Crocodiles and Crusades: Egypt in Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso

Crocodiles and Crusades: Egypt in Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso

Cavallo, Jo Ann

Arthuriana 21.1 (2011)


Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso take quite opposite approaches to the Crusading ideology found in Carolingian epic. This article probes these differences by comparing their respective development of the episode of the magus Orilo/Horrilo at Damietta and its surrounding narrative context.

Boiardo asserts the superiority of Arthurian over Carolingian narratives given that King Arthur’s knights ‘mostrarno in più battaglie il suo valore, / Andando con lor dame in aventura’ [displayed their worth in many battles / and sought adventure with their ladies] while Charlemagne’s court ‘tenne ad Amor chiuse le porte / E sol se dette alle battaglie sante’ [closed its gates to Love / and only followed holy wars] (OI 2.18.1–2)

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