different tasks within the confraternity no gastalda was mentioned. But chapter thirty-three -- added probably shortly after 1318 -- ruled that visitar le nostre seror inferme (to visit our ill sisters) was the gastalda's duty. (53) The first chapters of the statute of the Scuola di S. Andrea, established in 1347, show that at the beginning there were only male members, but chapter 36 reports the resolution of a meeting -- not dated, but held probably in 1351 or 1352 -- that "we brethren all unanimously" (nui tuti frar de un voler e de un anemo) wanted to admit women into the scuola. The sisters would share all duties and benefits. (54)

The Scuola di S. Teodoro, said to be created in 1258 as a scuola batutorum, abolished flagellation in the first half of the fourteenth century and substituted a weekly mass. (55) The decision of a general assembly, held before 1342, ruled that for the good of the sisters and of the whole scuola, the gastaldo had to appoint between eight and twelve degane (female office bearers) who were responsible for all matters concerning the sisters. The female officers seem to have become permanent, as they were mentioned in the following resolutions.


In many Venetian scuole sisters had access to the offices, in contrast to the general case in most previously studied Italian confraternities. Twenty-nine scuole had a gastalda; the other female officers, called degane, are attested to in twenty-six scuole. [56] The female officers' duties concerned their sisters: they were responsible for calling them to general assemblies, to the solemn masses, to funerals of members, and to all other confraternal activities, for assisting them in illness and caring for their bodies after death. In spite of this limitation of responsibility to their own sex, the importance of an established female hierarchy cannot be denied. Patricia Fortini Brown notes that women held office in the scuole but comments that "sources are not explicit about the real level of their participation." Actually, sources are not silent concerning female officers, but scholars have paid little attention to this subject. As statutes, resolutions of general meetings, and notarial documents give informa tion about the tasks of gastalde and degane, those who have been looking for it, like Richard Mackenney, have found plenty. (57)

In many confraternities there was de facto one section for women and one for men. Both were subordinated to a man, the gastaldo. Thus the present study confirms what Dennis Romano and Richard Mackenney note on this issue. However, it seems to us that the sections of men and women cannot be considered parallel, because the female officers were clearly subordinate to the male ones. (58) In case of illness and death of brothers or sisters, the officers in charge had to care personally or delegate these tasks to other members. Seventeen statutes appointed the gastalda and the degane with the care of ill sisters. According to other statutes, male wardens were responsible for the care of ill members of both sexes. Probably, when a sister was ill, they ordered women, not men, to visit her. Members required by the gastaldo or the gastalda to attend the ill day or night had to obey these orders. Reporting this obligation, the statute of the Scuola di Sant'Orsola commented: "following the customs of other confraterniti es. " (59)

When a member was ill and did not have enough to live on or died and did not leave enough for his or her burial, the scuola had to help out. If the cash box was not sufficient, the necessary sum was collected among the brothers and sisters. As a rule the male warden was responsible for this. In some scuole, however, the gastalda and the degane had to ask the sisters for financial relief for their fellow sisters, for instance in the Scuola della Celestia and in the Scuola di S. Anna. (60)

According to twenty-three statutes female officers were in charge of the bodies of deceased sisters: they had to wash them ("bagnar lo corpo") and to accompany them to burial. The statute of the Scuola di S. Martino described their tasks on the occasion of a member's death in this way "It was ordered that if one of our brothers or sisters passed away, the degani (if he was a brother) or the degane (if she was a sister) should go to the house where the body was and wash it or have it washed and then take it to the burial." (61)

In most scuole all brothers and sisters had to take part in the burials of every deceased member. In the Scuola di S. Francesco in S. Maria dei Frari, however, sisters were obliged to go to all funerals, brothers only to those of fellow brothers. (62) If a member died outside Venice the scuola had to celebrate masses for his or her soul. The ordering of these masses was in most scuole only the gastaldo's duty, but in some it was the gastalda who ordered them if a sister died. (63)

Twenty-four of the forty-four statutes ruled that all sisters and, of course, the gastalda and the degane, had to attend the solemn masses at the di ordinati. These festivities often included processions in which female officers and fellow sisters had to take part. The gastaldo carried the signs of the scuola, i.e., the crucifix and the banner (gonfalone, pennello). All brothers and sisters held candles. "We want to sing a solemn mass every fourth Sunday of the month with deacon and subdeacon and with a procession carrying a crucifix ahead and a banner and burning candles. The gastaldo with all degani and brothers of the scuola and the gastalda with all her degane and the sisters of the scuola have to attend the procession, and all together they have to follow the procession with a lighted candle in their hands." (64) According to all statutes, on these confraternal feast days as well as during funerals of members, it was the gastaldo who carried the banner and signs of the scuola. Only the Scuola di S. Grego rio ruled that the gastalda was allowed to carry them to the house of a deceased member of the scuola. (65)

Although male and female sections existed in many scuole, they had no specific name, which indicates that their existence was perceived as natural. In large confraternities there were formal sections for brothers and sisters, often called colomelli or colonelli, each under the control respectively of a degano or of a degana. These sections were formed on the basis of the place of residence and were meant to simplify the calling of a great number of members to confraternal activities. According to many statutes each degano had a list (ruotolo, rotolo), containing the names of the members of his section. From some statutes and decisions of general assemblies it is evident that members debated whether female officers should be allowed to keep the lists of the sisters. The general assembly of the Scuola di S. Caterina, located in the church of S. Eustachio, ruled in May 1331 that neither the gastalda nor the degane were allowed to admit any woman into the scuola or to record her name in the list without the assen t of the gastaldo and the degani. (66) Under threat of a fine of one grosso (a relatively high amount), the degane were obliged to show their rotoli to the warden at any time he asked. Furthermore, the sisters of this scuola were required to deliver their annual contribution (one grosso) to the warden or to the scribe or to one of the degani. Most likely, this decision aimed to prevent female officers from admitting new sisters and collecting contributions, because thereby they took more responsibility than the majority of the male officers and brethren wanted them to have and more than was customary in other scuole. However, the Scuola di S. Caterina in S. Eustachio was not an isolated case. In the Scuola di S. Caterina dei Sacchi new female members were admitted by the gastalda. According to chapter thirty-one of the statute, the gastaldo could admit new members only publicly "al chancello ... in cospeto de tuti" (at the gate ... in presence of all). At the end of the chapter this regulation was widened to "madona Ia gastoldessa" for women. (67) Likewise it was settled in the statute of the Scuola di S. Leonardo: "It is not allowed in any way or fashion to enroll any brother or sister in this confraternity other than at the gate where the warden will be with his companions and the same order should be valid for the gastalda for the women she admits." (68)

In the first part of the statute of the Scuola di S. Stefano neither sisters nor female officers were mentioned, but in chapter twenty-two the tasks of the gastalda were described as follows: on the feast days she had to be present in the church where the confraternity met to admit women into the scuola. However, she had to have two male officers with her who were in charge of recording the names of the new sisters. In this scuola the gastalda was not elected but named by the gastaldo. (69) The Scuola di S. Teodoro and the Scuola di SS. Giuliano e Carlo wanted the gastalde and the degane to be widowed women, without obligations to anyone, so that they could give their undivided attention to their tasks. (70) None of the other statutes specify that a particular marital status was required for female officers. The passing of the administration from the old to the new gastaldo took place once a year and included some symbolic acts making visible the transfer of responsibility. In some confraternities female offi cers performed such rituals as well. In the Scuola di SS. Moise e Vettore, for instance, the old gastaldo received the new one with his companions and the old gastaldo did the same with the new: "with the cross in the hand giving each other the sign of peace." (71)

In twenty confraternities the procedure for the election of the female officers was similar to that for males. The statutes of the Scuola di S. Marta and of the Scuola di S. Martino established that in the general assembly, after reading the statute in the presence of all brothers and sisters, the old gastaldo with his companions (the degani) had to elect a new warden, a scribe, and eight degani ("haver electo") for the year to come. In the same way the old gastalda with her companions (the degane) had to elect a new gastalda and six degane for the same period. (72) Then the new officers had to be confirmed by the members present and the old warden had to announce their names in the meeting ("pronunciar"). (73)

In some scuole where officers were elected annually a waiting period of one to three years (contumacia) was required before they could be re-elected, as was customary for offices of the Venetian republic. (74) In these scuole the provision was valid for female officers too, probably the only Venetian women to observe the contumacia. In the Scuola della Celestia, however, female officers could be re-elected immediately if they had proven to be "bone e suficienti" (good and sufficient). (75)

According to the statutes of other scuole female officers were not elected, but were appointed by the gastaldo. The general meeting of the Scuola di SS. Giuliano e Carlo on 1 April 1353 decided that female officers were necessary and that five women had to be chosen as degane. They were not re-elected yearly like gastaldo and degani, but remained in office for life. When a degana died, the male warden and his companions had to appoint a new one: "and if one of these women dies, another has to be named on her place by the gastaldo and his companions, and this as soon as possible." (76)

Similarly in the Scuola di S. Andrea, the assembly of the brethren passed the resolution that they themselves would appoint a female warden and some companions every year: "we desire that it be added and written that we have to appoint a gastalda and some degane for the women as we see fit, and we must appoint them at the same time as the gastaldo and the other officers." (77)

In most confraternities the number of degane was smaller than that of degani. Even more important was the fact that the male warden ran the entire confraternity, and for many matters he was responsible also for the sisters. Female officers were subordinate to him, as the statute of the Scuola di San Giovanni Battista in the church San Giovanni in Bragora said clearly: "most of all, the gastalda and the degane have to obey the gastaldo for the benefit of the scuola." (78)

In the majority of scuole the supervision of the moral behavior of all members was the concern of the gastaldo. In only eight scuole was the gastalda required to supervise her fellow sisters, and in case of sinful behavior she had to admonish them and, if they remained in a state of sin, to expel them from the confraternity.

Female officers were mostly excluded from the administration and the representation of confraternities. Nonetheless, the gastaldo and the gastaldo represented with equal rights the Scuola di S. Martino before the notary for an agreement between the scuola and the chapter of church: "And on the other hand the present gastaldo and the gastalda representatives of the said scuola promise and affirm in their name and the name of their successors and of the whole confraternity." (79)

Gastalda and degane did not attend the monthly administrative meetings ("far le raxon de la scuola"). Exceptions to this rule were the Scuola di S. Martino and the Scuola di S. Maria dell'Umilta, the latter having only female members. Most scuole held a weekly mass for the souls of dead members, often called messa de lune, because it was celebrated on Mondays. Only male officers were obliged to attend these masses in rotation, except in the Scuola di S. Caterina in S. Eustachio, where female officers had to be present as well. (80) In the Scuola di S. Caterina dei Sacchi the male warden had to give guidance to the female officers about how to run the scuola when they began their year's term. (81) This confraternity had a female employee called nonzola whose wage was fixed yearly by "madona la gastoldessa." Also the statute of the Scuola di San Gerolamo provided for nonzole, while the statutes of most confraternities mentioned only male nonzoli. (82)

Female officers were also subordinate to the gastoldo and degani for financial matters. Almost all statutes provided that the gastaldo was responsible for the goods of the scuola. It was up to him and his companions to decide how to spend the confraternity's income. Moreover, the gastoldo had to look after the banners, the reliquaries, the crucifix, and all other treasures. In most confraternities members handed over their fees to the warden, and poor members, including sisters, had to ask him for release from payment of fees.

Only occasionally did the statutes explain how the female officers got the money they needed for their tasks. The statute of the Scuola di SS. Cosma e Damian ruled that: "The gastaldo is obliged to give to the gastalda the amount of money he finds appropriate for her to provide for and to act as said above." (83) It is evident that the gastalda was in a subordinate position because the gastaldo decided how much she would receive. At the same time he was obliged ("sia tegnudo") to give her a budget for her section, which she apparently had discretion to use as she saw fir.

Through notarial evidence it can be ascertained that some gastolde received legacies and gave receipts in the name of the scuola. (84) On 1 December 1399 Apolonia Benado, gastalda of the Scuola di S. Maria Maddalena, received the bequests of two women who did not declare they had been members. (85) In a later period, in 1428, the gastalda of the Scuola di S. Clara, Fresca Dandolo, gave a receipt for two bequests to her scuola. In 1430 Agnesina from the parish of S. Barnaba, gastalda of the Scuola di S. Maria dei Carmini, received for her confraternity a similar legacy. (86)

We do not know if female wardens handed over to male wardens the legacies and other monies they received in the name of the scuola, but it seems likely that the gastalde wished to use them for the needs of the sisters. To prevent it, the statute of the Scuola di San Gerolamo insisted that the gastalda and the other female officers had to give all money they received as admission fees or as alms to the male warden and officers as soon as possible. (87)

Female officers were also appointed executrices. According to the capitolare of the notaries, neither officers of scuole nor priors of hospitals were allowed to be executors in the fulfillment of their office; they could do so only as private persons. (88) Thus their appointments were valid only when their proper names -- and not only their designation as wardens -- were given in the testaments, and in this form numerous male and female testators appointed the officers of the scuole to be their executors. Being an executor, alone or with others, meant having control over the estate of the deceased in the name and in the interest of the scuola. Therefore the general assembly of the Scuola di S. Marina in January 1362 decided that the gastaldo and the gastalda could not refuse appointments to serve as executor and executrix made by fellow brothers and sisters. (89)


"To each of my confraternities in the lists of which I will be found enrolled," Caterina Volpin left one libra parvorum. (90) In the second half of the fourteenth century numerous testatrices bequeathed to one or more scuole small amounts of money. About two-thirds added that they were members of these scuole, and to express this membership they used formulas like: "scole in quibus ego sum," "scole in quibus sum consoror," or simply "mee scole."

Beside bequests, different kind of fees gave an economic basis to confraternal life. In some scuole there were the same admission fees and annual contributions for brothers and sisters; in others women paid less. In the records we find also complaints that women in fact did not pay. (91) Yet, on the basis of the statutes it is not easy to find out how much women and men paid. On the one hand, the fees settled in the preserved version of the statutes were changed in the course of the time, as some resolutions of general assemblies show. On the other hand, only account books could prove if members really paid their fees.

The confraternities had different fees and ways of payment: admission fees, annual contributions often designated by their intended use: "for the poor," "for the lighting," or "for candles," and fees for each deceased member (pro mortuo). Not every scuola had all types of fees and the amount greatly diverged from scuola to scuola. (92) In many scuole each payment a brother made was marked on a tolella (a wooden tablet), as discussed below. In many scuole payments pro mortuo concerned only men.

As was customary elsewhere, all brothers and sisters of the Scuola della Beata Vergine in S. Polo received a blessed bread and a blessed candle on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin in August. On this occasion brothers had to pay two grossi for the lighting (pro luminaria), but sisters only one grosso. Conversely, in the Scuola di S. Caterina dei Sacchi brothers and sisters paid the same amount, two parvi, when a member died. (93) In the Scuola della Beata Vergine brethren gave four parvi for each deceased member and four parvi for the poor in each di ordinato. (94) These contributions were marked on the tolella. As sisters in this scuola, like most others, had no tolella, it remains unclear if they did not pay or if their payments were registered in another way. (95)

The tolelle were wooden tablets members took on feast days of the scuola from a cancello (gate, grille) in the church in which the confraternity was located (levar la tolella). (96) The officers of the scuola registered the payments of the fees on the tolelle. This ritual, which publicly proved the attendance and the financial contribution, was mostly reserved to men. (97) The statute of the Scuola della Celestia fixed in chapter five that "tuti li frar [devono] elevar la soa tollela," meaning in this case only brethren. In this confraternity men and women paid the same entrance fee (one libra parvorum) and the same annual fees for lighting (seven solidi parvorum) , but in chapter thirty it was specified that sisters "no lieva tolella." (98)

Until the end of the fourteenth century in nine scuole sisters too had a tolella (essere a tolella). An assembly of the Scuola di S. Andrea ruled in November 1359 that the names of sisters also had to be written down on a tolella. Brothers had to pay four parvi when they took their tolella from the cancello, sisters two parvi. (99) The resolution introducing the tolelle for the sisters of the Scuola di S. Croce explained that in this way one could easily see if women paid. "From now on all women of the scuola must be put on tolella. Each woman of the scuola must have a tolella on which her name must be written and her sign must be done. On the first Sunday of each month which is an ordered day women must come to the house of the scuola to take down their tolella or to have it taken down. On this occasion they have to pay each time 2 parvi for the lighting. . . This is done in order to be able to know if women pay or not, which was difficult to know up to now, because it was written in different registers, so that they paid or did not pay as they liked." (100)

In 1354 the general meeting of the Scuola di S. Martino decided that fees henceforth should be the same for brothers and sisters (six grossi) and emphasized that women had to pay too. This equal treatment of women was explained with the argument that many alms had to be given, especially to the sisters. (101) The general assembly of the Scuola di S. Alvise decided to give alms ("si possono tenere ad elemosina") to twelve poor sisters and to eight brothers. (102) As these two examples show, contemporaries must have thought that the majority of the poor were female.

In some scuole a group called "nobles" paid higher fees and were freed from the burdens of the scuola. (103) There were also "noble" women, in some cases paying the same fees as "noble" men, in others paying less. To prevent too many members from neglecting the confraternity's duties, in the Scuola di Sant' Orsola fees for "nobles" were increased: "because many persons not fearing the expense of one ducat, entered the said scuola under the conditions of a noble, to be exempt from the burdens of the scuola, and likewise the women." (104)


When Caterina Volpin ordered in her testament that she would benefit "my confraternities in the lists of which I will be found enrollment," she was particularly clear: for her the enrollment in a list represented the membership. (105) Probably all scuole had membership lists, but only a few from the fourteenth century, and even fewer of female members, have survived. (106) Lists and tolelle allowed the confraternities to claim the fees, and they permit us to know the place of residence and the social background of the members. Moreover, the place of residence let us guess the distance members were ready to go to reach their scuola.

A first list of the Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco, written between 1271 and 1284, records fifty-three women. (107) In thirty-three cases the parish of residence was given. The greater number of the sisters lived close to the church where the scuola was located, S. Maria Gloriosa dei Fran in the sestiere of S. Croce. But they were only about thirty percent; other women took a longer way to reach their scuola, possibly also attracted by the main church of the Franciscan order. On the basis of their family names, twentynine are very likely to have been noble. Only a few sisters were related to the male members.

The register of the sisters of the Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista in the sestiere of S. Polo included 316 names for the years between 1322 and 1327. (108) In the majority of the cases a surname or a reference to relatives or a place of residence follows the first name. The sisters were spread over fifty-two parishes of the city. The best represented parish was S. Polo -adjacent to S. Stin (S. Stefano confessore), where the Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista was located -- with thirty-three women (ten percent), followed by S. Stin with twenty-six women (eight percent). The most frequently mentioned sestiere was S. Polo (thirty-three percent).

About forty percent of the sisters bore noble names, among them many from case vecchie (old noble families), and for fourteen sisters a occupation was indicated. (109) Forty-three entries of sisters refer to their husbands, but only nine of these are found among the fellow brethren. Eight women lived in the logo or ospedal (place or hospital) of S. Giovanni Evangelista.

For the Scuola di S. Martino, located in the parish church of the same name in the sestiere of Castello, an extensive list of female members is preserved. It contains 483 names ordered alphabetically according to the first names. (110) Sisters were spread out among forty-eight parishes, but fifty-five percent came from S. Martino itself; another six percent came from the adjacent parish of S. Giovanni in Bragora. (111) Considering the sestieri, Castello dominated clearly, with eighty-five percent of the sisters. The female membership of the Scuola di S. Martino was much more strongly rooted in the parish of S. Martino and the adjacent parishes than the male one: only thirty-one percent of the brethren came from S. Martino. In comparison with the about thirty percent of Scuole di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco and S. Giovanni Evangelista the figure of eighty-five percent for S. Martino coming from the same sestiere stands out. Reasons lie in the type of confraternity and in its location: while S. Giovanni Evangelista was a scuola dei battuti and S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco was located in a prestigious church, S. Martino was a scuola piccola in an ordinary parish church far from the central areas of Rialto and San Marco. Therefore there were few reasons to join the Scuola di S. Martino except if one lived in the area or was connected with it through personal relationships or work.

For more than a quarter of the sisters the membership list of S. Martino referred to occupational activities, but their precise occupation was recorded in only thirty-three percent of these cases -- equal to eight percent of all sisters. In the remaining sixty-seven percent of the cases -- corresponding to eighteen percent of all -- the occupations of the husbands appear, which nonetheless permits recognition of the social background of the sisters. (112) The sisters' occupations represented many crafts and trades, and, on the whole, they suggest that the popolo minuto (common people) was the basic component of the Scuola di S. Martino. According to the register, eleven sisters of the Scuola di S. Martino lived in the hospice Ca' de Dio which was located in the same parish. (113) As we have seen, the statute of this confraternity complained that "one has to give many alms and especially to the sisters. (114) Probably also these fellow-sisters in the hospice had to be helped. On the other hand, there were only a few wealthy sisters: one women is indicated to be "noble" in a confraternal sense, so; about twenty must have been noble according to their family names.

Fifty-seven percent of the sisters' entries contain the indication "de ser" followed by a male first name and possibly the indication of a profession. These denominations are very likely to refer to their husbands. (115) Comparing these male names with the list of the brethren, reveals in ninety-seven cases the records correspond fully and in twenty-four cases only the parish diverges, a fact that can be explained by moving and different recording dates. Taking both figures together, it is clear that both husbands and wives were members of the Scuola di S. Martino in forty-four percent of the cases in which husbands are indicated. On the whole, it means that one quarter of all sisters were united in marriage to one of the brethren. Therefore, in the Scuola di S. Martino family and famille artificielle -- as Gabriel Le Bras called confraternities -- overlapped extensively. (116) Nicholas Terpstra reports that forty percent of the sisters of the Bolognese confraternity of S. Bernardino in 1454 were related to male members, and thirty percent of those of S. Bartolomeo di Reno in 1471. In Sansepolcro it was uncommon that both wife and husband joined the fraternity of San Bartolomeo. For the early sixteenth century, Anna Esposito notices that most female members of the confraternity of the Gonfalone in Rome were related to male members. (117) She adds that this was common everywhere in Italy. The data of the Scuola di S. Martino converge with her assertion, but those of the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista and those of the Scuola di S. Maria di Misericordia e S. Francesco do not.

A membership list, which is preserved together with the statute of the Scuola dell'Umilta, records seventy-seven women and covers probably a period of 110 years. It is called "Lista delle donne al tempo di fra' Petruzo e dopo la sua morte" and on the last page bears the date 1463. (118) For only two women it is reported that one was gastalda and the other sottogastalda, although there must have been many more officers in 110 years.

According to the family names sixty-seven of the seventy-seven enrolled women were noble; three of the remaining ten were designated as strazarola (second-hand dealer) and relatives of a strazarola. Among the sixty-seven noble women there are many names of case vecchie. For sixty-two of the seventy-seven sisters of the Umilta the parish of residence is given: about half (thirty-two) lived in the sestiere Castello and the rest (thirty) in other sestieri. In this case, the fact of living relatively close to the convent of Celestia, where the scuola was located, and to the hospital Pieta encouraged participation in this scuola.

In the membership list of the Scuola dell'Umilta almost all women were denominated with their first and second names, and relationship attributes were added in only ten occasions. (119) Seven women were indicated as being relatives of fellow sisters, three were indicated as wives or sisters of men. In the way of denominating lay women this list diverges from the Venetian use, which included a reference to a husband or father. Only religious women were commonly denominated with their first and second names.

These few surviving membership lists of Venetian scuole show the great differences in the social origin of the sisters: in the Scuole di S. Giovanni Evangelista, dell'Umilta and di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco there was a high rate of nobles, while in the Scuola di S. Martino working women were numerous. Nonetheless marginal women, too poor to afford the fees, were unlikely to be members of the scuole; only persons who were already members could apply for exemption from payment, if they fell into poverty. The scarcity of membership lists of sisters does not allow reliable conclusions on the social background and the place of residence of the female members of all scuole. These lists do show that the social composition strongly diverged from one confraternity to the other.


S. Maria dell'Umilta is the only Venetian scuola known so far that enrolled only women. It fulfilled important tasks for the Pieta, the foundlings hospital. This had been erected by a Franciscan friar, Fra Petruzo from Assisi, and was under the doge's patronage. (120) In 1354, a few years after the death of Petruzo, the Great Council formally transferred the responsibility for the administration of the hospital to the women of the Scuola dell'Umilta who were already carrying it out. (121) "At the plea of the gastalda and other women of the Scuola di Santa Maria dell'Umilta -- who are running at present the administration of our hospital, the Pieta -- it is conceded to them what they ask, that the present and future prioress elected by the scuola must be confirmed by the doge and his successors if she seems sufficient to him." (122)

The priora (prioress) of the hospital was named by the sisters of the scuola and had to report to them about her administration every year. Therefore, the members of the scuola, or at least their officers, must have been able to read and must have had some ability in calculating. They also elected two officers for the scuola itself ("according to the decision of all women or the majority of S. Maria of Umilta a gastalda and a deputy should be named"). (123) The statute of this scuola established that no man could be a member ("per algun modo ni via che in Ia dicta congregation de sancta Maria de humilita via algun homo"). The sisters appointed a noble man as the legal representative of the hospital in court (procurator dell ospedale) , but all other business of the scuola and of the hospital was in the hands of the sisters.

In order to appoint a prioress for the hospital, the women of the scuola presented a candidate to the doge, who confirmed the choice. In case there was more than one suitable candidate, they wanted God to solve the conflict, as he did in the times of the apostles ("volemo che Dio parta la differencia como fo al tempo di apostoli"). (124) The names of two or more candidates had to be written on pieces of paper, put into a box -- called bossolo -- and placed on the altar of the convent of Celestia or on the one of Pieta. Then a girl not older than seven years drew one of these papers. (125)

In the mariegola before the text of the statute, the names of the priore -- from the beginning of the hospital's administration through the sisters of the Umilta until 1480--were entered. "The first prioress of the Pieta was madona Caterina Loredani, the second was madona Gafoia from Chioggia, [then] dona Colerta, second-hand dealer; in 1406 madona Agnesina Loredani was made prioress of the Pierta, madona Zaneta Dandolo was made prioress of the Pieta on 6 April 1440, madona Maria Trevixan was made prioress of the Pieta on 27 March 1480." (126)

While almost all sisters of the scuola were nobles, the names show that this was not the case for all prioresses. To the list of the prioresses it was added that after the death of Zaneta Dandolo in 1463 "the venerable, pious, and noble women came together to elect a new priora." Then a list of twelve names follows. The same number is found in the list of electors of the priora in 1496. (127)

It is not possible to say whether the number of members of the Scuola dell' Umilta was fixed at the significant figure of twelve from the beginning, because no indication is given in the statute. Nonetheless, the statute required that a new sister could be admitted only when another died, in other words there was a numerus clausus. (128) By limiting the number to twelve -- at least in the second half of the fifteenth century -- and by requiring that differences concerning the election of the priora should be resolved by God's hand, these women imitated the apostles. This was unusual for a Venetian scuola, and even more in the case of a female institution. Only the brethren of the Scuola dei Dodici Apostoli ("of the twelve Apostles") behaved comparably: they formed an elite group within the Scuola della Carita and devoted themselves to the imitation of the aposdes. They were always twelve men. (129)

Devotion was not of prime importance to the Scuola dell'Umilta, nor was performance of manual work in the Pieta. Although the statute wanted the sisters to pray, to participate at a yearly assembly and at the funerals of fellow sisters, these women seem to have been above all a kind of supervisory board of the Pieta. Among the Venetian confraternities the Scuola dell'Umilta was an unusual elite women's club.

No other scuola -- according to its statute -- consisted of women only, but in the Scuola di S. Gregorio at a critical moment women played an extraordinary role, as Richard Mackenney emphasizes. (130) An opening passage of its statute notes that the confraternity was perishing because of the unworthiness of the men who had founded it ("per vilezza de lor"), and that only women members were left and they had saved the scuola. The statute does not make clear what happened in that period, it simply reports that normality had been restored, with a gastaldo as head of the scuola. In January 1351 Rizzardo Saii agreed with the gastalda, the degane, and sisters of the scuola that there should be a gastaldo and some degani again and that the gastaldo should be the responsible head of the scuola ("sia dottore e ministrador della scuola"). He himself became gastaldo at that moment. (131) Nonetheless the Scuola di S. Gregorio was the only one which gave the female officers the symbolic duty of carrying the signs of the s cuola. (132)


In the fourteenth century most Venetian scuole were open to women. Some miniatures illuminating the statutes capture this situation. Usually these miniatures did not depict members, but when they did, they showed brothers and sisters in a similar position within the scuola. On a miniature of the statute of the Scuola di S. Anna we can see a group of praying brothers on the left of the saint and on her right a similar group of praying sisters who are recognizable through the white scarves on their heads. (133) On a miniature of the statute of the Scuola di S. Teodoro a group of members is depicted following the saint. They are not segregated by sex, but women are recognizable again because of their white scarves, the corners of which fall over their shoulders down to their breasts, whereas men wear a white cap. (134)

If they wanted to enter a scuola, Venetian women had a wide choice, although this depended also on their financial resources. If they were looking for personal and social commitment, they could enter the confraternities offering women the possibility of becoming officers and giving them a wider range of action. Personal relationships and the fame of each scuola also influenced the choice, and this certainly explains the city wide attraction of some scuole.

The analysis of the lists of sisters shows how divergent the social composition of the female membership was from one scuola to the other: popolo minuto women in the parish-linked Scuola di S. Martino on the one side, numerous noble women in the Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista and in the Scuola dell'Umilta on the other. The considerable increase in the number of testatrices making bequests to the scuole and declaring themselves to be members proves that the interest of women in these institutions grew in the course of the fourteenth century.

The period studied shows contrasting developments concerning the rights and possibilities of women in the scuole. In the first half of the fourteenth century the exclusion of women from the prestigious scuole grandi and from some scuole piccole illustrates a tendency to ostracize women. The sources do not make clear what led to the exclusion of women from these confraternities. For sure, public flagellation was one reason why women were generally excluded from this type of confraternity. But this alone cannot explain an exclusion that took place in the first half of the fourteenth century; while flagellation was practiced since the foundation of these scuole. Much more the social meaning of the scuole grandi was slowly changing, as they were developing into meeting points and arenas of public activity for those male citizens who, after the serrata (closing) of the Great Council, had no chance to enter the ruling class. Women, who were strictly excluded from politics, were probably unwelcome also in institutio ns on their way to become substitutes for politics.

In most scuole piccole the development went the other way, so that both tendencies virtually crossed. Resolutions providing for the admission of sisters and granting them explicitly the same rights and duties as brothers were added at a later point to many statutes of the scuole founded earlier than 1350. The meetings for common prayer and other confraternal activities not only permitted women to care for their spiritual salvation, but they offered also a space for sociability; For women members, confraternities supplemented relations in the family, in the neighborhood, in the parish, and at work. Moreover, activities in the scuole brought them social recognition, because they furthered their own spiritual salvation as well as aided the needy. Within the scuole the relationships among fellow sisters developed both at the same level and hierarchically.

From the middle of the fourteenth century female officers are well documented for many scuole piccole. Although their competencies were limited compared to their male colleagues, the fact that in these institutions there were women acting as officers was uncommon enough to be worth noticing. Sisters could regard the office of a gastalda or a degana as a chance to exercise power, to take on responsibility and thereby to gain respect, but also as a tiresome burden. Probably most sisters -- as well as brothers -- joined a scuola to attend to their devotional practices, to receive help in case of need, but did not wish to take on any office. Nonetheless, the scuole allowed women something seldom possible for them in the fourteenth century: public appearance. Like almost everywhere, in Venice women were excluded from most public domains and, unlike other places, in fourteenth-century Venice no women became famous as saints. The scuole represented a place where women could become visible, e.g., by attending process ions or representing the scuola before a notary. It is significant that in some scuole the typical procedures of Venetian politics were also valid for women: the election with the bossolo in the Scuola dell'Umilta as well as the contumacia before a re-election.

However, only in a few scuole female officers were allowed to admit new sisters; generally the enrollment in the membership lists and the finances were tasks that the male officers did not leave to the gastalda and the degane. If this had happened, two parallel sections, equal in rank, would have arisen in each scuola. But the scuole remained united institutions in which men and women joined under the rule of a board of male officers, and in which women organized some domains among themselves.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries some Venetian scuole, formerly reserved to men, were opened to women, for instance the Scuola di Sant'Agnese in 1457. (135) The reason for this change was stated explicitly: it was the only way to stop the decline of the scuola. (136) In 1534 the assembly of the Scuola di S. Cristoforo, which was lacking members, declared that, as other scuole had great advantage from the membership of women, they would admit them in spite of the original statute. (137) Thus, in 1570 when the Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco merged with the Scuola di S. Cristoforo, women could join the former too, a scuola from which they had been excluded in the early fourteenth century. Similar developments can be found in other Italian cities, as Casagrande has shown for Umbria. In Bologna women were permitted to join confraternities in the early sixteenth century, after a period of relative exclusion, and many did. (138)





The table shows the rights and opportunities of Venetian women in the scuole, i.e., in which scuole they could be members or officers, which activities they could or must attend, which tasks they fulfilled, etc. A field is checked only when a positive indication emerges from the sources, mostly the statutes. For instance, the field "Bread" is checked if the statute of the scuola says that bread and a candle were given to "our brothers and sisters." If it is not checked, it may mean that the statute of the scuola does not deal with this topic, or that such expressions as zaschun de la scola, persona de la nostra scola, zaschun nostrofrar were used, from which we do not know whether they referred to brethren only or to all members. In the field "Sister" the indication "no" is given when women were excluded from a confraternity.

The information dates from the end of the period studied. Therefore the table does not record the changes that took place during the period, for instance that there were sisters in the scuole grandi at the beginning of the fourteenth century or that sisters in the scuole piccole had the tolella only in the second half of the century.


NAME: name of the scuola in the vernacular.

REF: Most references are to the fondi in the Archivio di Stato, Venezia, particularly: "" (Provveditori di Comune); "scuole piccole" ("scuole piccole e suifragi"); each "scuola grande" has a fondo under its name, NT (Archivio notarile, testamenti); and PSM (Procuratori di S. Marco). Other abbreviations are: "Correr" (Biblioreca del Museo Cotter); "Corner" (Corner, Venetae et torcellanae ecclesiae antiquis monumentis); and "Marciana" (Biblioteca Marciana).

DATE: foundation of the scuola or earliest known date.

PLACE: parish or convent where the scuola was located.

MATR: the statute is preserved.

SISTER: there were sisters in the scuola.

LIST: lists, quaderni or rotoli, where names of sisters were registered, are referred to in the mariegola ego/a or are preserved.

FEAST: sisters had to attend solemn masses and processions on the di ordinati.

CHAP: sisters had to attend the general meeting (capitulum).

BREAD: sisters received a consecrated bread and a candle once or twice a year.

DICE: the statute considered the possibility that sisters played at dice.

SIN: the statute considered the possibility that sisters lived in state of mortal sin.

OUT: the statute considered the possibility that sisters fell ill or died outside Venice.

TOLL: sisters had a tolella.

GAST: gastolda in the scuola.

DEGA: degane in the scuola or their number.

ILL: female officers were responsible for ill sisters; this could refer to visiting during illness and to collecting money for financial support.

BODY: female officers had duties in washing the dead bodies (bagnar lo corpo) or at the burials of sisters.

CONT: female officers had to supervise and control the moral behavior of sisters, to admonish, and eventually exclude them from the scuola as well as to readmit them after a period of penitence.

ELEC: female officers were elected in the general meeting following the same procedure as their male colleagues.

NUMBER: the number of members was limited. The figures refer to ordinary members, not to the per nobili. In the statute of the Scuola di S. Croce the space to write down the maximum number of sisters was left blank.
Name Ref Date

Agnese scuole picc. 1,2 12.12.1339
Alberto provv. com., AA, 271-86
Alvise provv. com., N, 325-36 1370
Andrea provv. com., R, 258-73 Nov.1347
Anna scuole picc. 24 1351
Apostoli (Carita) scuole picc. 59, 60
Apostoli (Apostoli) provv. com., O, 257-83, 30.03.1350
 sc.picc. 57a
Ascensione scuole picc. 89 1324
Beata Vergine provv. com., BB, 103-34 20.06.1399
Carita carita, b.233 Dec. 1260
Caterina (Eustachio) provv. com., R, 40-74 April 1324
Caterina Sacchi) Correr 118 15.11.1337
Celestia scuole picc.726, Q, 15.03.1337
Ciechi prcom, U, 462-572 15.08.1315
Cosma e Damian prcom, Q, 683-706
Cristoforo prcom, N, 676-93 Jan. 1346(7)
Cristoforo Mercanti prcom, N, 561-674 1377
Francesco (Vigna) scuole picc. 355 18.07.1346
Francesco (Frari) prcom, BB, 293-329 Febr. 1356
Gerolamo Correr, matr. 113 16.12.1377
Giobbe prcom, N, 124-35 20.01.139(5)6
Giovanni Batt. (Tempio) prcom, P, 546-76 13.03.1359
Giov. Batt. (Venerabile) prcom, P, 81-100 1322
Giovanni Evangelista Giov. Evang.,re.g. 7 1261
Giuliano e Carlo prcom, U, 573-631 Sept. 1277
Gregorio prcom, Z, 161-77 Oct. 1323
Leonardo Correr, matr. 93; 31.03.1395
 prcom, U, 1-29
Lucia prcom, N, 396-409 13.10.1323
Madalena Corner, eccl. ven.,
Marina Correr, matr. 68; 25.04.1324
 prcom, Q, 210-45
Marta provv. com., 29.06.1361
 Z, 25-41
Martino Correr, matr. 137; March 1335, Q, 353-82
Mattia provv. com., V, 389-428 Jan. 1247(8)
Misericordia Francesco Misericordia reg. 1 1261
Misericordia-S. Maria Misericordia reg. 3 1308
Moise e Vettore Correr, matricole 201 Feb. 1358(9)
Nicolo provv. com., AA, 91-124 Aug. 1319
Nicolo e Nicheto provv. com., Z, 142-58 1237
Orsola scuole picc. 597 1300
Rafaele e Niceta provv. com., AA, 320-27 1280
Saba (venerabile) provv. com., P, 101-27 1399
Santa Croce provv. com., R, 235-54 May 1359
Spirito Santo Marciana, catastico, 1333
 S.M. Broglio
Stefano provv. com., T, 503-31, 1299
 Correr matr. 3
Teodoro Correr, matricole 21 May 1258
Tomaso Corner, eccl.ven., 2:329
Umilta Correr, matricole 24 15.12.1353
Zotti provv. com., T, 364-438 01.11.1392
Total = 49 - -

Name Place Matr Sister List

Agnese S. Agnese x no
Alberto Carmini x x
Alvise S. Alvise x x
Andrea S. Andrea x x
Anna Celestia x x x
Apostoli (Carita) S. Maria Carita x no
Apostoli (Apostoli) SS. Apostoli x x

Ascensione S. Maria Broglio x x
Beata Vergine S. Polo x x
Carita Carita x no
Caterina (Eustachio) S. Eustachio x x x
Caterina Sacchi) S. Caterina Sacchi x x
Celestia Celestia x x

Ciechi S. Moise x x
Cosma e Damian S. Giovanni novo x x x
Cristoforo S. Maria Crociferi x no
Cristoforo Mercanti S. Maria Orto x no
Francesco (Vigna) S. Francesco della Vigna x x
Francesco (Frari) S. Maria dei Frari x x
Gerolamo S. Marcuola x x
Giobbe S. Giobbe x x
Giovanni Batt. (Tempio) S. Giovanni Tempio x x x
Giov. Batt. (Venerabile) S. Giov. Batt. Bragora x x
Giovanni Evangelista S. Stin x no
Giuliano e Carlo S. Giuliano x x
Gregorio S. Gregorio x x
Leonardo S. Leonardo x x x

Lucia S. Lucia x x
Madalena S. Madalena x

Marco S. Croce no
Marina S. Marina x x x

Marta S. Marta x x x

Martino S. Martino x x x

Mattia Murano, S. Bartolomeo x no
Misericordia Francesco S. Maria Frari x x x
Misericordia-S. Maria Valverde x no
Moise e Vettore S. Moise x x
Nicolo Carmini x no
Nicolo e Nicheto S. Nicolo Mendicoli x x
Orsola S. Giovanni e Paolo x x x
Rafaele e Niceta S. Raffaele x no
Saba (venerabile) S. Antolin x x x
Santa Croce S. Croce x x x
Spirito Santo S. Maria Broglio x

Stefano S. Stefano x x

Teodoro S. Salvador x x x
Tomaso S. Toma x
Umilta Celestia x x x
Zotti S. Angelo x x
Total = 49 - 44 38 15

Name Feast Chap

Alvise x
Anna x x
Apostoli (Carita)
Apostoli (Apostoli) x x

Beata Vergine x x
Caterina (Eustachio) x x
Caterina Sacchi) x x
Celestia x x

Cosma e Damian x x
Cristoforo Mercanti
Francesco (Vigna) x
Francesco (Frari) x x
Giobbe x x
Giovanni Batt. (Tempio) x x
Giov. Batt. (Venerabile) x x
Giovanni Evangelista
Giuliano e Carlo x
Gregorio x x
Leonardo x x


Marina x x

Marta x x

Martino x x

Misericordia Francesco
Misericordia-S. Maria
Moise e Vettore x x
Nicolo e Nicheto x
Orsola x
Rafaele e Niceta
Saba (venerabile) x x
Santa Croce x x
Spirito Santo


Teodoro x x
Umilta x
Total = 49 24 22

Name Bread Dice Sin Out Toll Gast Dega Ill

Alvise x x x x
Andrea x x x x
Anna x x x x x x
Apostoli x x x x x 4 x
Beata Vergine x x x 12 x
Caterina x x x x 7 x
Caterina x x x
Celestia x x x x
Cosma e x x x x x
Francesco x x x x
Gerolamo x 12 x
Giobbe x x x x x
Giovanni Batt. x x x x x x
Giov. Batt. x x x x x
Giuliano e x 5
Gregorio x x x 4 x
Leonardo x x x
Lucia x x x
Madalena x x
Marina x x x 6
Marta x x 6 x
Martino x x x x x
Moise e Vettore x x x x
Nicolo e Nicheto
Orsola x x x x
Rafaele e Niceta x x x x x
Saba (Venerabile)
Santa Croce x x x x 6
Spirito santo
Stefano x x
Teodoro x x x x x 8-12 x
Tomaso x x
Umilta x x
zotti x
Totalv = 49 15 6 16 10 9 29 26 17

Name Body Cont Elec Number

Andrea x
Anna x x
Apostoli x x x 600 women
Beata Vergine x x
Caterina x x x
Caterina x x 400 w.,
(Sacchi) 500 m.
Celestia x x 700 w., 700 m.
Cosma e x x
Francesco x 200
(Frari) women *
Gerolamo x x
Giobbe x x x
Giovanni Batt. x x
Giov. Batt. x x
Giuliano e x
Gregorio x x 500 persons
Leonardo x x
Lucia x 300 w., 500 m.
Marina x x x 300 w., 400 m.
Marta x x x
Martino x x
Moise e Vettore x x
Nicolo e Nicheto
Rafaele e Niceta x x
Saba (Venerabile)
Santa Croce x x x
Spirito santo
Teodoro x x
Umilta x
Totalv = 49 23 8 20 --

* In the Scuola id S. Francesc (Frari) the limitation to 200 women was
abolished in 1357


The table shows fourteen cases in which we know that a scuola had female
members because a testatrix declared herself a sister of that scuola.
Since we have not been able to retrace the statures or other archival
evidence for the time before 1400 for the following scuole, testaments
are the only witnesses of female membership.

These cases are unsystematically collected, resulting from archival
researches for other purposes, but hint at the great number of
confraternities that must have existed.

Name Testator Sign Date

Angelo Madalena Bisol PSM citra, b.316, 04.08.1369
 Widow Maffeo Bisol fasc. 13
 Caterina widow NT, b.850, Bart. de 21.12.1386
 Nicolo Morosini Recovratis, ced.42

Bernardo Madalena Bisol PSM citra, b.316, 04.08.1369
 widow Maffeo Bisol fasc.13

Biagio Lucia widow Nicolo NT, b.747, Luca 23.03.1381
 balistario Novello, ced. 21

Clara Caterina wife Nicolo NT, b.723, Benedeto 17.08.1394
 Rusco Michiel, prot

Elena Caterina de Valor NT, b.731, Tomaso de 04.02.1399
 Malombra, ced. 24 (=l400)

Felice Lucha widow Fre- PSM citra, b.321, 24.11.1400
 derico lapicida fasc.688

Filippo e Caterina de Valor NT, b.731, Tomaso de 04.02.1399
Giacomo Malombra, ced. 24 (=1400)

Giovanni Caterina Griti widow NT, b.555, Antonio 16.02.1377
Battista Marco Griti Nigro, f.35 (=8)

Giovanni Eufemia NT, b. 1113, Marino di 09.01.1382
Laterano Buscareno san Trovaso, quad., 79 (=3)

Lorenzo Lucia widow Nicolo NT, b.723, Benedeto 18.10.1390
 balistrario Michiel, prot

Maria dei Lucia widow Nicolo NT, b.723, 18.10.1390
Carmeliti balistrario Benedeto Michiel, prot

Maria di Caterina Griti widow NT, b.555, Antonio 16.01.1377
Grazia Marco Griti Nigro, f.35 (=8)

Venerando Caterina wife Marco NT, b.572, Giorgio 28.08.1380
(a?) da Canal Gibellino,ced. 44

Vittore Lucia widow Nicolo NT, b.723, Benedeto 18.10.1390
 balistrario Michiel, prot

Total = 14

Name Place

Angelo S. Angelo

Bernardo S. Vidal





Filippo e

Giovanni S. Barnaba



Maria dei

Maria di



Total = 14


Sisters' occupations

 camisera (seamstress of shirts) 1; candeliera (chandler) 1;
coltrera (quilter) 1; corezera (armourer) 1; custoda (custodian) 1;
filaoro (maker of gold threads) 2; filiera (spinner) 1; fornera (baker)
1; marcera (mercer) 1; miedega (medical practitioner) 1; oretera
(goldsmith) 3; pancuologa (baker) 1; pilizera (furrier) 1; pistoresa
(baker) 1; pistrinera (miller) 2; sertoesa (tailor) 2; tesera (weaver)
4; vardia (guard) 1; varotera (furrier of squirrel) 1; venderigola
(seller) 2; vendidrapi (draper) 1.


 dal formento (grain) 1; dal oio de lin (linseed oil) 1; dal oro
(gold) 1; dala grana (grain) 2; dale camese (shirts) 1; dale cape
(capes) 1; dale erbe (herbs) 1; dale tele (canvas) 1; dale vele (sails)
1; dalo bin (linen) 1.

Husbands' occupations

 bancher (banker) 3; barbier (barber) 2; bater (cotton beater) 1;
batioro (gold beater) 3; becher (butcher) 2; bocaber (potter) I; boter
(cooper) 2; calafado (caulker) 1; calegher (shoemaker) 4; cimador (cloth
shearer) 1; coltrer (quilter) 1; comandador (commander) 1; cuogo (cook)
1; corezer (armourer) 1; favro (smith) 2; filacanevo (hempspinner) 1;
forner (baker) 3; fostagner (producer of fustian) 1; frutarol (fruit
seller) 1; galeder (cooper of buckets) 1; laner (wool merchant) 1;
maistro (master) 1; marangon (carpenter) 4; maser (administrator) 1;
miedego (doctor, physician) l; pancuogolo (baker) 1; remer (oarmaker) 4;
sabloner (sandsupplier) 12; samiter (brocade weaver) 2; sartor (tailor)
8; scaleter (confectioner) 1; scrivan (scribe) 1; scudeler (maker of
dishes) 2; segador (sawyer) 1; spicier (apothecary) 1; tentor (dyer) 2;
trobador (troubadour) 1; zocholer (maker of wooden shoes) 1; zuper
(doublet-maker) 4.


 dale calze (tights)l; de lino (linen) 1; dela seda (silk) 1.


(each of the six administrative districts of the city)

 S. Maria
Sestiere/ Misericordia e S. Giovanni S. Martino S. Maria
Scuola S. Francesco Evangelista dell'Umilta

S. Marco 2 6.0% 59 19% 29 6.2% 17 27.4%
S. Polo 8 24.2% 104 33% 6 1.3% 3 4.8%
S. Croce 10 30.3% 57 18% 2 0.4% - -
Dorsoduro 6 18.2% 17 5% 8 1.7% - -
Canareggio 2 6.1% 29 9% 28 5.9% 10 16.1%
Castello 5 15.2% 50 16% 398 84.5% 32 51.7%
Subtotal 33 100% 316 100% 471 100% 62 100%
sestiere 20 0 12 15
Total 53 316 483 77

* This article is the work of both authors. We would like to thank all who helped with information, advice, and encouragement: Irmgard Fees, Luca Mola, Andrea Mozzatto, Reinhold C. Mueller, Francesca Ortalli, Lorenza Pamato, Stefano Piasentin, Francesca Zanelli. We are grateful to Ricky Kurz and Steve Stapp for revising the English version, and RQ for its competent editorial support.

(1.) Grundmann; Vauchez. Regarding Italy, Meersseman; Rusconi; Benvenuri Papi; Terpstra, 2000. For bibliography see Pamato, 1998; Eisenbichler; Confraternitas (Toronto).

(2.) For a presentation of current research on women in late medieval confraternities, Casagrande, 2000, 48-50. See also Naselli; Weissmann; Black, 1989, 34-38; Terpstra, 1990; Casagrande, 1994; Henderson, 110-11; Terpstra, 1995; Strocchia, 1998; Brolis and Brembilla; Esposito; Vincent, 604.

(3.) Casagrande, 2000.

(4.) Brolis and Brembilla, 117.

(5.) Bornstein, 70-71.

(6.) Esposito, 93-95.

(7.) Naselli, 322.

(8.) Casagrande, 2000, 48-49; Rondeau, 34-35.

(9.) Banker, 62-88, 149.

(10.) Reproduction in Patriarchi, 298.

(11.) Strocchia, 1998, 49. Casagrande, 2000, 53.

(12.) On the types of scuole existing in Venice from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, see Mackenney, 2000. Some scuole battutorum became communes in the fourteenth century. The Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco was founded as a flagellant confraternity, but at least by the middle of the fourteenth century it had become a scuola communis. The Scuola di S. Teodoro underwent a similar change, but in the sixteenth century it was transformed into a scuola grande. There were also the scuole belonging to the guilds and the nationales, which were founded by inhabitants of foreign origin. In the course of the fourteenth century the confraternities of the Third Order of the Dominicans and Franciscans, the scuole del rosario (of the rosary), and those of the Corpus Domini appeared. According to the decisions of the Council of the Ten of 26 July 1408 and of 26 June 1409 the Third Orders were not allowed to form scuoje. ASV (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), Consiglio dei Dieci, Deliberazioni Miste , reg. 9, fol. 13r and fol. 28r.

(13.) Sbriziolo, 1968; 1967-68; 1970.

(14.) Pullan, 1981; Romano, 1984; Mackenney, 1986; 1987; 1994; Sorelli, 1995; De Sandre Gasparini; Brown.

(15.) Ortalli; Pamato, 2001. Pamato's study on thirteenth-century scuole grandi is in print.

(16.) Chojnacki.

(17.) Sorelli, 2000; Guzzetti, 1998a; 1998b.

(18.) Casagrande, 2000. This terminology is proposed by Angela Groppi for the workplaces and used by Giovanna Casagrande for the devotional confraternities.

(19.) The following abbreviations and designations are used: ASV (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), from these fondi: NT (Archivio notarile testamenti); CI (Cancelleria inferiore, notai); Provv. Com. (Provveditori di Comun), Scuole piccole e suffragi, Consiglio dei Dieci; Biblioteca Museo Correr (Correr). Busta is abbreviated to b., protocollo to prot., registro to reg. The terms matricula I mariegola (singular) and matricule I mariegole (plural) in Venice indicate statutes, but also membership lists. The statutes of Venetian scuole have been preserved only partly in original editions. Often we possess only later copies, especially those in the volumes which a Venetian authority, the Proyveditori de Comun, had copied in the eighteenth century. From those cases in which we can compare the original version of the mariegola with the copy of the Provveditori, it is evident that the later copies are reliable, as Mackenney, 1994, 388-89, emphasizes. However, later copies have to be used with caution when we do not kno w which original version the Provveditori used. Confraternities usually had their mariegole copied, if they could afford it. In the late fifteenth century the Scuola di Sant'Orsola, for instance, had a new mariegola illuminated in Renaissance style (ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 597), but it preserved an old unbound statute book as well, a "matricola vecchia slegara" (Ibid., b. 600). The Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco is exceptional: four original mariegole and one copy are preserved and the existence of another can be deduced from the material of the scuola. The Provveditori had copied only the statutes of confraternities still existing at their time; therefore some confraternities appear in fourteenth-century sources but not in the late copies.

(20.) important passage of Scripture on the equality of all humanity is in the letter of Paul to the Galatians (3:28): "There is no such thing as Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus."

(21.) The statute of the Scuola della Beata Vergine Annunziata de' Zotti, for instance: "per le anime delli fratelli e delle sorelle le quali son passate de questa vita all'altra" (for the souls of the brothers and sisters who have passed away). ASV, Prow. Com., Reg. T (S. Marco), fol. 366v, chap. 3.

(22.) In quam possint intrare omnes persone tam masculi quam femine. ASV, Consigilo dei Dieci, Deliberazioni Miste, reg. 8, fol, 26v; 31.03.1395. Ibid., fol. 63r; 15.09.1400: tam masculi quam femine... sicuti in aliis scolis similibus observatur. Shriziolo, 1967-68, 421-24, Nr. 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, A first attempt to erect a Scuola di S. Leonardo was made in 1368, but the Council of Ten did nor allow it ("capta de non"). ASV, Gonsiglio dei Dieci, Deliberazioni Miste, reg. 6, fol. 67r; 21.06.1368. Lia Shriziolo, 1967-68,420, Nr.5, cook this for a favourable decision, confusing scholars ever since, including Mackenney, 2000, 175.

(23.) For forty-four scuole the statutes are preserved, including in most cases some resolutions of general assemblies of the members. See Appendix, Table 1.

(24.) See Appendix, Table 2.

(25.) Mackenney, 1994, 393-94, n. 21.

(26.) S. Giovanni Battista presso S. Giovanni del Tempio (ASV, Provv. Com., reg. P (Gastello), fols. 546-76): Avegnacche in ciaschedun capirolo non siano cosi nominate le sorelle come li fratelli per non moltiplicar troppe parole mentre pero volemo et ordenemo che tutti li ordinamenti sia soci comuni alle sorelle come alli fratelli. Likewise in the statutes of SS. Cosma e Damian: ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Q (Castello), fols. 683-706, and S. Leonardo, Correr, matricole 93; ASV, Provv. Com., reg. U (S. Marco), fols. 1-29.

(27.) On the contrary, the frari of the Scuola della Celestia who had to take their tolella (wooden tablet) were only the men; see below, page 1172.

(28.) The rulings of most scuole provided for a reprimand by the gastoldo (warden) -- up to the exclusion from the confraternity -- if a member endangered his fortune by playing at dice. The statute of the Scuola di S. Martino ruled: "se alcun nostro frar o soror zugasse a dadi in ral maniera che lo spendesse lo so malamente" (ASV, Prow. Com., reg. Q (Castello), chap. 15, fol. 356r). On gambling in late medieval Venice: Crouzet-Pavan, 37-38; she does nor mention the efforts of the scuole to check this vice of their members.

(29.) The ruling could also concern other sins: for instance, the fear was expressed that members of the scuola could be thieves or that they could bear their fathers or mothers.

(30.) ASV, Provv. Com. reg. U (S. Marco), fol. 5r, chap. 5; tutti li ben che se fa per la nostra congregation sieno comuni cosi alle fradelli come alle sorelle, cosi etiamdio le sorelle sono tegnude ad alcuna parte delle spese.

(31.) ASV Provv. Coin., reg. BB (S. Polo), fol. 296v, chap. 21; alcun fradello o sorella de questa benedeta scuola non osa ne debbia levarse per rengar cosa alcuna in capitolo senza licenza de messer gastaldo.

(32.) Ibid., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), fol. 164v; in pien capitolo peril boni homeni e donne della scuola. The term boni homines here means just members, not a subgroup of the confraternity as was provided for in the scuole grandi. Sbriziolo, 1970, 2:726; Wurthmann, 30-32.

(33.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. U (S. Marco), fol. 58l v, chap. 25, 16.12.1399.

(34.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, busta 726, cap. 30. Correr, matricole 118, f.14 v, chap. 42.

(35.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. O (Cannareggio), f. 263r, chap. 47.

(36.) Ibid., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), f. 164r.

(37.) Francesca Ortalli mentions that at the end of the fifteenth century the Scuola grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista applied to the Council of Ten for permission to receive more members than allowed. Furthermore, Ortalli judges that in the late fourteenth-early fifteenth century all scuole piccole together involved a large number of inhabitants, possibly about 20,000, far more than the scuole grandi (Ortalli, 41-43, 85-86). Probably one could better say that scuole piccole offered 20,000 membership places, for many Venetians seem to have been members of more than one scuola (Guzzetri, 218).

(38.) The six scuole which two tombs were 55. Apostoli (in the church of SS. Apostoli), S. Giovanni Battista (in S. Giovanni in Bragora), S. Giovanni Battista (in Tempio), SS. Giuliano e Carlo, S. Marina, and S. Teodoro. The Scuola di S. Alberta in S. Maria dei Carmini provided for a tomb for sisters through a legacy of "dona Dionora," as Mackenney notes, 1994, 393. ASV, Provy. Coin,, reg. AA (Dorsoduro), fol. 271-86; fol. 274r, chap. 19. The scuole which offered a tomb left the dying member the choice among their tomb, the one of his or her family, one of the parish, or one of another scuola.

(39.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), fol. 163r; un'arca o un monumento in S. Gregorio in li qual se debbia sepelir quelli che vorra.

(40.) These data are based on a sample of 500 testaments made by women and 100 by men from the first quarter of the fourteenth century and a sample of the same size from the last quarter. Guzzetti, 1998a, 218-19.

(41.) See the case of Caterina Volpin cited below.

(42.) The Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde, founded in 1308, admitted women before 1320: "Ancora volemo ke lo guardian dela dita scola possa recever en la dita scola quele done vedove o marie le quale elo crera ke sia ben e utilita de la dita scola" (We want the warden of the confraternity to be permitted to receive [as members] those married or widowed women whom he will judge to be convenient for the good of this confraternity). ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde, reg. 3, fol. 12r. In the Scuola di S. Marco there probably were no sisters, but this cannot be verified because of the lack of sources.

(43.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria della Carita, b. 233; exclusion of women: fol. 3r; prayer association: fols. 9v-12v. In the list of nunneries from which the brethren of the Carita expected prayers, there are also some names of religious women who did not belong to a convent, for instance "soror Benasuta et Antonia cum sororibus suis" and "heremita sancti Hermacore." The preserved mariegola of the Scuola della Carita is not the first version, so it can not be excluded that there had been sisters previously.

(44.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 1-2, reg. of 1617, fol. 43v. [Caterina Contarini had bestowed] una ruba de veludo alesandrin, uno paro de maneghe con peroli 43 indorati con obligo che la scola nostra gli dasse il giorno della festa un pan et una candela. [Agnesina Sotanzo had bestoweed una vesta con peroli 39. It was not specified which use the scuola would make of these presents.

(45.) Weissmann, 212-13; Strocchia, 1989; Ibid., 1991; Ibid., 1992; Vincent.

(46.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde, reg. 1, mariegola, fol. 2r-v. "Item volumus quod domine qui intraverint fraternitatem istam partem habere de-beant de omnibus bonis que fiunt in raternitate per fratres tam de verberatione que fiunt in processioni quam de aliis bonis." "Item ordinamus quod si aliqua domina de fraternitate ista moretur quod idem fiat ei quam fit fratri... et quod omnes convenire debeant ad sepulturam non verberando se, sed quicumque voluerit se verberare propria voluntate verberet."

(47.) On the attendance of sisters in this scuola see below page 1175. On the early decades of the Scuola di S. Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco: De Sandre Gasparini, 947-50, although she mistakenly writes, 948, that the scuola was transferred to the priory of S. Maria delta Valverde. A detailed history of this confraternity is being prepared by Antje Ziemann.

(48.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista, n. 7, mariegola, fols. 16v-17r, chap. 55; this chapter is crossed out with red ink. The first date that appears in the mariegota is 1317; probably the preserved copy was written after 1323. "Item firmatum et ordinatum fuit in pleno capitulo 1318 ... quod aliquis guardianus non possit nec audeat recipere de dominabus mundanis in istis nostris scolis per minori precio grossorum quindecim pro una quaque... Insuper ordinamus quod semper quando domina aliqua intrare volet hanc nosrram frarernirarem dominus guardianus qui pro rempore erit teneatur et debeat petere si est de voluntate yin eiusdem ut debeat intrare ipsam congregationem." On the attendance of sisters in this scuola see below page 1175.

(49.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista, n. 7, mariegola, fol. 18r-v. "Item 1327 mense martii ad capitulum quod fuit factum tercia dominica quadragessime fuit ordinatum et placuit omnibus quod aliqua domina mundana deinceps non possit nec debear recipi in isris nostris scolis ullo modo seu ingenio et quod aliquis guardianus non audeat recipere nec petere in capitulo gratiam recipiendi aliquam dominam ut dictum est." On the exelusion of women, Pullan, 1971, 49.

(50.) A similar pattern can be traced in Umbria, where women were members of the Marian but not of the flagellant confraternities (Casagrande, 2000, 55).

(51.) ASV Provv. Com., reg. Q (Castello), fols. 478-99. The chapters about the rights and duties of the sisters are 36-41 (fols. 482v-83r). Previously only dead sisters are mentioned (chap. 2, fol. 478v).

(52.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 597. The preserved copy of the mariegola was written at the end of the fifteenth century.

(53.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 597, fol. 6v. Chapter thirty-two bears the heading "Nel mile trexento e disedoto."

(54.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. R (S. Croce), fols, 258-73, chap. 36-41.

(55.) Correr, matricole 21. On the date of erection of the scuola: Gallo, 463; De Sandre Gasparini, 948. "In luogo de lo batterse lo qual fo lassado se debia far cantar per algun de li diti frari ogno luni per tuto lanno messa una su lo dicto altar" (Correr, matricole 21, fol. 13r, chap. 6). In the Scuola grande di S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde other forms of asceticism could be substituted for flagellation. Yet, this was not true for all members, but only for those who were older than 60 years or ill or "exempt," i.e. brothers who were freed from flagellation by paying higher fees. During the flagellation procession the non-flagellant brothers had to stay in the church praying (ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria della Misericordia o del Valverde, reg. 3, fol. 4v, chap. 14).

(56.) In the following the terms gastalda and degana are used for the female officers, although in the sources we find numerous forms: gastolda, gastaldiona, chastalda, gastaldionessa, deganessa.

(57.) Brown 324: "Le fonti [sono] reticenti riguardo al livello effettivo della loro partecipazione." Mackenney, 1994.

(58.) Romano, 1987, 110; Mackenney, 1994, 393.

(59.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suifragi, b. 597, chap. 33, fol. 6v; segondo la usanza dele oltre scuole.

(60.) Celestia; ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 726, chap. 37, fol. 12v. S. Anna: ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 24, chap. 11, fol. 6r; "sia tegnude de domandar caritade a quele de la scuola."

(61.) Correr, matricole 137, chap. 8-10, fol. 3 right Ancora fo ordenado che quando algun nostro frar o seror pasera de questa vita sia tegnudi li degani selo sera frar, elle degane se sela sera seror andar ala casa o' che sera lo corpo e bagnarlo a far lo bagnar e puo portarlo a sopelir.

(62.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. BB (S. Polo), chap. 14-15, fol. 296r-v.

(63.) This was the case, e.g., in the Scuola di S. Caterina in S. Eustachio: ASV, Provv. Com., reg. R (S. Croce), chap. 30, fols. 40-74.

(64.) Correr, matricole 137, chap. 5, fol. 3 left; or ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Q(Castello), chap. 5, fol. 354r; Ancora volemo e ordenemo che senpre la quarta domenega de zascun mese del anno se debia cantar una messa sollenne con zago e sotto zago e con procession con la croce avanti e con lo confalon e cirii enprese, alla qual procession e messa diebia esser lo gastaldo con tutti li officiali e frari della scuola e la gastaldessa con tutte le sue degane e seror della scuola li qual tutti vaia dietro la procession con una candella in man impiada della scuola.

(65.) ASV, Provv. Corn., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), fol. 163v. Ancora volemo e ordenemo che lo gastaldo o la gastaldessa sia tegnudi d'andat a casa de ciascun passado de questa vita della nostra scuola con lo confalon e con le arnese della scuola."

(66.) Ibid., reg. R (S. Croce), chap. 26-27, fol. 43v; chap. 29, fol. 44r. "Allo capitolo fo ordenado e plasette a tutti che alcuna gastaldessa ne deganessa non possa ne non osi recevere alcuna donna in la scuola ne farla scriver su li ruodoli senza parola del gastaldo e delli suoi compagni a lo debbia far scrivere alcun su li ruodoli se no allo scrivan che sara deputado a cio per lo gastaldo e per li suoi compagni." In the statute of this scuola it was ruled that only a specially authorized scribe was allowed to write down entries in its valuable rotoli. Other statutes forbade likewise writing on the mariegola, not only to the female officers, but to everybody. Through these prohibitions the scuole tried to have their registers written by professional scribes and only in lettera formata (well-formed letters) because of their representative purpose. In the statute of the Scuola di SS. Moise e Vetore this was expressed as follows: "tuti li nomi di tuti li fradelli... debia eser scrito sovra questa marigola de letera de forma ... azo che per senestro scriver ella no si abrutada ni vasta" (all names of all brothers... have to be written in this mariegola in well formed letters ... not to have it spoiled by bad writing) (Correr, matricole 201, chap. 26, not numbered). Most scuole also had a scrivan (secretary) who was not a professional scribe, but a member elected every year and entrusted with the current writings and the administration of the scuola.

(67.) Ibid., matricole 118, fol. 12r.

(68.) Ibid., matricole 93, not numbered. Non sia licita cosa ni per muodo ne per inzegno poder scriver algun frar ni suor in questa congregation se no alo cancello la o che sia lo gastoldo cum li compagni... et questo medesmo ordine volemo che sia entro madona la gastoldessa de dopne che se recevera.

(69.) Ibid., matricola 3, fol. 10v, chap. 22 = ASV, Provv. Corn., reg. T (S. Marco), fols. 503-31; "anchora volemo chap guardiano e li sol compagni debia far elezer una gastalda per melgio [sic] a lor parera che sia solizita a far intrar tute le done a lei sara possibile e de star cum uno cancello el di' de La nostra festa in gexia a recever quelle voia intrar et in compagnia dela gastalda debiano star doi de li compagni per scriver quele intrara in la schuola."

(70.) S. Teodoro: Ibid., matricole 21, fol. 63b, fol. 64a, chap. 15; SS. Giuliano e Carlo, ASV, Provv. Com., reg. U (S. Marco), fol. 579v-80r, chap. 26; the resolution is dated 01.04.1353.

(71.) Correr, matricole 201, chap. 3: con la croxe in man dagandosse pax insembre. Similarly in the Scuola di S. Anna: ASV, Scuole piccole e suifragi, b. 24, chap. 6.

(72.) "Debbia legger questa mariegola in cospetto de tutti i fratelli e sorelle... e lo gastaldo vecchio debbia con li suoi compagni haver eletto uno gastaldo, et uno scrivan et degani 8 nuovi per uno anno, che die venir, e cost debbia far la gastaldessa vecchia con le soe deganesse vecchie e haver eletta una gastaldessa nuova e 6 deganesse nuove per lo ditto tempo, e quelli e quelle pronunciar in gran capitolo." S. Marta, ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), fol. 30r. "Ella diebia far lezer tuti li frari e seror liquali sie scriti in questa nostra mariegola e de quelli diebia alezer un che ii para che sia bon e suficiente gastoldo. E simele muodo diebia alezer 10 degani. E cosi diebia alezer dele nostre seror una che sia bona e suficiente gastaldesa con deganese." S. Martino, Correr, matricole 137, fol. 4 right, chap. 12.

(73.) Sbriziolo, 1967, 526, assumed that "la gastolda se pronuncia" meant that she had to give her opinion, and regretted that it was not explained on which matters. Guzzetti, 1998, 218, believed too that female officers had to give a statement when elected. The comparison of various statutes has convinced us that the formula is to be taken in a passive meaning, that is, that their names were announced. Significantly the statute of the Scuola della Celestia reads: "quando lo gastaldo e li degani sera eleti algun no li debia manifestar se lo gastoldo no li pronuncia" (Gelestia, ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 726, chap. 16, fol. 9r).

(74.) In the Scuola dei Santi Apostoli in the church of SS. Apostoli women, like men, could be reelected to office only after a two year period without office (Ibid., b. 57a, fol. 262r, chap. 41).

(75.) Ibid., b. 726, chap. 41, fol. 13v.

(76.) Ibid., reg. U (S. Marco), chap. 26, fols. 579v-80r. 26. E se una de queste done morisse che lo de' sia un'altra in so ... al plu tosto che se pora per mesier lo gasroldo e per i so compagni.

(77.) Ibid., reg. R (S. Croce), chap. 39, fol. 266v. This resolution was passed between 1352 and 1359. Volemo chel le sia azonto e scritto che per le dite done nui dobiemo far prima gastalda e alcune degane come a nui parera el meio, e quelle far in lo tempo che se fasse lo gastaldo e li altri officiali.

(78.) Ibid., reg. P (Castello), chap. 23, fol. 84v. E sommamente debba obbedir la gastaldessa e le deganesse allo gastaldo per utilitade de la scola.

(79.) Correr marricole 137, fal. 7 right. E dal altra parte lo gastoldo ella gastoldesa a quel tenpo &tare si dela dita scuola prometando e afermando per si e per li suo sucesari e per tuta la scuola sovradita.

(80.) "Lo gastaldo can li suoi compagni ... e cosi se intenda della gastaldessa con le sue deganesse che debbia esser alla ditta messa sotro la ditta pena." ASV, Provv. Com., reg. R (S. Croce), chap. 21, fol. 43r.

(81.) Correr, matricole 118, chap. 35, fol. 13r-v. "Sia tegnudo messer lo gastaldo de dar a quelle officiate ordene zoe alla gastolda e a le degane coma quelle se die rezer in quella anna."

(82.) Ibid., marricola 113, chap. 8.

(83.) ASV Provv. Com., reg. Q (Castello), chap. 26, fol. 689r-v. La gastaldo sia tegnudo de dar alla gastalda denari come li parera che faza mestier azo che ella possa sovegnir e far secondo como e ditto.

(84.) "The sections of the Venetian state archives "Cancelleria inferiore" and "Archivio notarile, atti" are so huge that such references cannot be easily found. Therefore we are very grateful to Luca Mola and Andrea Mozzatto who gave the following examples.

(85.) ASV, Cancelleria inferiore, notai, b. 167, Leono de Ravalono quondam ser Jacobi, fol. 381v. Apolonia Benado received for her scuola one ducat from Agnesina de Buora and one from Constanza Barbaro. For the Venetian monies see Lane and Mueller, 488-89.

(86.) "Ibid., b. 212, Tomaso de Tomei, reg. The legacies to the Scuola di S. Clara consisted in three gold ducats from Liseta Foscolo and two ducats from Clara, widow of Natale Trevisan, acknowledged on 30.12.1428. The legacy to the Scuola di S. Maria dei Carmini was two ducats from the same Clara, widow of Natale Trevisan, acknowledged on 15.01.1430.

(87.) Correr, matricola 113, chap. 8. "Tutti li denari che recevera madona la gastalda da quele done che entrera' in la scuola over per altra limosina che apartegnise ala scuola, e per lo simile le so compagne debia dar tuti i denari che le avera ricevudo lo plu tosto che se pora a misier lo chastoldo e chompagni."

(88.) "Tamquam privatum et singularem hominem possit hoc facere [to be appointed as executor], sed non modo ullo tamquam officialem nec sub nomine officii." Bigalea, 8.

(89.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Q(Castello), fol. 222. "Fu presa parte con il commun consenso in pien capitolo, che il gastaldo e la gastalda presenti e che saranno per l'avvenire siano obligadi di accettare tutte le commissarie delli compagni e compagne di questa nostra scuola."

(90.) A zaschuna delle mie scuole in llequali in lle mariegole io sera trovada scrita. ASV, NT, b. 1113, Marinus S. Gervasii, prot. 7, no. 7, 08.07.1382.

(91.) The statutes of the Scuola di S. Caterina dei Sacchi and of the Scuola di S. Leonardo, for example, provided that women who did not pay their fees should be tolerated for two years and then be expelled (Correr, matricole 118, chap. 40, fols. 14r-v. Ibid., matricole 93, not numbered).

(92.) See Ortalli, 163-64.

(93.) Correr, matricole 118, chap. 4, fols. 6v-7r.

(94.) The term di ordinati (actually "ordered days") meant the feast days of the scuola: one Sunday each month, the anniversary of the patron saint and other religious feast days. On each di ordinato a solemn mass was said.

(95.) ASV, Provv. Corn., reg. BB (S. Polo), chap. 5, fols. 104v-05r.

(96.) Ortalli, 36.

(97.) Ortalli notices that the use of the tolella for the sisters was extended in the first half of the fifteenth century to a greater number of scuole (Ortalli, 123)

(98.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 726, chap. 30, fol. 11v.

(99.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. R (S. Croce), chap. 41, fol. 267r.

(100.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. R (S. Croce), fol. 244r-v, 02.12.1370. Da mo' in avanti tute le donne della ditta scuola debia esser metude a tolela e che caschaduna donna della ditta scuola debia aver una tolella sovra la qual sia scrito lo so nome e fato 'l so segno e che ogna prima domenega del mese che s' e lo di ordenado le ditte donne debia vegnir alla casa della dicta scuola a levar le ditte soe tolelle o mandar a levarle pagando picoli due per ogni di ordenado per luminaria... E questo vien fato azo che lo se possa cognoser quele donne che pagava e quele che no paghera le qual mal se a possudo cognoscer in fin mo perche elle era scrite in diversi quaderni si che le paghera, che le non pagava, che lera pur al so plaser.

(101.) Correr, matricole 137, chap. 33, fol. 8 right; "impercioche spesse fiade a besogna far molte elemuosene e principalmente piu alle nostre seror."

(102.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. N (Cannareggio), fol. 331r, chap. 19; this resolution follows one of 18.10.1369.

(103.) "Noble" in a scuola did nor mean the same as "noble" in the society, i.e., members of the Great Council and their relatives. When the statutes of the scuole had to distinguish between the two kinds of nobles, they called the members of the Great Council "nobili de conseio" and those of the scuola "per nobile," i.e., "as noble."

(104.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suifragi, b. 597, fol. 8r; perche molte persone intrava in la dita scuola alla condition di nobili per esser assenti dali offiti dela scuola non remando la spexa de un ducato e cosi le done.

(105.) See n. 90.

(106.) Only a few female membership lists from the fourteenth century survive. This results in part from the habit of many scuole of adding the list of the brethren to the text of the statute only. The inventory of the Scuola di Sant'Orsola testifies that this scuola had lists of brothers and sisters kept separately from the statute, which are now lost. ASV, Scuole piccole e suifragi, b. 600.

(107.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria del Valverde della Misericordia, reg. 1, mariegof a, fols. 9v-10r. The list does not follow a recognizable order. The corresponding register of brothers contains 371 names. Another membership list of this scuola, covering about 1290 to 1329, reports the same names almost unchanged except that one sister is recorded in the first list but not in the second and one in the second bur nor on the first; seven designations as uxor (wife) are omitted in the second list. Ibid., reg. 2, mariegola, fol. 1v; fol. 4r-v.

(108.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista, Nr. 7, mariegola fol. 83r. The heading of the brothers' list includes the dares of 1322; it is probably valid for the entire register. After the decision of 1327 no more women were enrolled. The sisters' list was arranged, like that of the brothers, according to the parish of residence. The male list continues later than 1327 and includes 785 names. We thank Lorenza Pamato for giving us the exact figures of the members of this scuola while preparing the edition of the mariegola (Pamato, 2001).

(109.) In a list containing only names and no other information about individuals, it cannot always be stated to which social and legal group the persons belonged. For instance, a name like "Trevisan" was used both by noble and by commoner families, and "Tagliapietra" could be a noble name as well as a professional attribute.

(110.) Correr, matricole 137. The scuola was founded in 1335; the mariegola was produced between 1356 and 1362. The list of the sisters (fols. 33 right-52 right) was written down after the statute and the list of the brothers. Together with the list of the Scuola dell'Umilta, it is the only surviving female membership list of a scuola piccola. Most likely it was started in the late fifties of the fourteenth century, but we cannot say how long it was continued.

(111.) The parish of residence is given for all sisters except twelve.

(112.) See appendix, table 3. Among the occupations of the sisters' husbands the textile crafts were strongly represented. Although the parish of San Martino is adjacent to the Arsenale, the center of Venetian shipbuilding, the Scuola di S. Martino was not a confraternity of arsenalotti (arsenal workers): only about eight percent of the sisters' husbands worked in shipbuilding and shipping. Among the brothers this rate was about twenty percent.

(113.) On widows who lived and worked in Florentine hospices, see Henderson, 25.

(114.) See n. 101.

(115) For example, "Fantina de ser Gasparin" or "Margarita de ser Andrea scrivan" (scribe). The term de ser could introduce also the father's name. But the husband's name is more likely, because such a large use of the patronym among members of the popolo minuto would be unusual, where the designation of married or widowed women through the name of their husbands represents the most frequent usage in Venetian documents. On Rome see Esposito, 94. Further family relations -- like daughter, sister, and mother -- appear six times, and only one daughter and one sister were related to other members.

(116.) Le Bras, 310. On the contrary, Ortalli, 36, has found only a low correspondence between the names of the sisters' husbands and those of the brothers, due to the fact that she considers only the first 100 names of the list.

(117.) Terpstra, 1995, 128; Baker, 64; Esposito, 94.

(118.) Correr, matricole 24, fols. 17v-21r. Ortalli, 140, notices that this membership list must be incomplete. This is possible, but another explanation seems more likely. If it is true that the Scuola dell'Umilta consisted always of only twelve women, 77 names for 110 years means that each one remained in the scuola on average 16.17 years. Moreover, the provision to admit a new member only when an old one died supports the hypothesis that the list is complete (see page 1181).

(119.) The first name of one woman is not given; she is called simply "daughter of Loredana," and for Loredana no surname is given.

(120.) Bartolomeo Cecchetti (Cecchetti, 142) wrote that by 1343 the Great Council had already given permission (gratia) for the erection of the Pieta; in 1346 the decision was confirmed by the Senate. The date of fra' Petruzo's death is unknown, but probably it was 1348-49. Among the executors of his testaments was the Scuola dell'Umilta.

(121.) At its beginning the Scuola di S. Francesco, which Petruzo had founded in 1346 in the church of S. Francesco della Vigna, was responsible for the hospital of the Pieta. In February 1356 the warden and his officers decided to transfer the scuola from the church of S. Francesco della Vigna ("ove stava poco bene, e molto sinistramente et in un luogo di poco accrescimento") to the church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, where they would get a capella for their own use. ASV, Provv. Com., reg. BB (S. Polo), fol. 297r, mariegola, chap. 23. Nevertheless, some of the members remained at the former church, and asked the doge and his council to establish their Scuola di S. Francesco definitely at S. Francesco della Vigna. They argued that only this solution would avoid the ruin of the Pieta. In 1357 the doge and his council and again in 1358 the Great Council decided that there should be two Scuole di S. Francesco, one in S. Francesco della Vigna and another one in S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 355, mariegola. In later documents of Pieta, there is no trace of the Scuola di S. Francesco. On this topic the data given by Grandi, 90-94, are confusing. For example she considers the Scuola di S. Francesco in S. Francesco della Vigna a purely male one, but in fact there were sisters too. Mackenney, 2000, 186, ignores the split in the Scuola di S. Francesco and the fact that one part remained constantly in S. Francesco della Vigna.

(122.) Correr, marricole 24. "Ad instantem suplicationem nobis factam per gastaldionissam et alias dominas de schola sancte Marie de humilitate hoc humiliter supplicantes et requirentes que presencialiter habent gubernationem loci nostri de Pietate, concedatur eis prout petunt quod illa priorissa que constituetur nunc et de cetero per dictam scholam debeat confirmari per dominum ducem et successores suos si ei videbitur sufficiens." This decision of the Great Council which transferred the administration of the Pieta to the women of Umilta was copied on fol. 1v of the mariegola.

(123.) Ibid., fol. 5r. "Per deliberation de Ia volunta de tute le done ho de la mazor parte de sancta Maria de humilta de Ia Celestia chel sia facto una chastolda et una sotto chastolda."

(124.) Acts of the Apostles, 1:15-26.

(125.) The statute of the Scuola di S. Marina provided for a similar procedure. It ruled that in general, not only in case of differences, all officers had to present their candidates for the new gastoldo. This step of the procedure was called electio. Then they were voted one against the other. The decision between the two who had received the highest number of votes was reserved to God's hand: a young boy had to rake one of the two pieces of paper with their names from the altar of S. Marina (Correr, marricole 68, 10.01.1369).

(126.) Correr, marricole 24, fol. 1r. "La prima priora che fo in la Pietade fo madonna Carerina Loredani, la segonda fo madonna Gafoia che fo da Chioza, Ana Falier mare de misser Fantin, dona Coletra strazaruola, in 1406 fo facto madonna Agnesina Loredani priora de la Pieta, madonna Zaneta Dandolo fo fata priora de Ia Pieta in 1440 adl 6 april, madona Maria Trevixan fo fata priora della Pieta 1480 adl 27 mazo." Grandi, 93, writes that the first priora of the Umilta was elected in 1453, but this is perhaps a misunderstanding for 1353.

(127.) Correr, matricole 24, fols. 21v, 22r-v, 23r; se congregarono insieme le venerabile e devote nobele done per ellezer un altra priora.

(128.) Ibid., chap. 5, fol. 9v.

(129.) ASV, Scuola grande di S. Maria della Carita, b. 1bis; De Sandre Gasparini, 952. There is no evidence of any connection of the Scuola dei Dodici Apostoli with the Scuola di Santi Apostoli located in the homonymous parish church. On this point we dissent from Mackenney, 2000, 181.

(130.) Mackenney, 1994, 393.

(131.) ASV, Provv. Com., reg. Z (Dorsoduro), fol. 161v.

(132.) See n. 65.

(133.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 24, mariegola fol, 1r. See Ortalli, table 8.

(134.) Reproduced in Sorelli, 1995, 535.

(135.) Ortalli, 118-19.

(136.) ASV, Consiglio dei Dieci, Deliberazioni Miste, reg. 15, fol. 123. "La dicta scuola era de homeni e non de done e per esser manchade le devution dei homeni, la dicta scuola e vegnuda a niente." (The said scuola was composed of men and not of women; as men were lacking in devotion the scuola came to nothing.)

(137.) ASV, Scuole piccole e suffragi, b. 406, mariegola; chapter excluding women, fol. 4v; decision taken on the 22.07.1534 admitting women, fol. 20, "che le scole cavano grandissimo frutto e beneficio da esse donne" (that confrarernities get great fruit and advantage from women). The Scuola di S. Cristoforo was erected in 1377 at the Humiliate monastery of S. Cristoforo and the confraternity donated the miraculous Virgin's statue that later gave the name "Madonna dell' Orto" to the cloister church and to the confraternity. The Scuola di S. Cristoforo never moved, but merged with the Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia e S. Francesco in 1570 as an inscription on the scuola's building at Madonna dell'Orto shows. Ibid., b. 410. Sansovino, 165. Relying on the register of the Provveditori di Comun, Mackenney, 1994, 400; 2000, 181, 186, takes the Scuola di S. Maria e S. Cristoforo for a foundation of the year 1261 that moved to Madonna dell'Orto in 1570.

(138.) Casagrande, 2000. Terpstra, 1990.


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