Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Called "The Italian Homer". He was the son of Nicolo Ariosto, Governor of Reggio, and Daria Malaguzzi, born at Reggio in Emilia, 8 September, 1474; died at Ferrara, 6 June, 1533. Ludovico was the eldest of ten children, and on the death of his father, in 1500, became head of the family. When nine years of age he composed and acted in the fable "Tisbe". He gave five years to the study of law, and when twenty years old devoted himself to Greek and Latin authors. From 1503, or thereabouts, he was attached to the court of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, but in 1518 he fell into disfavour with his patron. The Cardinal's brother, Duke Alfonso, then employed Ariosto in various diplomatic missions, in which he conducted himself with tact and skill. From 1522 to 1525 he governed the district of Garfagnana and freed it from the robber-bands which had infested it. In 1530, perhaps, he married a Florentine widow, Alessandra Benucci. Ariosto wrote sonnetti and canzoni in the style of Petrarch, and five comedies of which the earliest," La Cassaria", was represented for the first time in 1509, and the latest, "La Scolastica" was completed by his brother Gabriel on the death of the poet. Of more importance are his seven Satires in terza rima , and extending from 1517 to 1531, giving much information on his own life and laying bare the vices of the time. The principal foundation of Ariosto's glory is the "Orlando Furioso". Begun about 1505, it was published in Ferrara, 21 April 1516. Ariosto continued to correct it and in 1532 published the second, enlarged and definitive, edition. The poem was dedicated to Cardinal Ippolito. At first reading it appears to a disconnected patchwork of fragmentary adventures following upon each other in bewildering variety; but on close analysis it becomes apparent that episodes are spun around three principal incidents: Paris besieged by the Moors, the rage of Orlando, and as the central subject, the love and marriage of Ruggiero and Bradamante, by which the origin of the house of Este is accounted for. The subject of the poem is expressed in the opening lines:

Le donne, i cavalier, l'arme, gli amori,
Le cortesie, l'audaci imprese io canto.

It is the glorification of chivalry in all its elements, and continues and completes the "Orlando In namorato" of Boiardo, which had appeared in 1495, but, though the "Innamorato" is its foundation it far surpasses its forerunner in perfection of style and form, variety of incident, the gay and brilliant mingling of the romantic and medieval with the classical, the artistic interweaving of the two great cycles of Charlemagne and Arthur. It has been called "most beautiful, and varied, and wonderful poem of romances that the literature of the world can boast of." (G. Picciola).


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter