On This Day 25 June

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-06-25
In 1903 Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium; in 1947 the Diary of Anne Frank is published and in 1982 recruits no longer had to have their head shaved when joining the Greek army. Read a bit more about Elena Cornaro Piscopia who was the first woman to earn a degree from a university

Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia

She was born in Venice (at the time the Republic of Venice) on the 5th of June 1646 to a nobleman and at the time his mistress. They did marry, however the children were not allowed any noble privilege according to the then laws, something which her father was not happy about.

She began a traditional education including Latin and Greek and went on to master French, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. She was not only skilled in languages but also studied mathematics, philosophy, theology, music (she played the harpsichord, clavichord, harp and violin). She even composed some of her own music.


She translated work from a Carthusian monk from Spanish into Italian with the volume being issued in 5 editions and which increased her fame with her eventually becoming president of the Venetian Society Accademia dei Pacifici.

Her tutor in philosophy petitioned the University of Padua to grant her a laurea (post-secondary degree) in theology; this was refused by a bishop in Padua due to the fact she was a woman. He did, though, allow a degree in philosophy which was granted on the 25th of June 1678.


At the ceremony she spoke in Classical Latin from the works of Aristotle - Posterior Analytics and Physics and was proclaimed Magistra et Doctrix Philosophiae and became the first woman to receive an academic degree from a university.

While we can't hear Elena speaking, you can listen to some Princeton students using Latin as a spoken language here

All in Italian, but lose yourself in listening to Alessandro de Concini talking about Elena

La prima donna laureata al mondo from RadioBue

Other events on this day

  • 1678: Elena Cornaro Piscopia awared a PhD from the University of Padua; the first woman
  • 1903: Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium
  • 1947: Het Achterhuis (Diary of Anne Frank) is published
  • 1950: North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War
  • 1982: Greece abolished headshaving recruits in the military