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Thursday, January 26, 2017

A trip to the Gaza Strip (1)

[GC 16: 86]

Vafrin lascia quel morto, et a mancina
Drizza il veloce corso inver ponente
Insin che Gaza si trovò vicina,
Che fu porto di Gaza anticamente;
Ma poi, crescendo de l'altrui ruina,
Città divenne assai grande e possente;
Ed erano le piagge allhor ripiene
Quasi d'huomini sì come d'arene.

Vafrino leaves the dead man, and on the left
Rides at full speed towards the West until
He comes to the territory of Gaza.
That was the Gaza harbor in old times,
But then, other places having been destroyed, (*)
It turned into a great, powerful city;
And right then its seashore was nearly as
Full of soldiers as it was of sand grains.

(*) Given the long and complex history of Gaza, it is not clear to which events Tasso refers here. The parallel text in Gerusalemme Liberata 19: 57-58 is of no help since, in that case, the Muslim army had been gathered near Ascalona (Ashkelon), not Gaza.