Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Sacripant

Defeated by Bradamante I, Conflict with Rinaldo II, Freed by Bradamante IV, Magical Villa XII, Tournament of Grievances XXVII (name drop VIII, XIX, XXX)

King of Circassia

Classical Type:


Lovesick Knight Constantly Embarrassed By More Important Characters


We meet Sacripant in one of the most cringe-worthy scenes of the poem, which also happens to be the beginning!  Angelica comes upon him weeping and emotional for unrequited love of her at the river bank.  Recognizing a knight she can manipulate, she twists him to become her bodyguard so she can get back to Cathay–not realizing that he is about to rape her.

Before Sacripant can make good on his malice, he is interrupted by a white knight who easily defeats him and rides off without a word.  Angelica has to console her chosen champion over the death of his horse and his embarrassing defeat.  When a page arrives to tell him that the white knight is the Lady Bradamante, Sacripant feels himself doubly shamed before his lady love and abandons his wicked plan.

The runaway Bayardo brings Rinaldo across their path.  Sacripant immediately engages the paladin in a contest of arms while Angelica runs off through the woods again.  A sorcerer-hermit sends a spirit disguised as a page to trick the two knights into believing that Angelica has run off to Paris with Orlando.  Sacripant is left behind when Rinaldo leaps onto Bayardo’s back and gallops for Paris.

He next appears without intervening explanation at the Stygian steel fortress of Atlantes.  Bradamante defeats Atlantes with the help of the magical ring and liberates all the knights held hostage in the fortress.  Sacripant and the others attempt to tame the hippogryph and then watch in amazement as Rogero is carried off to Alcina’s isle.

Sacripant falls victim to another of Atlantes’ traps, this time the magical villa.  Orlando sees him and many other knights there when he arrives seeking Angelica.  Angelica chooses Sacripant among all those present to escort her back to Cathay because he is the easiest to dupe.  A three-way conflict for Angelica breaks out between Sacripant, Ferrau, and Orlando.  She runs off with the aid of the magical ring while they bicker.  While Ferrau and Orlando begin to duel, Sacripant rides off in hopes of finding her.  Eventually he joins Gradasso and returns to Agramant’s service.

…only to reappear fourteen cantos later for his final appearance.  Agramant holds a tournament outside of Paris to settle the various disputes among his greatest champions.  Sacripant gets involved when he recognizes Rodomonte’s horse (which he had stolen from Rogero).  When Sacripant sees Frontino, he recognizes it as the offspring of his Frontilatte, stolen in the previous poem by Brunello.

Never come between a man and his horse!  He begins a duel, unarmed against the fully-steeled Rodomonte, to regain Frontino.  Agramant breaks up the duel and requires him to wait on the outcomes of the many other duels before he can lay claim to Frontino.  Rodomonte complicates things by abandoning his suit of Doralice and leaving Agramant’s service in dejection.

The last we see of Sacripant he is chasing after Rodomonte to take back Frontino.  He is delayed by having to save a drowning woman and then regain his spooked horse.  At last, he catches up to Rodomonte…

…and we don’t get an action scene?!  Sacripant disappears from the poem as a lost thread.  His final monument is a trio of anonymous stanzas (XXXV.54-56) which declare that Rodomonte defeated him at the bridge but allowed him to depart because of their shared faith, and that Sacripant returned East in shame and still in pursuit of Angelica.

Judgment: Features in the most vividly-described battles in the poem.  Equal parts sad and revolting in his love of Angelica.  A fitting end to a buffoonish character–gone without a trace.


8 thoughts on “Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Sacripant

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