Mavrokordatou, Alexandra (1605–1684)

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Mavrokordatou, Alexandra (1605–1684)

Greek intellectual . Born in Constantinople in 1605; died in prison in 1684; married and divorced twice; children: at least one son.

Alexandra Mavrokordatou was born in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey), in 1605, and later moved to Greece, which had been under Ottoman control since the 14th century. She married twice while a young woman; one of these marriages produced a son, but both ended in divorce, leaving Mavrokordatou free to pursue her interests. Following a period of study of classical history, literature, and philosophy, Mavrokordatou founded Greece's first literary salon, which met in her own house. Her reputation was such that the new salon attracted both Greek and international intellectuals, and eventually produced many notable Greek politicians and artists. Mavrokordatou ran afoul of Turkish authorities late in her life when her son, a Turkish diplomat, was accused of aiding the forces of Austria-Hungary during the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. She was sent to prison for her role in the affair, where she died in 1684.

sources:

Uglow, Jennifer S., ed. and comp. The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. NY: Continuum, 1989.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan

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