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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

[GC] A Normandy Landing in Jaffa

by Arnold Böcklin

Jaffa, 1099 AD. In a wholly fictional episode, the Poseidon-like demon now sees many Christian ships approaching to help the Crusaders, and especially help the young, Achilles-like knight Richard. Here a recap is needed because a huge section was missing in the Gerusalemme Conquistata manuscript that we are following. Richard (Riccardo) in GC corresponds to Rinaldo in Gerusalemme Liberata, Torquato Tasso's more famous version of the poem. Some of Richard's adventures are the same as Rinaldo's, some not. In GC Richard, after defeating and immobilizing the witch Armida (her love story with Rinaldo in GL developed differently), is confined in Lebanon waiting for his destiny to call him back to battle. The demon knows it, and decides to destroy the Christian fleet. He runs toward the coast.

[18: 11]

Having said so, he moved his swift, quick
feet from that steep mountain and ran down,     Lebanon
making the high forests and wild ranges
tremble under those frightening strides of his.     see Polyphemus
Three times did he shake the prickly sides
of the mountains, and broke the live rock;
but his fourth stride impresses the shore—
his rage lets him have no rest at all.