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Rodomonte defending the bridge; illustration by Gustave Dore to Orlando furioso

Rodomonte (or Rodamonte) is a major character in the Italian romantic epics Orlando innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. He is the King of Sarza and Algiers and the leader of the Saracen army which besieges Charlemagne in Paris. He is in love with Doralice, Princess of Granada, but she elopes with his rival Mandricardo. He tries to seduce Isabella but she tricks him into killing her by mistake. In remorse, Rodomonte builds a bridge in her memory and forces all who cross it to pay tribute. When the maddened Orlando arrives at the bridge he throws Rodomonte into the river below. Finally, Rodomonte appears at the wedding of Bradamante and Ruggiero and accuses Ruggiero of treason for converting to Christianity and abandoning the Saracen cause. The two fight a duel and Rodomonte is killed.

Rodomonte's prowess is matched only by his arrogance and boasting. His name is the source of the expression rodomontade, meaning "boastful, bragging talk".[1]

Rodomonte first appears in Book 2, Canto 1 of Orlando innamorato. Boiardo was said to be so pleased at the invention of his name that he had the church bells rung in celebration.[2]


  1. ^ Concise Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Waley p.23


  • Boiardo: Orlando innamorato ed. Giuseppe Anceschi (Garzanti,1978)
  • Boiardo: Orlando innamorato translated by Charles Stanley Ross, (Parlor Press, 2004).
  • Ariosto:Orlando Furioso, verse translation by Barbara Reynolds in two volumes (Penguin Classics, 1975). Part one (cantos 1-23) ISBN 0-14-044311-8; part two (cantos 24-46) ISBN 0-14-044310-X
  • Ariosto: Orlando Furioso ed. Marcello Turchi (Garzanti, 1974)
  • Ariosto: Orlando Furioso: A Selection ed. Pamela Waley (Manchester University Press, 1975)