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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Is it her or not? (2)

[GC 17: 41]

Nïun più rimanea, quando improvisa
La Reina di Dafne apparve altera:
Venìa sublime in un gran carro assisa,
Succinta in gonna e faretrata arciera,
E di guerrieri armati in altra guisa
D'acciaio lucente havea fedele schiera,
Che di Bitri e d'Accone e di Berrea,
Di Dafne e d'Epifania addotti havea.

No one (*) was lacking, when suddenly
The lofty Queen of Daphne (**) appeared:
She came sitting high in a great chariot,
A scantily clothed archer with her quiver.
Of warriors armed in different ways,
In shining steel, she had a loyal crowd,
Whom from Bitri (***) and Accon and Berrea
And Daphne and Epiphania (****) she had led.

(*) in the military parade
(**) According to the manuscript, but it was changed into "the Lady of Seleucia" in the final printed text. The queen's features recall the goddess Artemis. And especially, in Greek mythology, Daphne was the name of a woman who was metamorphosed into a tree, that might provide a link between the 'established' Armida and her last appearance, later on.
(***) Not found. Accon is the same as Ptolemais, Berrea Aleppo.
(****) A group of places in an area included in the territories of current Turkey and Syria. The city of Daphne was near Antioch. In the final version of the poem, "Daphne and Epiphania" were replaced by "Palmyra and Apamea," the archaeological sites in Syria, alas.
In the parallel section in Gerusalemme Liberata 17: 34, Armida -- who lived in an island in the Atlantic Ocean -- led a fantasy army. But in Gerusalemme Conquistata Armida's headquarters is in current Lebanon, therefore in this very neighborhood in the Middle East.