Bettina and Novella D’Andrea
Art by Intagliogia (tumblr)
Bettina and Novella d’Andrea were the daughters of Giovanni d’Andrea, a noted expert in canon law. Giovanni is said to have educated both his daughters to the level of a university lecturer.
Bettina (d. 1355) married Giovanni di San Giorgio, a law professor at the University of Padua. She is believed to have taught law and philosophy at the University of Padua.
Novella (b. 1312) is believed to have taught her father’s classes at the University of Bologna when he was unavailable. According to Christine de Pizan, Novella taught through a curtain so the students would not be distracted by her beauty.
The careers of Bettina and Novella d’Andrea are disputed, although their father’s career is well documented. Bettina’s grave describes her as the daughter and wife of scholars rather than as a scholar herself. Novella’s story was recorded by Christine de Pizan about ninety years after Novella’s birth, but the same story of teaching behind a curtain in Bologna has also been told of Bettisia Gozzadini who lived in the eleventh century. Dorotea Bucca held a chair in medicine and philosophy at the University of Bologna beginning in 1390. Like Bettina and Novella, Dorotea’s father was a professor at the University of Bologna, but Dorotea was about fifty years younger than the d’Andrea sisters. There were multiple female professors in southern Italy at Schola Medica Salernitana throughout the Middle Ages, but at that time Bologna, Padua, and Salerno were not part of the same country. Trota, a medical writer associated with Schola Medica Salernitana, was a disputed figure until further scholarship in the 1980s established Trota as a real historic woman.