Full Name: Gaea Violetta Raina de Rossi (origin)
Born: 9 April 1590 in Padua (Republic of Venice)
Parents: Niccolò Vittorio de Rossi and Constantia Medici
Siblings: older brother Galeazzo, younger sister Livia
Languages spoken: Italian, Latin
Gaea was born into a noble Venetian family during the late Italian Renaissance. The favorite child of Niccolò de Rossi, Gaea often accompanied her father at his astronomical observatory. Niccolò, a friend of Galileo Galilei, was deeply engaged in his own scientific interests. The men often discussing the higher principles of mathematics or Archimedes' principles, young Gaea was surrounded by an atmosphere of innovation and discovery. Gaea's mother, Constantia Medici, came from the powerful Medici family that ruled over Tuscany. Having the support of the Medici family, Niccolò was able to have greater freedom in expressing new scientific ideas. The pro-Aristotelians and the Catholic Church were adamant and considered these upheavals of the current beliefs to be heresies.
Although Niccolò's interest in the sciences was largely as an appreciator of the breakthroughs of that era, Gaea was inspired to consider serious active studies in the physical sciences. While formal education was not available for women in that age, Gaea had private tutors at the family villa where she worked hard to learn as much as she could. In her adolescent years, Galileo occasionally mentored her at the insistence of Niccolò. When Gaea was 20, Galileo left the University of Padua and returned to Florence, while she continued reading scientific journals at her home. Among her activities were conducting planetary observations with a primitive telescope, constructing detailed cartographic maps of the family estate, and investigating the physics behind the natural forces.
Gaea is 22 years old (1613) when the story begins.
While Gaea's interests are unconventional for a woman in the 1600s (it wasn't even that common for men!), she still assumes the traditional role of elder daughter of a wealthy family. Strong-willed, intelligent and curious, Gaea always tries to find answers to problems. She can be stubborn, but many times she does turn out to be the one in the right. Gaea is a devout Catholic, although she does not see why scientific progress should interfere with religion. Understanding the limitations for women in her society, Gaea takes every opportunity that she is given with stride. Graceful and sophisticated, Gaea is not the rough-and-tumble type (except when in pursuit of science!). She loves late Renaissance secular music and also early Baroque music. She and her sister studied for a few years the harpsichord, but the musical talent in the family lies in her brother. Her primary interests are physics and astronomy.
Quote from Character
"How dull would life be if the journey were to be set out for you? We are here to learn and discover, and to forge a new path that even God does not know."
Disclaimer: Gaea de Rossi is a fictional character. While we will try to incorporate as much real cultural and factual history of the Italian Renaissance into the story, Gaea's personal references are entirely fictional. Her relationship to Galileo and the Medici family were created to enhance the realism of the storyline.
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