Deaf History, 1500s

Lots of notes taken from:

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Girolamo Cardano

Up until now, Aristotle’s claim that Deaf people were dumb and did not have the ability to reason stood unchallenged. Girolamo, a physician, taught his son a set of symbols and showed that Deaf people had the ability to reason.

Rudolf Agricola

Rudolf, a humanist, advocated that thought and speech were separate abilities. This is because he knew Deaf individuals who were capable of writing to communicate.

Joachim du Bellay


Famous Deaf author and poet. He was credited for helping form modern French language.

Joachin Dubellay

Joachin, a Deaf Poet, published Hymn to Deafness (Only one source)

Pierre de Ronsard


A hard of hearing (since age 16) famous poet who is recognized due to his sonnets.

Juan Ximenes de Fernandez Navarrete


Nicknamed El Mudo. Deaf painter appointed by King Philip II.

Apparition of the Virgin to the Deaf-Mute Filippo Viotti

Moretto da Brescia painted the “Apparition of the Virgin to the Deaf-Mute Filippo Viotti” piece which was a depiction of the Italian peasant Filippo who was visited by the Virgin Mary.

Pedro Ponce d Leon

Pedro started teaching the Deaf. He established the first Deaf school. He developed a rough form of sign language.


Lasso, a Spanish lawyer, gave inheritance rights to Deaf individuals who could speak by claiming they were no longer dumb. Though, not a large leap due to the Deaf individual still needing to learn how to speak, it still gave some rights to some Deaf individuals.