“The sacred armies, and the godly knight,
That the great sepulchre of Christ did free,
The First Crusade provides the backdrop for a rich tapestry of political machinations, military conflicts, martial rivalries, and love stories, some of which are complicated by differences in religion.
First published in 1581, Jerusalem Delivered became one of the most widely read and cherished books of the Renaissance, deftly mixing history and myth.
Arguably the greatest Italian poet after Dante, Torquato Tasso was born in Sorrento in 1544 and died in Rome in 1595, after having served as the court poet in Ferrara, and then being confined for years in a madhouse after attacking a servant with a knife.
Jerusalem Delivered is set in the 11th century and tells the story of the First Crusade and the siege that gave Christian armies control over Jerusalem and the Holy Lands.
Tasso's heroes - Godfrey, leader of the Christian armies; Rinaldo, bravest of the Christian warriors; and Tancred, the Italian prince who falls in love with the pagan Clorinda, (whom he eventually converts and kills) - must face not only the Saracens and their allies, but also a host of terrifying and cunning devils, demons, and sorcerers.
TORQUATO TASSO (1544 –1595) was a 16th century Italian poet, best known for his poem Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered), in which he constructs a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the Siege of Jerusalem. Throughout his life, Tasso suffered from debilitating mental illness and died just days before he was due to be crowned king of poets by the Pope.