In the one hundred and third chapter of his De mulieribus claris, after narrating the life stories and great deeds of numerous goddesses and Roman, Greek and Hebrew women, Giovanni Boccaccio tells the story of the Florentine maiden Gualdrada, daughter of messere Bellincione Berti de’ Ravignani, and how she married Count Guido Guidi. According to Boccaccio, the marriage was not the result of careful negotiations, as one might expect given the importance of the two houses and the traditions of the times, but rather the impromptu result of the young woman’s virtue and wit. When the emperor Otho IV paid a visit to Florence, he saw Gualdrada amidst a number of other young women celebrating the feast of St John; he admired the girl, and her father said that she would kiss him, if he ordered her to; but Gualdrada indignantly refused, saying, ‘Be silent, Father, and do not speak, for I swear that without violence no one except the man to whom you will give me in legitimate and sacred marriage will receive what you offer so freely.’ The emperor was so impressed by her speech that he gave her a large dowry and arranged a marriage between her and Count Guido, with whom she had many children. 1