By C. Castiglione
Accounting for Affection examines the multifaceted nature of early glossy motherhood through targeting the tips and techniques of Roman aristocratic moms in the course of familial clash. Illuminating new methods to the maternal and the familial hired by way of such ladies, it demonstrates how interventions received expanding prefer in early sleek Rome.
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Additional info for Accounting for Affection: Mothering and Politics in Early Modern Rome
She offered maternal insights on the family as best governed by the calculation of “the interests common to us all,” as she defined its politics. In the midst of their political and diplomatic roles, women were also charged with reproducing the family and keeping their offspring alive, activities that they associated with their “domestic affairs,” but about which we still know relatively little. The voluminous 26 Accounting for Affection correspondence of Eleonora Boncompagni, explored in Chapter 3, sheds light on the practices and the hierarchies of this domestic space in which aristocratic mothers claimed the autonomy that allowed them to reject the views of men (including those of their husbands and physicians) if they thought it in the best interest of their children.
The first Barberini offspring were received with jubilant attention by Taddeo’s siblings. 53 Clearly, the Barberini brothers were devoted to the next generation of the family. Yet, the survival of the children rested squarely on Anna’s shoulders, especially the selection of wet nurses, critical servants in an aristocratic household, since a woman of Anna’s social status was unlikely to have breastfed her young children. Her letters from the early 1630s suggest that finding and retaining wet nurses for her children was a frequent activity for her, intertwined with dealing with the children’s maladies.
For instance, one Roman aristocratic mother, Ippolita Ludovisi, argued in favor of allowing all of her many daughters to marry if they wished, rather than placing most of them into the convent, as had been the family practice. Ippolita’s affection for her daughters triggered a crisis of religious meaning regarding the highest ethical choices possible in family life. Her defense of her daughters’ free will became for her a matter of conscience that she also believed was in the best interests of the dynasty.