Eleonora Pimentel Fonseca


January 24, 2022

Eleonora de Fonseca Pimentel (Rome, January 13, 1752 - Naples, August 20, 1799) was an Italian patriot, politician and journalist, one of the most important figures in the brief experience of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799. She comes from a Portuguese family, but was born in Rome, born Leonor da Fonseca Pimentel Chaves, she is remembered in German, English and Italian publications with the Italianized name that was adopted by her family in the residences of Rome and Naples; she with the same name she was among the protagonists of the political scene of the late eighteenth century.


Originally from Beja in the Alentejo, shortly after her birth, following the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Papal State, her family moved from Rome to Naples. Thanks to the help of an uncle, Abbot Antonio Lopez, and above all because he was intellectually precocious and very lively and able from childhood to read and write in Latin and Greek, he devoted himself to the study of letters and tried his hand at composing verses (sonnets, cantatas, epithalami). She was also able to speak several modern languages ​​and, while still young, was admitted to the Accademia dei Filaleti, where she took the name of "Epolnifenora Olcesamante" (anagram of her real name and surname), and to the Academy of Arcadia, with the name of "Altidora Esperetusa". She had correspondence exchanges with men of letters including Pietro Metastasio, struck by her abilities, to whom from the age of eighteen she had begun to send her first compositions. She later devoted herself to the study of historical, legal and economic disciplines. Since adolescence she participated in the salons of Gaetano Filangieri, where she met, among others, Dr. Domenico Cirillo and the Freemason Antonio Jerocades. She wrote a text on financial topics and translated from Latin into Italian, commenting on it, the dissertation of the Neapolitan lawyer Nicola Caravita (1647-1717) on the alleged rights of the Papal State over the Kingdom of Naples. Also on the occasion of the marriage between King Ferdinand IV and Maria Carolina of Austria she composed the "Temple of Glory", an epithalamium for the wedding of the sovereigns. For her literary merits she was received at court and granted a grant as the Queen's librarian, a role she held for many years. At the end of 1771 her mother Caterina Lopez died. In 1776 he began a correspondence with Voltaire, to whom he dedicated a sonnet (the text of which is unknown) obtaining, in response, a similar composition published in the Literary Journal of Siena. forty-four years old Pasquale Tria de Solis, lieutenant of the Neapolitan army (14th Sannio Regiment). In October of the same year a son was born, Francesco, who died after eight months; will remain the only child she had, also due to the mistreatment suffered by her husband, which will cause her two abortions. For his dead son he wrote five sonnets, pervaded by desperate maternal love The previous year (1777) he had published in Naples "The Triumph of Virtue", in which he manifested his homage to the royal institution by indicating the king as "... justice and providence ... ". In 1780 she became a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts and participated in the literary and Masonic salons. of the princesses Marianna Faraja of San Marzano and Giulia Carafa of Traetto di Minervino In 1784 the father started a cause of separation of his daughter from Tria Solis, whose beating had meanwhile caused the interruption of two other pregnancies (her husband would later die in February 1795). In 1785 her father, Clemente died, and Eleonora was forced to appeal to the Court with a "plea" to the king, who granted her a subsidy of twelve ducats a month. She dates back to 1789 a sonnet in which she praises the foresight shown by Ferdinand IV with the liberal and egalitarian legislation for the community of San Leucio.

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