SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The story of young Amullo

During the Muslim attack against the Christian fort in Jaffa (a fictional episode set during the First Crusade), a young assailant falls. The theme of a hero's "dear friend" being killed in battle, that usually makes the hero angrier and readier to fight, dates back to Homer. This literary device had been reused by Ariosto already, and it implied, more or less clearly, a homosexual bond between the young man and the famous warrior. In the case of Tasso, homosexuality was a subject that affected him himself in depth: Gerusalemme Conquistata -- not so the Liberata before -- also worked as his "coming out." Lively sea descriptions are another of Tasso's 'trademarks.'

[GC 17: 117.7 - 118.8]

Among them was Amullo the valiant,     name origin?
Argantes' loyal friend, no more than a kid.
He had ascended toward the top so much
that he seemed to deserve crown and palm,    symbols of victory
when lo, Robert hurled the great mass
of a rock that would prove too heavy to
a brawny man―his beaten head and bones,
his broken helmet let his soul pass through.
He fell like one who into the deep sea
dives from a high ship to search the bottom.