Female Firebrands and Reformers

Onorata Rodiana (d.1472)
Artist & Soldier

Onorata was born Castellone, in Cremona, Italy. Her reputation as an artist (painter) was so great that the Marquis Gabrino Fandolo engaged her to decorate his palace. It was whilst she was painting a mural for the Marquis that a courtier tried to rape her. Onorata stabbbed him (to death), and made her escape, disguised as a man. The furious Marquis unsuccessfully sent soldiers after her. Once his fury had abated and he finally realised that no-one else could finish the murals, the Marquis offered Onorata a pardon for her return. It was too late. Onorata had joined a band of Condottiere (professional paid soldiers). Eventually she gained her own command. After 30 years of soldiering and painting, Onorata was killed when relieving her besieged native town of Castellone from the Venetians.

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