Públia Hortênsia de Castro

Públia Hortênsia de Castro (1548–1595) was a scholar and humanist in the court of Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal.[1][2]

Bust of Publia Hortênsia de Castro in Vila Viçosa

Born in 1548 in Vila Viçosa, Portugal, she was named for Hortensia, the famous Roman orator and daughter of Quintus Hortensius, suggesting that her parents intended for her to become a well-educated woman.[1][3][4] She evidently studied Greek and Latin, and by the time she was seventeen she was engaged in public debates on Aristotle.[1][3] There are stories that, dressed as a boy and chaperoned by her brother, she attended the University of Coimbra, in Lisbon, but historians consider this unlikely.[2] Nonetheless, she is known to have composed psalms in Latin, although they are now lost, and she was well enough admired by King Philip II that he granted her a pension for life.[3]

She eventually left the court and joined an Augustine convent.[5] She died in Évora in 1595.[6]


In 1978, Lisbon honored de Castro by giving her name to a street in the area of Carnide.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Wyles, Rosie; Hall, Edith (2016). Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly. Oxford University Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 9780191038297.
  2. ^ a b Boxer, Charles Ralph (1981). João de Barros: Portuguese Humanist and Historian of Asia. Concept Publishing Company. p. 18.
  3. ^ a b c Stevenson, Jane (2005). Women Latin Poets: Language, Gender, and Authority, from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. p. 217. ISBN 9780198185024.
  4. ^ Estela González de Sande; Ángeles Cruzado Rodríguez, eds. (2009). Las Revolucionarias: Literatura e Insumisión Femenina (in Spanish). ArCiBel Editores. pp. 52–55. ISBN 9788496980723.
  5. ^ "Públia Hortênsia de Castro". Escritora: Women Writers Before 1900. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  6. ^ Fonseca, Francisco da (1728), Evora Gloriosa (in Portuguese), p. 415
  7. ^ "Camara Municipal de Lisboa Edital N.17/78". 1978. Retrieved 13 May 2018.