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Alexandra Mavrokordatou (1605–1684) was a famous Greek intellectual and salonist.

A member of one of the most famous families in Greece, she was raised in Constantinople, where she was given a good education. After two unhappy marriages, she became the first woman in Greece to start a salon in Athens.

Although Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire, it was not as isolated as other countries in the Balkans, and enjoyed a close contact with the cultural influences of Western Europe. As non-Muslims, the people of Greece were not obliged to obey the Islamic laws of restriction in contacts between the sexes, with made the salon possible in Greece. Her example where soon followed by other women, both artists and female members of the aristocracy, and she became quite influential in society as the centre of political discussions.

In 1683, her son participated in the Battle of Vienna on the Austrian side, and Alexandra was accused by the Turks of having encouraged his participation on the Austrian side in her wish to liberate Greece from Ottoman rule.

She was arrested and put in jail, where she died at the age of 79 in 1684.
References

Jennifer S. Uglow : The Macmillan dictionary of women's biography (1982)

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Mavrokordatos family

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