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!
C1: Angelica Arrives!
Gradasso launches army to acquire Baiardo and Durindana. Knights of the world assemble at Paris for Whitsuntide tournament.
Angelica’s challenge: defeat Argalia and marry me, lose and become my father’s vassal. Malagise uses dark magic to learn her plan (capture all the knights). Tries to rape her and is captured instead.
Knights draw lots to determine battle order for Angelica. Astolfo defeated and captured. Ferraguto defeated but refuses to submit. Battles the four giants. Recovers and challenges Argalia again.
C2: Charlemagne’s Joust
Argalia and Ferraguto duel. Argalia and Angelica run away. Astolfo takes Argalia’s magical lance. Orlando leaves to find Angelica (wearing solid red).
Charlemagne calls a joust (king of the mountain). Serpentino wins all early battles. Ogier defeats him and takes his place. Grandonio overthrows him and defeats all comers.
C3: Death of Argalia
Astolfo defeats Grandonio (in the legenda, they will kill each other in a future battle). Defeats the Maganza family (esp. Ganelon/Gano, Pinabello). Anselmo defeats by treachery. Melee breaks out. Charles imprisons Astolfo.
Put a pin it it! Switch to Rinaldo. Drinks from magic fountain, now hates Angelica. Angelica drinks, now loves Rinaldo.
Put a pin in it! Switch to Ferraguto. Kills Argalia. Ferragu’s oath re: helmet.
Put a pin in it! Switch to Orlando. Encounters Ferraguto.
C4: Gradasso Arrives!
Orlando duels Ferraguto. Fiordespina summons Ferraguto back to Spain to save Marsilius from Gradasso’s army. Charlemagne sends Rinaldo at head of army to do the same (and accuses Orlando of having deserted).
Note that Gradasso conquers everything on his way west: the Indian Ocean, Persia, Arabia, and “all the blacks” (is that all Africa?). He has giants that wear dragonhide armor and ride giraffes…
The war in Spain. Barcelona. Rinaldo boss. Ricciardetto captured
C5: Rinaldo v. Gradasso!
Rinaldo slays Orion the giant. Gradasso, impressed, offers him a duel to settle the war.
Put a pin in it! Switch to Angelica back east. She releases Malagise on the condition that he bring Rinaldo to her. Spellbook hostage! Rinaldo refuses. Malagise uses sorcery to trick Gradasso and capture Rinaldo.
Put a pin it i! Switch to Orlando and Sacripante’s giant. Book of riddles. Sphinx. Silly! Another giant, guarding Bridge of Death (Zambardo).
C6 Orlando v. Zambardo.
Orlando in net. Friar’s tale. Cyclops. Angelica needs help at Albracca. Orlando loses his memory.
Put a pin in it! Switch to Gradasso back west. Marsilius surrenders to him. Rinaldo’s reputation destroyed. Combined armies march on Paris.
C7 Gradasso’s Siege of Paris
Ogier, Olivieri, Charlemagne defend the gates. Many heroes on both sides. Ferraguto saved by a giant.
Gradasso shines, tries to steal Baiardo, gets kicked. Returns healed up and captures all the paladins. Ogier defeated at the gates.
Gradasso’s deal to Charlemagne: all go free for Baiardo and Durindana.
Ridiculous Astolpho to the rescue. Mocks Charlemagne after, teaches lessons, leaves to find Orlando and Rinaldo.
Gradasso goes home.
C8 Rinaldo in the East
Angelica’s love palace. Captured at Crimson Castle. Marchino’s Tale. Demon battle.
C9 Astolpho in the East
Angelica saves Rinaldo. Rinaldo carves up the castle guards.
Put a pin in it! Back to Astolfo. War between Sacripante of Circassia and Agricane of Tartary. Astolfo insults Sacripante. Astolfo jousts with Brandimart (the Saracen!). Sacripante arrives to take the dame (must be Isabel, right?). Astolfo unhorses him.
Dragontina’s palace of forgetfulness. Orlando attacks Astolfo.
Cool words list: leal (loyal), sithence (since, from that time),