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Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan was born in 1364 in Venice, Italy. When she was five years old, she went with her father and her family to live in the court of France's Charles V. There she was very well educated, learning French in addition to Italian, and she most likely knew Latin as well.

In 1380, Christine married a court secretary named Etienne du Castel. However, also that year, the king died and a new king appeared in his place reducing all the incomes of Christine's family, including her husband's. Soon after this change, Christine's father died, and her husband, Etienne, died in 1390 after her father. From that point forward, at the age of 25, Christine had to support her mother, her niece, and her three children.

Christine began writing poems and stories in order to earn money to support her family, and found that it worked quite well as a source of income. Her first poem was very lengthy and contained examples from her own life as well as the lives of others, and was called The Changes of Fortune. This was very rare in Christine's time, for autobiographical implications or writings were not very common. She also wrote a collection of 99 tales called The Epistles of Othea, The Road of Long Study, and The Book of the Deeds and Good Manners of the Wise King Charles V, which she was asked to write by his brother, Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy.

In 1405, Christine wrote her own autobiography titled Vision of Christine. Also that year, she wrote The Book of the City of the Ladies in order to silence the critics who were insulting her. She also further tried to silence those critics with her 1406 book The Treasure of the City of Ladies: Or the Book of the Three Virtues.

One occurence that influenced Christine was Louis of Orleans' assassination and the civil strife that followed, both of which horrified her. She chose to write, in 1410, Lamentations on the Civil War and The Book of Feats of Arms and Chivalry in response. The Book of Feats of Arms and Chivalry later became one of the first books of hers to be translated into English.

In 1418, Christine retired from writing and joined a convent. Her last known poem was written there in 1429, and was titled Hymn to Joan of Arc. It was written in tribute to Joan of Arc for her inspirational successes. One year later, in 1430, Christine de Pizan died.

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