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Poem: "Di Mezzo il Mare" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Di Mezzo il Mare"
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 31st, 2013 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

There have been clues but not a lot of specifics. "A Knot of Thyme" says that Fiorenza's grandmother Carmela died when Fiorenza "was three years a woman." Figuring 13 as a typical age of puberty, that's about 16 when Fiorenza took on the role of wisewoman. From there I tried to count the seasons of the years as mentioned in various poems.

Bear in mind that Renaissance people counted age differently. People usually married young, and most of the time that was shortly after puberty, so middle teens. (Remember that Juliet was 13, almost 14, in Romeo & Juliet.) But it wasn't unusual for someone to marry quite early, like 9 or 10, especially among wealthy or noble families. They learned to take on responsibility a lot earlier, especially if there wasn't anyone else available for certain tasks. Late teens would be the end of young adulthood: almost everyone would have married by then and probably have one or more children. Not being married at 20 often meant never marrying at all, a very unusual outcome generally frowned upon.

Part of Fiorenza's challenge in developing her authority iss not just that she's young, but also single; a lot of the respect comes from being a parent. But she's too busy, doesn't like any of the village boys, and they don't think of her that way. Despite her chronological youth, she has enough experience and maturity to do the work, though it takes her a while to catch up her social skills to the level of her herbalism skills. That aspect of maturity can also make her seem older.

You're not the only person to be surprised by the age, though. my_partner_doug was too. I should probably have cued it more precisely sooner.
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