Orlando Innamorato Outline

I’ve been entertaining myself reading a high-quality amateur translation of Orlando Innamorato.  That blog is highly recommended if you are interested in the medieval romances, plus it’s a hundred times more attractive than mine.  Tons of source material!

Reading the precursor poem to Orlando Furioso has greatly assisted my understanding of the story arcs of the characters.  I thought here I’d just sketch the basic events of the poem in slightly more detail than one can find at weak sources like wikipedia.

This will probably become a permanent page on my sidebar at some point.  Too useful! Continue reading Orlando Innamorato Outline

Timing in Orlando Furioso (II)

So the bewildering nexus of events surrounding Orlando’s titular madness and the battle of Paris mostly makes sense.  I have a monster chart on the chalkboard in my office to prove it!  But there are two timing problems that I have not resolved yet: Mandricardo and Rogero. Continue reading Timing in Orlando Furioso (II)

Timing in Orlando Furioso

When does anything happen in Orlando Furioso?

In terms of setting, there’s really no answer to that question.  Charlemagne is the emperor of Europe…so after 800 AD?  But it’s before Roland dies at Roncevaux, so it’s before 778 AD…except of course for the amazing anachronisms with technology and the trans-historical alliance of Moors, Turks, Saracens, and Arabs.

Ok, so it’s all times and never.  But what about the internal chronology of the poem? Continue reading Timing in Orlando Furioso


A few months back I went down a rabbit hole studying all the different ways to talk about swords and spears in the Old Testament (in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek).  It was a fun research project but it touched upon a much more fundamental problem when talking about the Old Testament.  Rather than write a long introduction to an already long survey, I let the draft languish.

This is that long introduction.

(Warning: much of what follows is a gross simplification of a complicated scholarly field.  I know no shame and I’m not consulting sources from my old training.) Continue reading Septuagint

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Gradasso

Cantos II (Atlantes Tower), IV (Rescued), XII (Magical Villa), XXII (Released), XXVII (Tournament of Grievances), XXX (Durindana), XXXI (Rinaldo), XXXIII (Duel), XL (Lampedusa Plan), XLI (Trial on Lampedusa), LXII (Slain)

King of Sericane

Magical horse Alfana

Classical Type: ?

Coat of Arms: ?

TL;DR: Chief Villain of Previous Poem Held in Stasis Until the Final Battle

Summary Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Gradasso

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Orlando

Cantos VIII (Paris), IX (Olympia), XI (Orc), XII (Villa), XIII (Isabel), XXIII (Zerbino) XXIV (Furioso), XXIX (Rodomonte’s Bridge), XXX (Spain and Africa), XXXIX (Restored), XL (Biserta), XLI (Lampedusa), XLII (Victory), XLIII (Brandimart’s Funeral), XLIV (Return to France), XLV (Wedding Dispute), XLVI (Wedding Feast)

Son of Milo, Cousin of Rinaldo, Count of Anglantes, Slayer of Almontes

Coat of Arms: Red and White Quarters

Durindana, Brigliador, Arms of Almontes. Invincible by the will of God.

Classical Type: Achilles

TL;DR Title Hero Drives Actions of Poem Directly and Indirectly, Saves Day at the End


Ecce, Homo! Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Orlando

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rodomonte

Cantos XIV (Paris Walls), XVI (Within the City), XVII (Palace), XVIII (Escape), XXIII (Frontino), XXIV (Mandricardo), XXVI (Merlin’s Fountain), XXVII (Tournament of Grievances), XXVIII (Innkeeper’s Tale), XXIX (Isabel’s Monument), XXXI (Brandimart), XXXV (Bradamante), XLVI (Finale)

Saracen King of Argiers, Betrothed of Doralice

Coat of Arms: Maid Bridling Lion on Red Field

Nimrod’s dragon-scale arms!

Classical Type: Turnus, Achilles

TL;DR: Distillate of Every Villain’s Worst Attribute Becomes Proverb For Arrogance

Summary Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rodomonte

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Doralice

Cantos XIV (Mandricardo), XXIII (Orlando), XXIV (Zerbino and Rodomonte), XXVI (Merlin’s Fountain), XXVII (Chooses Mandricardo), XXX (Death of Mandricardo)

Daughter of King Stordilane of Granada, Betrothed of Rodomonte, Lover of Mandricardo

Classical Type ?


Two-bit Helen Gives Heart Away Repeatedly, Disappears Unceremoniously

Summary Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Doralice