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Bradamante (also spelled Bradamant) is the sister of Rinaldo, and one of the heroines in Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto in their handling of the Charlemagne legends, also called the Matter of France.
She falls in love with the Saracen warrior Ruggiero, but refuses to marry him unless he converts from Islam. Bradamante and Ruggiero were destined to become the ancestors of the noble House of Este who were the patrons to both Boiardo and Ariosto. Bradamante rescues Ruggiero from being imprisoned by the wizard Atlante, but they are separated soon afterward. The two lovers are separated many times in the story, but are finally married after Ruggiero's conversion to Christianity.
Bradamante is depicted as one of the greatest female knights in literature. She is an expert fighter, and wields a magical lance that unhorses anyone it touches. She is also one of the main characters in several novels including Italo Calvino's surrealistic, highly ironic novel Il Cavaliere inesistente (The Nonexistent Knight).
Robert Garnier, French dramatist of the 16th century, wrote the tragicomedy named Bradamante that further develops the love story between the heroine and Roger (Ruggiero).
Bradamante is depicted by Barbara De Rossi in the 1983 Italian film Paladini-storia d'armi e d'amori (aka Paladins—the story of love and arms, aka Hearts and Armour) – a film based on the legends surrounding the Peers of Charlemagne.
Bradamant, after the death of her husband, also appears in a short fantasy novel by Ruth Berman, Bradamant's Quest (Minnetonka MN: FTL Publications, 2011). Berman has an Appendix to her fiction in which she explains the background of the novel; she includes a brief survey of nine other twentieth-century works of fantasy fiction using the Charlemagne legends or background.
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