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Bradamante

bradamante hearts and armour
Barbara di Rossi as Bradamante

Bradamante (bra-da-MAHN-teh) is one of the greatest female knights ever portrayed in English literature. She is one of the first examples of the reverse damsel-in-distress - saving her husband instead. She can be found in Charlemagne legends Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Boiardo, Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, The Nonexistant Knight (Il Cavaliere Inesistente) by Italo Calvino, and Handel's Alcina. Later on, Andrew Lang wrote about her in The Red Romance Book. Robert Garnier also wrote a tragicomedy with her name as the title. She is equivalent to Britomart from The Faerie Queene. Lastly, Barbara di Rossi depicted Bradamante in the 1983 film "Hearts and Armour."

Bradamante means "wild love/loving wildly" in Italian, from the words brado and amante. She is also sometimes spelled Bradamate or Bradamant. Her lover Roger is Ruggiero, or Ruggero in Italian. He is also sometimes spelled Rogero. She is a valiant, white-armored Christian knight (of France) with a magical weapon, who is in love with a Saracen knight. Her nickname (alias?) was "the Maid," a nod to Joan of Arc.

Bradamante is said to be the ancestor of the d'Este (or just Este, the House of Este) family, 17th century Italian cello patrons.

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