Leonardo da Vinci is only half Italian: his mother Caterina was a Caucasian princess made a slave

Leonardo da Vinci is only half Italian: his mother Caterina was a Caucasian princess made a slave

A document discovered in the State Archives of Florence reveals that Leonardo da Vinci's mother was called Caterina and that she was a Circassian princess, daughter of Prince Yakob, who ruled one of the kingdoms on the plateaus of the northern Caucasus mountains: after being kidnapped, probably by the Tartars, she was enslaved and resold to the Venetians. The details on the new identity of the mother of the genius of the Renaissance, who therefore would have been only half Italian, were discovered by professor Carlo Vecce, philologist and historian of the Renaissance, professor at the University of Naples "L'Orientale", who during of ten years of research he devoted himself above all to the figure and work of Leonardo.

Professor Vecce brought to light the act of liberation of Caterina «filia Jacobi eius schiava seu serva de partibus Circassie». The deed was drawn up on 2 November 1452, about six months after Leonardo's birth, at the request of the owner of the slave, a certain Ginevra d'Antonio Redditi, wife of Donato di Filippo di Salvestro Nati.

Leonardo was the eldest son of Piero but not of Caterina, because, Vecce explained on the basis of the documents of the State Archives of Florence, such as the "Memories" of the humanist scholar Francesco di Matteo Castellani, it appears that in 1450 she had already been pregnant resulting in fact a nursing nurse. Vecce also hypothesizes that the notary Piero made love with Caterina in Palazzo Castellani, now the seat of the Museo Galileo, on the Florentine riversides.

According to Carlo Vecce's reconstruction, the daring journey from the Caucasus mountains brought Catherine with chains on her hands as far as Azov, the ancient Tana, at the mouth of the Don River, from which she was then transported across the Black Sea in 1439 to Constantinople: here it passed into the hands of Venetian merchants, who transferred it to the Venice lagoon the following year, while in 1442 it arrived in Florence around the age of 15, where it was a servant and nurse in the house of Ginevra. It was here that Caterina met Piero da Vinci, the notary with whom she conceived her illegitimate son born on 15 April 1452, in Anchiano, a small village in the municipality of Vinci.

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