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by Archaeology Newsroom

Elisabeth Moutzan-Martinengou, a 19th century woman

Extracts from Elisabeth Moutzan-Martinengou’s autobiography are published in this article. She was born an aristocrat from the island of Zakynthos in 1801 and died shortly after giving birth to a son in 1832. Moutzan-Martinengou describes vividly her childhood years spent in her father’s house where it was stifling for a girl to grow up. She also tells of how her mother had no authority at all and no say in her daughter’s upbringing to the extent that she could not even employ a tutor to give her daughter lessons at home. The young girl addresses herself to her father and uncle, explaining to them why she wants to take the veil. It seems that all the women around her live their lives in isolation and misery.