Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer III

Second Advisor

Dr. James Palmitessa

Third Advisor

Dr. Eve Salisbury

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This thesis examines faction and vendetta in the Diario of Polissena Pioppi, a sixteenth-century Modenese nun. Because Polissena's Diario, an urban chronicle and annotations in the margins of a breviary, contains vendetta narratives and outlines faction, it provides a gendered perspective on honor and vendetta in early modem Italy. Chapter one provides the political context by outlining the circumstances conducive to faction in sixteenth-century Modena while tracing Polissena's background. Chapter two outlines the composition of factions in the Diario based on the families most frequently mentioned by Polissena. Chapter three analyses the vendetta narratives and the pursuance of conflict between the principal factions. The Thesis concludes that vendetta and faction rather than religious status were Polissena's primary concerns while writing her Diario.

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