Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Genevra

Cantos IV, V, VI

Daughter of King of Scotland, Sister of Zerbino, Lover of Ariodantes

Classical Type:

TL;DR Chaste Lover Falsely Accused By Spurned Suitor, Saved By Heartbroken Lover

Summary Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Genevra


Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Ferrau

Cantos I (Rinaldo and Argalia), XII (Magical Villa), XIV (Paris Muster), XVI (Paris Battle), XVIII (Paris Retreat), XXVII (Counter-Attack, Tournament Second), XXXV (Bradamante), XXXVI (Bradamante)

Nephew of King Marsilius of Spain, Slayer of Argalia

Classical Type Green Knight

Coat of Arms ?

TL;DR Ferocious Saracen of Questionable Character Provides Excellent Action Scenes

Summary Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Ferrau

Orlando Furioso: Geo-Political Edition

Want to turn a 46 canto, 38,000+ line giganto-epic into a short soundbite?  Easy!  Just tell the story the way we would today.

Ariosto paints his masterpiece Orlando Furioso against the background of an epic war between Charlemagne and Agramant, Christian Europe and the Muslim East.  This can’t be stated clearly enough: Ariosto is not interested in that war.  He doesn’t go into what started it.  He only rarely returns to the action of the war itself.  The conflict serves only as the medium in which the many heroes of the poem do their thing.  Look, read the opening lines of the opening stanza, all Vergilian and everything:

And from those ancient days my story bring,
When Moors from Afric passed in hostile fleet,
And ravaged France, with Agramant their king,

Or to put a finer point on it, the war is the setting, not the plot.  The story-line of the war is lost for many cantos at a time as Ariosto displays his heroes and villains with their virtues and their vices.  The characters and their deeds are the thing!  But let’s strip the meat and soul of the poem and just look at the skeleton, because it’s actually pretty interesting all by itself…if you can remember what happened ten cantos previously! Continue reading Orlando Furioso: Geo-Political Edition

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Sansonetto

Cantos XV (Jerusalem), XVIII (Damascus), XIX (Laiazzo), XX (Laiazzo Escape), XXII (Pinabel’s Castle), XXXI (Paris), XXXV (Rodomonte’s Bridge), XXXVIII (Marphisa’s Baptism), XXXIX (Orlando), XL (Biserta), XLI (Army), XLIII (Brandimart’s Funeral)

Defender of Jerusalem, Conqueror of Joppa

Coat of Arms: White Flowers on a Red Field

Classical Type: none (?)

TLDR: Famous Convert to the Faith Leaves Jerusalem to Help the Main Characters


Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Sansonetto

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Angelica

Cantos I (Rinaldo and Sacripant), II (Wicked Hermit), VIII (Slavers), X (Orc), XI (Rogero Escape) XII (Magical Villa), XIX (Medoro), XXIX (Orlando Furioso), XLII (Post-script)

Daughter of Galaphron, Sister of Argalia, Princess of Catay, Wife of Medoro

Classical Type: Helen

TLDR: Helen of Troy Survives Repeated Rape Attempts, Inspires Titular Character’s Madness, and Disappears to an Improbable Happily Ever After


Man, women who can’t fight have it rough in this poem. Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Angelica

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rogero

Cantos: II (recounted by Pinabel), III (d’Este prophecy), IV (Atlantes tower), VII (Alcina’s Isle), VIII (Escape), X (Orc and Angelica), XI (Rape of Angelica), XII (Magical Villa), XIII (Prophecy and Failed Rescue), XXII (Pinabel’s Tower), XXV (Richardetto and Agrismonte), XXVI (Marphisa, Rescue, Magic Fountain, Rodomonte and Mandricardo), XXVII (Agramant’s Tournament),  XXX (Kills Mandricardo), XXXV (Challenged by Bradamante), XXXVI (Marphisa-Bradamante love battle), XXXVII (Marganor’s Tower), XXXVIII (Fights Rinaldo), XL (Dudon in Marseilles), XLI (Shipwreck), XLIII (Rescued by Orlando), XLIV (Travels East), XLV (Defeats Bradamante), XLVI (Marriage Feast)

True Love of Bradamante, founder of House d’Este, son of Rogero and Galaciella, twin brother of Marphisa, ward of Atlantes, later King of Bulgaria

Coat of Arms: Argent Eagle on Azure Field (Hector’s Ensign); White Unicorn on Crimson Field (Incognito in the East); Imperial Eagle on Crimson (Leo’s arms).  Wields the magical sword Balisarda and rides the horse Frontino

Classical Type: Hector, Odysseus, Aeneas

TLDR: Meta-Main Character Does It All, Gets It All, and as Final Reward Delays Death Until the Epilogue


This will be long. Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rogero

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Brandimart

Canto VIII, XII (trapped in villa), XX (released from villa), XXIV (name-drop), XXVII (name-drop/prolepsis), XXXI (Paris, Rodomonte’s Bridge), XXXVIII (name-drop), XXXIX (Orlando), XL (Biserta), XLI (Lampedusa), XLII (dies), XLIII (funeral)

Raised in The Sylvan Fort by Bardino, Best Friend of Orlando, Lover of Flordelis, son of Monodantes, Brother of Gigliantes

Classical Type:



Noble Second Tier Knight Dies Exactly As You Would Expect If You Read Epics Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Brandimart

ERC Presents: Canto II

The Abbey Boys keep plugging along with their recordings of Orlando Furioso.  The rate of progress is comical, unless you already know Abbey Boys.  Then it’s not surprising that a weekend task takes six months.  But it beats doing homework!

If they keep this up they will get pretty good by the time they graduate.  The ERC nerds experimented a little with scoring the recitation and tantalized me with an ultimately disappointing promise of a “drop” (as in, “Wait for the…”).  One day I’ll score a student-artist willing to do 6-10 drawings of the scenes of a canto for a text-and-slide show on YT or something.

Anyway, enjoy the fruit of their labors:


Rose Punts??

Not sure how I could have missed this after five or ten re-reads, but the ERC nerds spotted what seems to be a blatant punt in Rose’s translation of Orlando Furioso (XIII.7).

When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
That freedom in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

But Mr. Alspaugh, Mr. Alspaugh!  I thought Orlando Furioso was composed in ottava rima!  Doesn’t ottava mean eight?

Erk.  Yes.  Rose has omitted line four, the second b rhyme.  Good heavens, man, why?  To the textual criticism we go!

What follows is an epic misadventure leading to greater knowledge.   Continue reading Rose Punts??

ERC: Rhyming Furioso

A mortifying experience at the most recent gathering of the Epic Recitation Club.  Caveat lector: the punch line may be a bit more crude than some audiences would find appealing.

Normally when we are reciting Orlando Furioso, I am absorbed in the story and thinking about what to comment on after each stanza (or so).  It’s usually either a story reminder, a clarification of tone, or the meaning of archaisms.

My bright boys, however, have an unusual capacity for focusing on the rhyming scheme of the stanza.  Perhaps they are just looking ahead at their stanza in anticipation, but they catch the slant rhymes and outright oofs! that Rose makes in his translation.  They delight in exaggerating their delivery to underscore the deviations from standard pronunciation.

A trivial example from XII.5, to illustrate: Continue reading ERC: Rhyming Furioso