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Friday, February 20, 2015

Iliad? Il y a (1)

[7: 34]

Ma 'l canuto Soldan ne l'ampia torre
U' di Borea si rompe ogni procella,
Co' più vecchi venìa; ché quivi accorre
Solea, mirando hor questa parte hor quella,
E 'l figlio suo che, quasi novo Hettorre,
I suoi nemici a la battaglia appella,
E quei ch'uscìano a schiera, e 'l campo tutto,
Che mar somiglia allor ch'inalza il flutto.

Meanwhile, the old Sultan(*) came to the large
Tower that broke all swirls of the North wind,
Together with the elders. He often hastens
Here to have a look at both parties, as well
As at his son(**) who, like a novel Hector,
Boldly challenges his enemies to battle;
At the moving troops, too, and at the whole
Field, which resembles stormy sea waves.

(*) More properly: Emir Ducat, the King of Jerusalem.
(**) Argantes. The description of the duel between him and the Christian knight Ives is suddenly interrupted, shifting the 'camera' to the tower from whose top the city rulers follow the events. The whole sequence starting here comes from the Iliad, Canto 3. Here the Emir plays the role that belonged to Priam. Argantes is "like a novel Hector" because he "is" Hector; that is a fine way to honor a Muslim personage since, in the Renaissance, Hector -- not Achilles -- was exalted as the main hero in Homer's poem. He was even considered the forefather of some noble Italian families, especially the Estes, who had been Tasso's sponsors for Gerusalemme Liberata (no longer for the Conquistata).