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Clorinda

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
CLORINDA.
While being on the thread “Fem warriors against the Romans and all”, I remembered a picture I had seen a long time ago, during my childhood. It was in a youth encyclopedia and it showed a combat between a crusader and a woman warrior, in an infernal scenery of a burning Jerusalem. The encyclopedia is since long stowed away somewhere, but the internet provided answers about whom that woman and that story were. The answers became unexpectedly so extensive that it would cover more than a single posting.
The woman was Clorinda. Clorinda was a fictional figure, created by the Italian poet Tarquato Tasso (1544-1595) in his poem Gerusalemme liberata (1575), in which he mangled facts with a lot of fiction, magic and intruige, and in which he showed up the historical leaders of the First Crusade together with an array of fictional characters, among which some female ones : Erminia, Princess of Antioch, Armida, the Saracen’s secret weapon, Sophronia, a young Christian woman, Clorinda, the warrior woman.
“This lusty lady came from Persia late,
She with the Christians had encountered eft,
And in their flesh had opened many a gate,
By which their faithful souls their bodies left”
(Canto 2; XLI)
The crusader she was shown fighting with, was Tancred. Tasso based this character on a historical figure, Tancred of Taranto (1075-1112), one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1095-1099).
Clorinda is a daughter of the black, Christian king of Ethiopia. But she is born an albino, with white skin and blonde hairs. In order to avoid (unjustified) jealousy from the king, the queen exchanges her for a black girl. Given away by her mother to be raised by a eunuch, Clorinda becomes a Muslim warrior. But she is always haunted by doubts about her Christian roots and alliance.
In the first Crusade, she fights on the side of the Saracens. She takes part in many sorties, attacking Crusader patrols and columns. During a combat on horse, she encounters Tancred, who falls in love with her, and once saves her from a deadly assault by one of his own men (Canto 3, XXiX):
“A soldier wild, careless to win or lose,
Saw where her locks about the damsel flew,
And at her back he proffereth as he goes
To strike where her he did disarmed view:
But Tancred cried, "Oh stay thy cursed hand,"
And for to ward the blow lift up his brand.”
During the siege of Jerusalem, Clorinda gets engaged in a hand to hand combat with Tancred. Unaware of the identity of his adversary, Tancred wounds her mortally. During her last moments she demands to get baptized by him. Only then, when he removes her helmet, he recognizes her...
Gerusalemme liberata , today somewhat forgotten, is considered as one of the masterpieces of late Renaissance literature. The story has been enormously popular during 250 years after its creation, judging from the numerous artwork it has inspired, up to the 19th century, spanning the whole Baroque to the Romantic epoch (but also beyond), particularly about the key events involving the female characters.
When overviewing all this artwork, one can only conclude that Clorinda is most likely the number one cult female warrior of the last four centuries.
(to be continued)
 

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Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
CLORINDA.
While being on the thread “Fem warriors against the Romans and all”, I remembered a picture I had seen a long time ago, during my childhood. It was in a youth encyclopedia and it showed a combat between a crusader and a woman warrior, in an infernal scenery of a burning Jerusalem. The encyclopedia is since long stowed away somewhere, but the internet provided answers about whom that woman and that story were. The answers became unexpectedly so extensive that it would cover more than a single posting.
The woman was Clorinda. Clorinda was a fictional figure, created by the Italian poet Tarquato Tasso (1544-1595) in his poem Gerusalemme liberata (1575), in which he mangled facts with a lot of fiction, magic and intruige, and in which he showed up the historical leaders of the First Crusade together with an array of fictional characters, among which some female ones : Erminia, Princess of Antioch, Armida, the Saracen’s secret weapon, Sophronia, a young Christian woman, Clorinda, the warrior woman.
“This lusty lady came from Persia late,
She with the Christians had encountered eft,
And in their flesh had opened many a gate,
By which their faithful souls their bodies left”
(Canto 2; XLI)
The crusader she was shown fighting with, was Tancred. Tasso based this character on a historical figure, Tancred of Taranto (1075-1112), one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1095-1099).
Clorinda is a daughter of the black, Christian king of Ethiopia. But she is born an albino, with white skin and blonde hairs. In order to avoid (unjustified) jealousy from the king, the queen exchanges her for a black girl. Given away by her mother to be raised by a eunuch, Clorinda becomes a Muslim warrior. But she is always haunted by doubts about her Christian roots and alliance.
In the first Crusade, she fights on the side of the Saracens. She takes part in many sorties, attacking Crusader patrols and columns. During a combat on horse, she encounters Tancred, who falls in love with her, and once saves her from a deadly assault by one of his own men (Canto 3, XXiX):
“A soldier wild, careless to win or lose,
Saw where her locks about the damsel flew,
And at her back he proffereth as he goes
To strike where her he did disarmed view:
But Tancred cried, "Oh stay thy cursed hand,"
And for to ward the blow lift up his brand.”
During the siege of Jerusalem, Clorinda gets engaged in a hand to hand combat with Tancred. Unaware of the identity of his adversary, Tancred wounds her mortally. During her last moments she demands to get baptized by him. Only then, when he removes her helmet, he recognizes her...
Gerusalemme liberata , today somewhat forgotten, is considered as one of the masterpieces of late Renaissance literature. The story has been enormously popular during 250 years after its creation, judging from the numerous artwork it has inspired, up to the 19th century, spanning the whole Baroque to the Romantic epoch (but also beyond), particularly about the key events involving the female characters.
When overviewing all this artwork, one can only conclude that Clorinda is most likely the number one cult female warrior of the last four centuries.
(to be continued)

Cool ... very interesting ... Thanks for posting Lox!
 
Yes many thanks Loxuru, a chapter of literature previously hidden to me and now revealed by your scholarship :)
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
oh, discovering Tasso is one of the joys of doing an Eng Lit degree -
important influence on Spenser etc., and a very luscious poet -
the sexy sorceress Armida is another delightful creation of his:

4 Velo Strappato.jpg 220px-Armide.JPG francesco_hayez_rinaldo_e_armida.jpg Poussin,_Nicolas_-_Rinaldo_and_Armida.jpg Rinaldo and Armida by Gerard Hoet.jpg Rinaldo and Armida Hayez.jpg Rinaldo Armida enchanted forest.jpg Rinaldo e Armida Caracci.jpg Rinaldo enchanted by Armida Tiepolo.jpg Rinaldo-e-Armida-Antonio-Bellucci1.jpg

As is apparent, Tasso's description of the way she used her female assets
to bewitch Rinaldo made an impression on a good many artists!
To escape her bewitchment, Rinaldo has to slay a forest-full of enchanted trees. :)
In the end, when he's liberated Jerusalem, she repents and marries him and it all ends happily :) :) :)
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
CLORINDA (2)
Probably the most striking scene of Gerusalemme liberate, was when Tancred realized he had killed his beloved Clorinda (Canto 12). Clorinda participated in the defense of Jerusalem, mainly by killing crusaders by shooting arrows from the ramparts. She wanted however a more glorious combat, by taking part in a sortie in an attempt to burn down the siege machines of the crusaders. But she got stuck outside the walls and then the fatal combat with Tancred happened.


Numerous are the drawings, paintings (among which Tintoretto), tapestries, statues, statuettes and pottery…. Showing the grief stricken Tancred baptizing the dying Clorinda, using water fetched from a nearby stream in his helmet. These pictures here are only a selection of what exists.
 

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
CLORINDA (3)
Here are some more of the scene of Tancred baptizing the dying Clorinda. This scene seems to be the most depicted one of all. For instance in the Fondazio Zeri collection of the University of Bologna, Italy.
http://catalogo.fondazionezeri.unib...alizzazione&percorso_ricerca=OA&galleria=true
The story also inspired the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). In 1624 he created a madrigal Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda . Today it is still frequently performed (just check Youtube for examples) Here is one link:
 

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
CLORINDA (4)
Clorinda makes a remarkable first appearance in the story (Canto 2). The Muslim king of Jerusalem wants to seize an effigy of the Virgin Mary, hidden in a Christian church. He lets seize it, because it gives the Christians in Jerusalem moral strength, with the crusader’s army approaching. It is transferred to a mosque, but then it dispappears. Furious, the king threatens to kill all the Christians in the city, to be sure he will have punished the thief. But then, a young Christian woman named Sophronia accuses herself of the crime in order to avert massacre of the Christian population. When the king asks her to show up the effigy, she claims she has burned it. Angered, the Muslim king hence condemns her to be burned the stake herself. Immediately, she is stripped and tied, in order to prepare her for the imminent execution (Canto 2, XXVI)

Ta'en was the damsel, and without remorse,
The king condemned her guiltless to the fire,
Her veil and mantle plucked they off by force,
And bound her tender arms in twisted wire:
Dumb was the silver dove, while from her corse
These hungry kites plucked off her rich attire,
And for some deal perplexed was her sprite,
Her damask late, now changed to purest white.
But then, her lover Olindo shows up and accuses himself in turn, hoping to get Sophronia free. But the king instead decides to believe both of them end condemns both to the stake (Canto 2, XXXII). (Actually, the king is particularly angry, because of the way Sophronia and Olindo challenge his power).
He thinks, such thoughts self-guiltiness finds out,
They scorned his power, and therefore scorned the pain,
"Nay, nay," quoth he, "let be your strife and doubt,
You both shall win, and fit reward obtain."
With that the sergeants hent the young man stout,
And bound him likewise in a worthless chain;
Then back to back fast to a stake both ties,
Two harmless turtles dight for sacrifice.
So the lovers stand back to back tied to the stake, unable to see each other. Everything is ready to put fire at the pile of wood (Canto 2, XXXVIII).

The lovers standing in this doleful wise,
A warrior bold unwares approached near,
In uncouth arms yclad and strange disguise,
From countries far, but new arrived there,
A savage tigress on her helmet lies,
The famous badge Clorinda used to bear;
That wonts in every warlike stowre to win,
By which bright sign well known was that fair inn.
Suddenly, Clorinda intervenes and she persuades the king to stop the execution.

This scene of Clorinda arriving to rescue Sophronia and Olindo, has also been depicted by many artists, including by Eugène Delacroix in 1856.
 

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malins

Stumbling Seeker
the dying Clorinda. This scene seems to be the most depicted one of all
It's so typical. Remember this girls, if - willingly or not - you ever find yourself in the position of being a feared warrior queen, don't waste too much time on sharpening your tactics, spying on the weaknesses of your enemies, etc.; your historical significance will depend on exactly one thing - whether or not you manage to deliver a titillating death scene ...:D
 

Top-Cat

Onlooker
CLORINDA.
While being on the thread “Fem warriors against the Romans and all”, I remembered a picture I had seen a long time ago, during my childhood. It was in a youth encyclopedia and it showed a combat between a crusader and a woman warrior, in an infernal scenery of a burning Jerusalem. The encyclopedia is since long stowed away somewhere, but the internet provided answers about whom that woman and that story were. The answers became unexpectedly so extensive that it would cover more than a single posting.
The woman was Clorinda. Clorinda was a fictional figure, created by the Italian poet Tarquato Tasso (1544-1595) in his poem Gerusalemme liberata (1575), in which he mangled facts with a lot of fiction, magic and intruige, and in which he showed up the historical leaders of the First Crusade together with an array of fictional characters, among which some female ones : Erminia, Princess of Antioch, Armida, the Saracen’s secret weapon, Sophronia, a young Christian woman, Clorinda, the warrior woman.
“This lusty lady came from Persia late,
She with the Christians had encountered eft,
And in their flesh had opened many a gate,
By which their faithful souls their bodies left”
(Canto 2; XLI)
The crusader she was shown fighting with, was Tancred. Tasso based this character on a historical figure, Tancred of Taranto (1075-1112), one of the leaders of the First Crusade (1095-1099).
Clorinda is a daughter of the black, Christian king of Ethiopia. But she is born an albino, with white skin and blonde hairs. In order to avoid (unjustified) jealousy from the king, the queen exchanges her for a black girl. Given away by her mother to be raised by a eunuch, Clorinda becomes a Muslim warrior. But she is always haunted by doubts about her Christian roots and alliance.
In the first Crusade, she fights on the side of the Saracens. She takes part in many sorties, attacking Crusader patrols and columns. During a combat on horse, she encounters Tancred, who falls in love with her, and once saves her from a deadly assault by one of his own men (Canto 3, XXiX):
“A soldier wild, careless to win or lose,
Saw where her locks about the damsel flew,
And at her back he proffereth as he goes
To strike where her he did disarmed view:
But Tancred cried, "Oh stay thy cursed hand,"
And for to ward the blow lift up his brand.”
During the siege of Jerusalem, Clorinda gets engaged in a hand to hand combat with Tancred. Unaware of the identity of his adversary, Tancred wounds her mortally. During her last moments she demands to get baptized by him. Only then, when he removes her helmet, he recognizes her...
Gerusalemme liberata , today somewhat forgotten, is considered as one of the masterpieces of late Renaissance literature. The story has been enormously popular during 250 years after its creation, judging from the numerous artwork it has inspired, up to the 19th century, spanning the whole Baroque to the Romantic epoch (but also beyond), particularly about the key events involving the female characters.
When overviewing all this artwork, one can only conclude that Clorinda is most likely the number one cult female warrior of the last four centuries.
(to be continued)


Loxuru

Thanks for posting the story and photos of Clorinda.

Top Cat
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Other notorious female characters in Gerusalemme liberata : Erminia.


Erminia is the daughter of the king of Antioch, who gets killed when the crusaders conquer the city. She then moves to Jerusalem. She falls in love with Tancred, but Tancred’s love for Clorinda stands between them.


Erminia steals Clorinda’s armour and rides out of Jerusalem, hoping to approach Tancred (Canto 6). But this turns out to be a very bad plan, as not only Tancred, but the whole crusader’s army gets behind her, as they want to capture and defeat the feared Clorinda. Erminia has to flee. While Tancred (still thinking she was Clorinda) tries to find her, Erminia, still clad in Clorinda’s armour, founds shelter with a sheperd’s family, when she arrives there (Canto 7).
 

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Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
In case anyone's keen to read it, or at least to dip into it,
Edward Fairfax's 1600 translation, 'Jerusalem Delivered'
is a fine work, one of the best translations of any major work
in English verse. You can read it or download it as a free e-book
from Project Gutenberg at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/392
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Erminia (continued).

Later, Erminia is captured by Egyptians underway to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. With the help of the spy Vafrines, she escapes. Underway, Erminia and Vafrines find Tancred heavily wounded after a combat with his Saracen enemy Argantes. She dries and binds his wounds using her own hair (Canto 19).
Finally, Erminia is with Tancred, and she can stay with him in Jerusalem while he recovers from his wounds.
Erminia finding the wounded Tancred is another scene of 'Gerusalemme liberata' that has inspired many painters.
 

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
the sexy sorceress Armida is another delightful creation of his:

ARMIDA

Eulalia already introduced Armida in a previous posting in this thread.
Armida is in some way also a warrior, but of another kind.
Armida appears in Canto 4. She is sent to the crusader’s army by the king of Damascus, in order to seduce as much as possible of them, particularly the commanders, and to divide the crusader knights against each other, so that the crusader’s army would fall apart.
XXIV
"My dear, who underneath these locks of gold,
And native brightness of thy lovely hue,
Hidest grave thoughts, ripe wit, and wisdom old,
More skill than I, in all mine arts untrue,
To thee my purpose great I must unfold,
This enterprise thy cunning must pursue,
Weave thou to end this web which I begin,
I will the distaff hold, come thou and spin.
XXV
"Go to the Christians' host, and there assay
All subtle sleights that women use in love,
Shed brinish tears, sob, sigh, entreat and pray,
Wring thy fair hands, cast up thine eyes above,
For mourning beauty hath much power, men say,
The stubborn hearts with pity frail to move;
Look pale for dread, and blush sometime for shame,
In seeming truth thy lies will soonest frame.
XXVI
"Take with the bait Lord Godfrey, if thou may'st;
Frame snares of look, strains of alluring speech;
For if he love, the conquest then thou hast,
Thus purposed war thou may'st with ease impeach,
Else lead the other Lords to deserts waste,
And hold them slaves far from their leader's reach:"
Thus taught he her, and for conclusion, saith,
"All things are lawful for our lands and faith."
XXVII
The sweet Armida took this charge on hand,
A tender piece, for beauty, sex and age,
The sun was sunken underneath the land,
When she began her wanton pilgrimage,
In silken weeds she trusteth to withstand,
And conquer knights in warlike equipage,
Of their night ambling dame the Syrians prated,
Some good, some bad, as they her loved or hated.
Armida’s biggest prize is the knight Rinaldo. She founds him sleeping and wants to kill him, but finally she brings him to her secret island, where she falls in love with him, and he forgets completely about the crusades. But two knights come to get him back. Rinaldo leaves Armida behind, and furious and heartbroken she raises an army against the crusaders, but it fails and at the end, everything comes well between her and Rinaldo.

From all the subplots of ‘Gerusalemme liberata’, the story of Armida has inspired the most of all to operas, and other pieces of music, starting once more with Monteverdi, over Lully, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Salieri, Gluck, Haydn, Rossini, Dvorak,.. and many others, up to recently Judith Weir in 2005. The latter story is set in the today’s Middle East conflict. Armida is therein a television journalist, seducing an army officer.
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
GILDIPPE


And that kind pair in white all armed round,
Is Edward and Gildippes, who begun
Through love the hazard of fierce war to prove,
Famous for arms, but famous more for love."

(Canto 3, XL)

Gildippe is a less prominent female character in Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata.
Like Clorinda, she is also a woman warrior, but fighting at the side of the Crusaders.

In the last battle (Canto 20), against the Egyptian army, she and her husband are slain next to each other.

In 1840, the German composer Otto Nicolai (1810-1849) composed an opera Gildippe ed Edoardo, based on Tasso's story.
 

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Naraku

Draconarius
This is all quite fascinating - and more proof that this is the most educational fetish website on the net.
I hate to admit it, but I really wasn't familiar with Tasso's work. He must have been a bit too late to be covered in my collage courses on Renaissance literature. The XVI century is more Baroque than Renaissance.
However, I am familiar with Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, so I can't help wondering if Tasso was inspired by the character Bradamante.

She was Christian female knight who fell in love with the Saracen warrior Ruggiero. She recused him from the wizard Atlante and, after many adventures, he converts to Christianity, the marry and become the ancestors of the House of D'Este - the patrons of both Ariosto & Boiardo.
 

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
However, I am familiar with Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, so I can't help wondering if Tasso was inspired by the character Bradamante.
Indeed. It is generally recognised that Tasso has borrowed plot elements and characters from the works you mention : Clorinda (indeed inspared by Bradamante in Orlando Furioso), Armida, Rinaldo. Tasso was also supported by the dukes of d'Este .

And I have to admit, I discovered Tasso's work myself only a few weeks ago. Searching for the story behind a pic that I had seen in an encyclopedia a long time ago, of a combat between a crusader named Tancred and a female warrior of which I did not even remembered the name.

Very inspiring, this forum!
 
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