Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Courtesan
(803 words)

1. Concept and social function

The English word courtesan (French courtisane; German Kurtisane) is derived from the Italian cortegiana (“court lady”), the female counterpart to the courtier (Cortegiano). As central figures of the world of courtly society, the court lady and courtier were first described in idealized form by Baldassare Castiglione in Il Cortegiano (1528). The courtier here excelled particularly by virtue of his self-control, while the court lady exhibited …

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Hohkamp, Michaela, “Courtesan”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 17 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_022960>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206



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