Gönzági Margit

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This article follows Eastern-order naming conventions. Here, Margit is the first-name and Gönzági is the surname. In Western-order naming systems and modern naming systems, this name is written as Margit Gönzági.

Gönzági Margit
Mihrimah Beyhatun.png
Beyhatun • Hercegnő
Reign 1597- 6 January 1618
Predecessor tbd
Successor tbd
Died 6 January 1618(1618-01-06) (aged 53)
Saray-i Âlı, Uzakarazi
Spouse Ahmed Bey
Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara (m.1579 died 1597)
Issue Suleyman Bey
Father William I, Duke of Mantua
Mother Eleonora of Austria

Gönzági Margit (27 May 1564 – 6 January 1618) was an Italian noblewoman, the daughter of William I, Duke of Mantua (Guglielmo Gonzaga) and Eleonora of Austria, and the sister of Vincent I, Duke of Mantua and Anna Caterina Gonzaga. She was the wife of Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and Modena, whom she married in February 1579. This was the her first marriage, and it was hoped that she would produce a male heir. She did not, however, which partially led to the city of Ferrara's acquisition by the Papal States.

Margherita was born and raised in her father's court in Mantua. Alfonso's concerto delle donne was formed in part to please her, and all of the members were on the court rolls as her ladies in waiting, and the concerts were frequently held in her apartments. When she married she used her influence at Mantua to convince her father to allow Livia d'Arco (Hungarian: Darko Livja), a Mantuan, to join the Ferrarese court as one of her ladies in waiting, so that she could participate in the concerto delle donne.

A great number of madrigals and anthologies of madrigals were dedicated to her, either singly or to both herself and her husband. These include a number of madrigals by the maestro di capella of the Duke's brother, Cardinal Luigi d'Este, Luca Marenzio, including "Lucida perla", to a text by Giovanni Battista Guarini for her wedding; "O verdi selvi" with text by Torquato Tasso, as well as a number of madrigals with texts by Tasso dedicated to "her" dwarf or nana, Isabella, such as "Là dove sono i pargoletti Amori".

Balletto delle donne[edit]

Margherita was the sponsor of the groundbreaking balletto delle donne, an entertainment including dance, madrigal, and instrumental music, performed at Carnival as well as for important visitors to the court. These entertainments were created with the choreography first, then the music, then the text. All of the members of the balletto were women.

Papal takeover of Ferrara and Expulsion[edit]

In 1598 Ferrara was therefore incorporated into the Papal States by Pope Clement VIII, on grounds of doubtful legitimacy. As a result of Alfonso's death Cesare d'Este and his family were "obliged to leave the city" and the power of the government was there after turned over to the cardinal legate.


While leaving Ferrara aboard a ship, pirates of Uzakarazi captured Maragarita and her ladies.

Livia and Isabella requested clemency for their lady from the pirates. The pirates took them to the Bey's court where he ordered them free yet with the condition of no return.

She married to Bey Ahmed I in 1598 and gave birth to Bey Süleyman I.


Ancestors of Gönzági Margit
Federico I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua
Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua
Margaret of Bavaria
Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara
Isabella d'Este
Eleanor of Naples
Guglielmo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
Boniface III, Marquess of Montferrat
William IX, Marquess of Montferrat
Maria of Serbia
Margaret Paleologa
René, Duke of Alençon
Anne d'Alençon
Margaret of Lorraine
Margherita Gonzaga
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Philip I of Castile
Mary of Burgundy
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Joanna of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Archduchess Eleanor of Austria
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Gaston de Foix, Count of Candale
Anna of Foix-Candale
Infanta Catherine of Navarre



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Margherita Gonzaga
Born: 27 May 1564 Died: 6 January 1618
Royal titles
Title last held by
Barbara of Austria
Duchess consort of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio
24 February 1579 – 27 October 1597
Succeeded by
Virginia de' Medici