This webpage provides a modernized English edition of the French medieval classic The Epistle of Othea by Christine de Pizan, c. 1410-1414.
About Christine de Pizan
Christine de Pizan (1364-c. 1430) was a Venetian-born French courtier and author. She is most well known for two texts The Book of the City of Ladies and The Treasure of the City of Ladies, in which she argues for the virtues of women. Since Christine de Pizan lived at the court of King Charles VI, she was patronized by some of the most notorious bibliophiles of the late Middle Ages. Subsequently, many of her works were recorded in elaborately illuminated manuscripts, such as Ms Harley 4431 at the British Library and MS f. Med. 101 at the Boston Public Library.
About The Epistle of Othea
Christine de Pizan wrote The Epistle of Othea between 1410 and 1414 while living at the court of Charles V of France. It is a series of fictional lessons written from the perspective of Othea, the goddess of wisdom, to Hector, the prince of Troy. These letters include episodes from classical history alongside an accompanying gloss which interprets the classical stories and extrapolates moral lessons for a Christian audience.
About this Edition
This edition was compiled using only the fifteenth-century English translation of The Epistle of Othea by Stephen Scrope. As such, it should be treated as a reference only, rather than as a comprehensive translation of the original French text.
Throughout the text, Christine de Pizan quoted Bible passages in Latin. The English translations included here reference the New International Version.
Special thanks to the editors of the Middle English Compendium, who provided an indispensable resource for this project.
This edition was begun in 2019 by Syracuse University Art History MA candidate Mary Rose Bedell.