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  • Writer's pictureJo-Anne Blanco

Bradamante - Warrior of Arthurian Times

Bradamante - Henry J Ford

One of the most wonderful aspects of the Arthurian legends is how extensive and vastly influential they are. Their influence can be found throughout European literature, particularly in the tales of Roland, who was originally a historical figure, one of Charlemagne’s Twelve Paladins (the equivalent of the Knights of the Round Table) and his nephew by his sister Bertha. Known as Orlando in Italian romance, he is the hero of two of the greatest works of Italian Renaissance literature: Orlando Innamorato (Roland in Love, 1484–1495) by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso (Raging Roland, 1516) by Ludovico Ariosto. Both of these works feature a female Christian knight named Bradamante, who wears a suit of all-white armour, making her the first true White Knight. She wields a magical lance which unhorses every knight it touches and she is in love with a Saracen warrior named Ruggiero.

During her adventures, Bradamante rescues Ruggiero from the wizard Atlante, who is holding him prisoner in a glass dome atop Mount Carena in northern Africa to prevent him from converting to Christianity and becoming a knight of Charlemagne. After Bradamante rescues Ruggiero, he converts to Christianity but her parents still refuse to accept him as her suitor even after his conversion, and Bradamante herself declines to marry anyone who cannot prove himself her equal in combat and survive. Eventually, Ruggiero is able to do so and the two are married. The union of the great female Paladin Bradamante and her love Ruggiero is the beginning of the dynasty of the noble Italian House of Este, who were the patrons of both Boiardo and Ariosto.

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