Luísa Sigea

The muse that inspired the name of our school, Colégio D. Luísa Sigea, was a remarkable humanist, poet, intellectual and pedagogue of the 16th century. Luísa Sigea was born in Toledo in 1522 and lived a big part of her life in the Portuguese court serving Infanta D. Maria de Portugal, daughter of King D. Manuel I and Maria de Áustria.

Endowed with unusual culture, which distinguished her from the women of her time, Luísa Sigea wasn’t shy in showing her abilities. In 1540, at the age of 18, she wrote a letter to Pope Paul III in five languages: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic. The pope, amazed by her writing skills, answered her letter praising her extraordinary gift. “que poucas vezes se encontra em homens quanto mais em mulheres”.
Highly skilled in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Syriac, Castilian and Arabic language, she was part of the literary court of Infanta D. Maria, who she taught the first Latin and Greek letters. It is said that at the age of 22 she could already speak nine languages. She also dedicated lots of her time to music and was recognised as one of the best music teachers at that time.
Amongst her poetic work stands out the poem “Sintra”, written in Latin and dedicated to Infanta D. Maria, where she describes the beauties of this wonderful place and surroundings.
It is believed by the compliments paid to her that, besides her multiple talents and remarkable culture, Luísa Sigea must have been a beautiful and very kind and sociable woman.
When she died, in 1560, there were many poets and intellectuals who dedicated her an epitaph. One of them was written by the Portuguese humanist André de Resende who referred “Here lies Luísa Sigea. This is enough. Those who ignore the rest or need some explanation are barbarian, against Art.”

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