A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Unexpected Camino-book: Orlando Furioso

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#1
I recently started reading Italo Calvino's guide to the 15th century epic poem Orlando Furioso, and came across a completely unexpected Camino de Santiago reference.

Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, was based upon a series of older myths and legends about Charlemagne's paladins. According to Calvino, Venetian pilgrims on the Camino brought the stories back to Italy. There they were shared and embellished by other pilgrims heading to Rome. It is one of the major epic poems from medieval Italy.

In France the main stories focused on Roland's final battle and death at Roncesvalles (La Chanson de Roland). In Italy the stories were more expansive, and dealt with the various paladins' loves and battles across the known world, from China to the moon.

Interestingly, I have an English-language version that makes no mention at all that these were originally pilgrims' stories.

As for the story itself, so far there have been battles to win the hand of a pagan princess, two magic fountains (one fountain of love, and one fountain of hate), a couple powerful female warriors, and a flying hippogriff. And I'm only on the first section! It's set during the Saracen siege of Paris in the 8th century, so I don't think there will be any references to Santiago in the actual poem.
 

Advertisment

Camino(s) past & future
'
#2
Italo Calvino's guide to the 15th century epic poem Orlando Furioso
Thank you for posting this! I enjoy reading your posts about literature related to pilgrimage and/or Spain (and Italy). Most of it is new to me :).

Just a small remark: I'm a bit skeptical about Santiago pilgrims being the only or even main vector for transmitting Roland/Orlando material to Italy. Weren't the chansons de gestes known throughout the countries neighbouring France, independent of pilgrimage? See Chanson de geste (it's only Wikipedia but still ...). Literary themes travelled around Europe and were picked up and remodelled in other languages through many channels.

Anyway, thank you again for sharing.
 
Last edited:

Harington

una abuelita inglés
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
#3
I recently started reading Italo Calvino's guide to the 15th century epic poem Orlando Furioso, and came across a completely unexpected Camino de Santiago reference.

Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, was based upon a series of older myths and legends about Charlemagne's paladins. According to Calvino, Venetian pilgrims on the Camino brought the stories back to Italy. There they were shared and embellished by other pilgrims heading to Rome. It is one of the major epic poems from medieval Italy.

In France the main stories focused on Roland's final battle and death at Roncesvalles (La Chanson de Roland). In Italy the stories were more expansive, and dealt with the various paladins' loves and battles across the known world, from China to the moon.

Interestingly, I have an English-language version that makes no mention at all that these were originally pilgrims' stories.

As for the story itself, so far there have been battles to win the hand of a pagan princess, two magic fountains (one fountain of love, and one fountain of hate), a couple powerful female warriors, and a flying hippogriff. And I'm only on the first section! It's set during the Saracen siege of Paris in the 8th century, so I don't think there will be any references to Santiago in the actual poem.
Translated into English by my ancestor! Sir John Harington...
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#4
Thank you for posting this! I enjoy reading your posts about literature related to pilgrimage and/or Spain (and Italy). Most of it is new to me :).

Just a small remark: I'm a bit skeptical about Santiago pilgrims being the only or even main vector for transmitting Roland/Orlando material to Italy. Weren't the chansons de gestes known throughout the countries neighbouring France, independent of pilgrimage
This is totally new to me too. I only picked it up because I really like Italo Calvino, and this was one of his favorite books. I'm somewhat amazed that I've never heard of it before, or that it's not more well known outside of Italy.

I actually have no idea how important pilgrims were as vectors of stories. I took a course in Epic Poetry in college, and we were taught that these were mostly passed around through medieval courts. I always had romantic visions of wandering knights serenading Eleanor of Aquitaine in her court ... it never crossed my mind that humble pilgrims would have passed along the myths too.

Translated into English by my ancestor! Sir John Harington...
How cool! Have you read it? I'm only on Canto V, but I'm already starting to fall in love with this epic. It's definitely pure fantasy - anybody who grew up reading swords and sorcery adventures should give it a look.

And not to go too far off track, or off-camino, but anyone looking for a couple of strong female heroines will enjoy this too. It's Bradamante, a female knight, who's constantly rescuing the dude-in-distress, Prince Rugerro.
 

Advertisment

OLDER threads on this topic




Advertisement

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 7 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 29 4.5%
  • April

    Votes: 101 15.7%
  • May

    Votes: 164 25.4%
  • June

    Votes: 48 7.4%
  • July

    Votes: 14 2.2%
  • August

    Votes: 9 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 184 28.5%
  • October

    Votes: 71 11.0%
  • November

    Votes: 10 1.6%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.8%
Top