== Biography ==
Very little is known about Lanier, and piecing together the events of her life has not always been an easy task for researchers. Scholars have constructed Lanier's biography by relying on sparse church, court and legal records which mention Lanier's name and activities. Researchers have also relied upon entries in [[astrologer]] [[Simon Forman]]'s (1552–1611) professional diary, which logs interactions with Lanier. Lanier visited Foreman many times during 1597 for astrological readings, but because Forman was evidently sexually interested in her and rebuffed, his account is considered biased.
Church records show that Lanier was baptised Aemilia Bassano at the parish church of , [[Bishopsgate]], on 27 January 1569. Her father, Baptiste Bassano, was a [[Venice]]-born musician at the court of Elizabeth I. Her mother was Margret Johnson (born ca. 1545–1550), possibly the aunt of court composer [[Robert Johnson (English composer)|]]. Lanier also had a sister, Angela Bassano, who married Joseph Hollande in 1576. There were also brothers Lewes and Phillip, both of whom died before they reached adulthood.ref It has been suggested that Lanier's family were Jewish or of partial Jewish ancestry, though this is disputed. Susanne Woods says that evidence for Lanier's Jewish heritage is "circumstantial but cumulatively possible".ref Leeds Barroll says she was "probably a Jew", her baptism being "part of the vexed context of Jewish assimilation in Tudor England".ref