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I will also show how the poet made the Amazonian warrior women a token not only of his political agenda, but also of cultural and social interest. Stigliani worked on this book for his whole life, from when he started drafting it in Milan in , until his death in There are two editions of the poem, one partial first 20 cantos published in Piacenza in and dedicated to the duke of Parma and Piacenza Ranuccio I Farnese; and one complete 34 cantos , published in Rome in dedicated to Philip IV of Spain.

The poet was planning also a new edition of the poem that should have followed the Roman edition. A copy of the Mondo nuovo densely annotated by Stigliani in preparation of this third edition is preserved in the National Central Library of Rome All the quotes from the Mondo nuovo in this thesis are from the Roman edition, As attested to by numerous scholars such as Giovanni Caserta 40 , Angelo Colombo , and Marco Arnaudo , this mythical figure was used by Stigliani to make fun of his competitor Giovan Battista Marino, who was appointed knight in the order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus in The Mondo nuovo is certainly the Italian epic poem that deals most with the New World mythology, and as such it has a preponderant role in my investigation.

As I have shown in my MPhil thesis , the Mondo nuovo is as serious and precise in its historical and geographical components, as it is parodic through its mythological references. Mauro Padula is the only scholar to define the Mondo nuovo a mock-heroic poem, and in the following chapters I will validate his thesis through the study of the New World myths used by Stigliani. Di Somma planned to publish at least six cantos as the poet wrote to his friend Fabrizio Ricci,21 but only the first two cantos appeared on the book market.

The letter has been transcribed in Paudice Amongst the warriors gathered by King Attabila identifiable with the Sapa Inca Atahualpa , appears the queen of the Amazons Oronta with her companions. The queen is involved in a paradoxical situation where she fights against her own son Ormeno without being aware of the identity of her rival. In this poem, dedicated to the duke of Savoy Carlo Emanuele I, the Tassian hero Tancredi narrates the adventures he experienced after the conquest of Jerusalem to the Byzantine emperor Alexios.

After crossing the Pillars of Hercules, Tancredi tells how he sets free a young black girl who was taken prisoner by a sea monster. The daughter of Norte personification of the Atlantic Ocean and Platia representing the Rio de la Plata , America was born with black skin because of a poison the evil Sur the Pacific Ocean made her parents drink.

Thanks to the baptism by Tancredi, America was able to recover her original white appearance, converting herself and her people to the Christian faith. Aprosio The America presents two different points of view about the process of conquest: one given by the Spanish sailor Oristano, and the other by the ghost of the cacique Guancanarillo. This suggests a desire in the author to give an objective and impartial view of the event, an approach that is unique in the Columbian corpus.

American Amazons are only mentioned in the poem with didactic purposes, highlighting as such the end of the presence of New World warrior women in the Italian epic production. This switching of roles is not accidental but, as we will see, has the precise goal of creating a promotion of Florence and of Bartolomei himself. According to Bianchini , the delay was due to the fact that the geographical discoveries did not have the same value for all the Italian states for example, the journeys of the Venetians Cadamosto and Contarini were important for Venice, but not for the other states.

Lorenzo Bianchi concentrated on the difficulties of poets in creating poetical marvel when this marvel was already part of the topic itself. More recently, Elisabetta Selmi b: considered that this delay was connected with the Church discrediting Columbus, while Eva Tostini 19 suggested that it could have been due to publishing issues as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Inquisition. Erin McCarthy-King 42 instead proposed that the discoveries were not viewed in a positive manner by some famous humanists such as Pietro Bembo Istoria venetiana, IV, , and this could have discouraged the poets from dealing with such a topic.

The literal authority of poets such as Matteo Maria Boiardo and Luigi Pulci made it difficult for the poets of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries to distance themselves from the successful and fortunate Carolingian poetic cycle, that continued to be in vogue for the entire early modern period. There are elements of truth in each theory outlined above, though for the sake of this thesis I would like to make a different point.

Despite the slow uptake of the detail of New World myths in Italian epic poetry, there was a gradual incorporation of isolated themes, tropes and characters. There is, indeed, a delay in the official poetic treatment of the American theme, but the New World was more present than expected in the early modern Italian poems. Whilst it is true that it took a long time for an epos based on the New World to be created in Italy, it is also true that elements connected to the discovery of the Americas were already present in Italian works that did not engage at all with the theme.

In this thesis, I will show that the New World myths were already present in literary works not explicitly dedicated to the New World. It is for this reason that to the poems of the Columbian corpus quoted above, I will add two poems that have at first sight nothing to do with the New World theme.

The pygmies section can be considered a case study, as the same analysis could also be applied to the other New World myths. The poem was analysed from a strictly philological point of view, applying a close textual analysis to the text. The dissertation was particularly focused on the editorial history of the poem, and the sources used by Stigliani to describe his American enterprise.

Moving to the University of Birmingham in for my MPhil degree allowed me to take into consideration different methodological approaches. While the focus of the Italian MA had been on the editorial history and evolution of the poem, the MPhil broadened its focus to include a study of how the text reflected and was influenced by the precise historical time and place in which it had emerged. My work showed how the Americas described by Stigliani were influenced by the literature emerging from the New World conquests, but that they were most of all a mirror of Europe, where characters and situations were borrowed from the Old World.

Further reading of comparable epic poems led to the realisation that this was a widespread phenomenon worthy of study. It is in response to this discovery that I began this PhD. I adopt extensively the philological approach - or close textual analysis - that I have used during my Italian formation, balancing it with interdisciplinary readings of the works selected. In my previous works, philology enabled me to have a good knowledge of the texts I was working on, but not to locate them in a cultural and social discourse.

As widely known, the philological approach is the canonical method used in Italy - as well as in Germany - to analyse all forms of art and poetry starting from primary school. It consists in closely look at the artistic or literary work by considering all its denotative and connotative meanings. Through examining the inner-working devices that build its framework, the object of analysis is analytically assessed: larger themes or concerns are discussed by considering the text as a whole, and by studying how the single features work together.

In , Richard Scholar advised a return to traditional close textual analysis, and the restoration of the study of the words as crucial for the historical and political comprehension of a text. Humanism and Democratic Criticism is both a call for a return to philology, and an exercise in philological reading. I will apply the close reading suggested by these literary critics to my epic poems, putting an emphasis on the words used by my authors through a close textual analysis of the works in my corpus.

Words will be used not only as tools to interpret the poems, but also as keywords to understand better the context in which these texts were produced and their relation with each other. Keeping the philological approach central to my investigation, I briefly touch upon cultural studies that are useful when it comes to contextualising the poems within a specific cultural context and to valorising non-canonical texts in my search for contextual evidence.

I was especially influenced by Stephen Greenblatt, whose studies of the New World marvelousness in Marvellous Possessions have shaped some of the questions this thesis addresses. This work is also in debt to other cultural scholars who, like Greenblatt, dealt with the themes of wonder and the New World.

The crucial role played by the court society in the construction of wonder has been particularly useful in the section about the Canadian pygmies, where the exotic objects preserved in the Medici cabinet of curiosities are presented as cultural and social artefacts. In the same vein, the volume Curiosity and Wonder from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment edited by Robert John Weston Evans and Alexander Marr offers a well-rounded take on the theme.

The introductory essay by Marr with an overview of the current research in the area of curiosity and wonder has been a guide during my research. My thesis suggests in fact that in these poems, Canadian pygmies are described as collectible objects in an early modern Wunderkammern. This workshop extensively discussed the relationship between materiality and culture, encouraging me to consider the New World myths in my poems through the lens of materiality.

Although Williams does not speak explicitly about the New World, his monsters migrated from the margin of the maps to the pages of poems and romances are indicative of the importance that monsters increasingly acquired in early modern society. They were, for Williams, the bearers of allegorical meanings helpful for understanding the society that created them.

Finally, in my treatment of New World or New World-inspired cartography and art, I move into the province of art history and cartography. Applying a non-conventional reading to the texts, I will show how literature and arts are strictly bound in their representation of the New World myths, and of the Americas in general. I refer in particular to the comparative method used by the authors working on the connections between cartography and literature, such as Theodore J.

Cachey Jr. Their discussion about the role that cartography could have had in poetry has been crucial for my interpretation of the New World myths as visual data. Although the original intention for visiting these libraries was to define my primary literary sources and access the poems not available in a digital form or published in a modern edition, I combined my studies on the poems with research of the New World myths on visual sources. One of the most interesting works of cartography encountered is an underrated and spectacular compendium of early modern maps preserved in the Huntington Library known as the Huntington Library Rare Book As noticed by Bruce P.

Lenman , these maps and charts have various origins, and were produced at different times, possibly collated after by a French compiler. This atlas is one of the primary sources for the study of the myth of Patagonian giants in cartography, as Patagonians are depicted or labelled in almost all the maps depicting South America in this early modern atlas. In addressing the question of how Italian epic poetry appropriates and adopts New World myths for propagandistic, political and cultural reasons, I will use terminology drawn from the field of Translation Studies that was already adopted by Wes Williams.

They provide useful insights into the processes through which epic poets translate, interpret and adapt the New World materials and myths, as I articulate the uneven way in which the New World mythology appears in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century epic poetry. It may be surprising to note the absence of mythological and archetypal criticism in a thesis about myths. However, this thesis is not concerned with the archetypes and motives that underlie human behaviour and that are expressed in myths.

Unlike Northrop Frye and mythological critics in his wake, this thesis is not interested in finding mythemes and archetypes that can be adaptable to many literary texts. In the poems analysed, New World myths are consciously inserted, and they are not the result of a critical reading of the poems. He was convinced that the lands where he landed during his four voyages were near Cipango Japan , and in front of the Golden Chersonesos Malaysia , and as such he imaginated the mirabilia that the Europeans believed to be in Eastern Asia located there.

Columbus was not the only one to bring his cultural baggage derived from the classical and medieval traditions to bear on his descriptions of the New World. The classical myths and medieval monstrous races continued to be transferred to the Americas, even when it was clear that the lands discovered in the West were part of a new unknown continent.

Some of the myths had never had a precise location in the Old World, and the discovery of the Americas was perceived as a sort of confirmation of the ancient stories reporting the existence of marvellous creatures and places. Other myths, even if exactly located in the ancient paradoxography, were moved to the New World to enrich the new lands with fascinating mirabilia. This attracted the attention of European sovereigns and personalities financing the explorations who were unquestionably fascinated by the potential health benefits and wealth offered by the Americas.

This is the case, for example, of the fountain of youth that Herodotus clearly placed in Ethiopia Histories, III, , but that after the discovery of America began to be sought in present-day Florida Conti, ; Greenberger, My aim is to clarify in this chapter what this mythology is, and why it is worth considering it in early modern Italian epic poems.

As the concept of New World mythology is not widely known, I will provide my readers with some definitions that will be helpful to engage with the next chapters. I will start giving an overview of the New World mythology where I present some theories about its nomenclature, origin, corpus and role. Finally, I will explain why the Italian context is particularly interesting for the study of New World myths. Bridging the Old World and the New New World myths began to appear as Europeans drew on Old World myths to explain and describe the marvels they encountered in the Americas.

Prester John was first identified by Columbus with a powerful cacique dressed in a white tunic, and later associated with El Dorado Orvieto, The Brazilian cannibals were described in terms inspired by the biblical populations of Gog and Magog imprisoned by Alexander the Great for their barbaric behaviour that included cannibalism Magasich-Airola and De Beer, The Patagonian succarath, with a human-like head, the body of a dog and a feather-like tail, was considered a new species of manticore; and even the alien animals of the New World were transformed into mythological creatures: opossums were called chimaeras, the sea cows confused with mermaids and the armadillos identified with dragons, to name but a few Van Duzer, The women warriors met by Francisco de Orellana in Brazil were believed to be the Amazons described by Herodotus and Strabo, the tall indigenous people of Patagonia were considered giants by Antonio Pigafetta, and the Eskimo people were possibly confused with the pygmies fighting against the cranes.

The Indians were identified with the mythical Brahmans, and with the ten lost tribes of Israel deported during the domination of the Assyrian Empire; while the indigenous women were often compared to nymphs and naiads.

Theodore Cachey noticed how Peter Martyr in his Decades de orbe novo , , compared the capture of an indigenous woman with the kidnapping of Io, Medea and Helen, giving birth to a new clash between East and West Mythical places such as Hy-Brasil, Bimini Island, Antilia, Thule, California and numerous others were believed to be discovered in the New World, becoming in some cases the toponyms of modern geographical areas. Although strictly derived from the classical and medieval tradition, these myths located in a new environment developed however into new stories that were neither wholly of the New World, nor wholly European.

A new element of wonder was inserted into familiar myths when Europeans integrated the Americas into the framework of European reality. Colonialists, missionaries, historians, poets, artists, musicians shaped the New World myths to create political, propagandistic, social and cultural discourses. As claimed by Stephen Greenblatt, if in medieval times the presence of mirabilia distanced people from exotic places as they were perceived as unsafe, in the early modern period people were instead looking for these wonders that were conquered using marvel as a form of possession Monsters or marvels, the hybrid inhabitants of the New World were a locus of encounter between the Old World and the New one.

As such, they provided a unique opportunity to say things both about Old Europe and New America. It is their hybrid nature and the insights they provide into Italian perceptions of home and of abroad that fuels the present thesis. We will return to this soon. The exact origin of this mythology is an ongoing source of conjecture for scholars. In part, these myths were created by the linguistic incomprehension between Europeans and Native Americans. He claims that this is the standard meaning of the concept of myth, instead of the sacral archaic sense considered by historians of religion and sociologists.

Like Columbus, the conquistadores were influenced by their cultural and literary heritage, and were unable to report their experiences in an objective way. Another source of the New World mythology is the early modern inability to distinguish reality from fantasy which Wes Williams describes as a product of the marvellous which creates distorted images of reality and produces confusion and anxiety, and therefore myths and monsters.

The same account could be put more cynically, as well, since the distortion may well have been deliberate and politically motivated. If the eyewitnesses already had a distorted vision of the New World, the armchair cartographers, historians, poets and artists who used secondary sources overstated, intentionally or not, the creation of these myths Marsh, ; Gomez Espelosin, Many such examples of indigenous myths meeting European ones exist.

The 4 The fable of a group of women who, having stolen magical flutes that only men were supposed to play, forced their husband to work for them was famous amongst the Tucano people living in the north western Amazon. See Reichel-Dolmatoff And Native Americans may have changed it too as they communicated their stories to the Europeans. For those myths connected with wealth such as El Dorado, for example, it has been suggested that Native Americans could have overstated the abundance of gold in El Dorado to keep the conquistadores away from their own gold.

This idea has been developed by Harold Osborne , who considered El Dorado a form of protection in part created by the indigenous populations, or even a tool to mock the Europeans. Cataloguing the New World myths has been notoriously hard. Wayland D. Inexplicably, Hand excluded famous New World myths such as the Brazilian Amazons and the Canadian pygmies, but he included myths such as the Temple of the Sun that are in reality part of the Native American culture, and not New World myths.

The anthropologist Neil L. However, men-eating populations existed in Lesser Antilles and South America, and it is problematic to refer to cannibals as myths in the meaning that we have stated above. The aim of this thesis is not to enter into the discussion of how best to catalogue the New World mythology. Instead, it selects three myths which epitomise the ways in which the New World myths bridge the Old World and the New. The New World myths can therefore be intended as the products of an historical process bringing together cultural expectations and hermeneutical repertoire in what can be defined an act of agency.

Europeans projected onto the New World their own aspirations and fears, creating a distorted image of their own reality. In both cases, scholars have shown that having been created by Europeans, the New World mythology does not only give us information about the perception that Europeans had of the New World, but also insights into European society.

As claimed by the father of modern anthropology Claude Levi-Strauss, myths and stories provide an explanation of the reality that created them ; For example, Amazons could be interpreted as an answer to early modern European androcracy, representing the masculine anxiety of dealing with free-standing capable women. As such, the study of these myths is also helpful to investigate the early modern European society. Bringing the New World mythology back home New World myths were transported back to Europe via a range of literary, visual and material vehicles: historiographical accounts, maps, woodcuts, engravings, collectable objects and poems.

One of the original discoveries of this thesis is, in fact, that the epic poets who integrated the New World mythology into their works drew on sources that were not merely literary. It is well known that the historiographical and pseudohistoriographical accounts about the New World describing the mirabilia discovered by explorers and conquistadores during their voyages provided inspiration for epic poetry.

The myth was used by the historian as an empirical tool to prove that Atlantis was not an allegorical fable as suggested by Marsilio Ficino, but that the New World already existed in the classical tradition and was, therefore, legitimately conquerable by Venice Binotti, 90; Pirillo, Some of the epic poems studied here pick up the New World myths for similarly propagandistic reasons.

Less attention is paid to the influence of cartographic and iconographical representations of America on European literature depicting the New World. Yet the earliest mapmakers of the Age of Discovery were amongst the first and the most imaginative purveyors of the newly discovered lands that bridged the New and the Old. Like the chroniclers, their maps and images were often politically inspired and expressed their colonial intentions as much as their vision of the lands then described.

In the first map representing the New World depicted by Juan de la Cosa , classical myths are represented just in Africa and Asia, while in the Americas only St. Christopher, allegory of Columbus, is represented fig. However, in the world map made by the Ottoman geographer Piri Reis in and based on a map drawn by Columbus himself,8 blemmyae, cynocephalis and unicorns are moved to the New World fig.

In numerous maps, engravings and woodcuts depicted in the following years, America is crowded with mythological creatures usually copied from medieval images. Some of the most updated illustrations displaying New World myths are the Vallard Atlas fig. The meanings of these myths in early modern cartography have been considered different from the meanings of the monsters and mythical creatures that populated medieval cartography. As shown by Chet Van Duzer, the presence of mythological creatures on Renaissance maps was a way to encourage the conquest, making these unknown places less threatening.

According to the map historian, while in Medieval cartography sea creatures indicated the danger of the ocean, in Renaissance cartography they communicated the control that the Europeans were able to achieve over those creatures b.

This is made more evident by the fact that almost all the maps containing representations of New World myths are diplomatic charts, not intended for nautical use. Whatever their intended or unintended purposes, maps left an indellible mark on the poets who embraced the New World in their fictions. Also underexamined in previous scholarship is the influence on the New World mythology of the cabinets of curiosities that flourished in all the major European courts 8 See pp.

New World myths appear in these cabinets in the form of the collected objects. However, Jessica Keating and Lia Markey have shown that while the categories used in the inventories were general, the exact origin of the exotic items in the Kunstkammer was significant for the collectors. The same has been proved by Deanna MacDonald working on the cabinet of curiosities created by Margaret of Austria. The scholar indicated how the duchess used the American artefacts preserved in her collection as a geographical indicator of the Hapsburg domain.

As shown by Detlef Heikamp , American objects present in the collections represented and evoked for the most part the Native American mythologies and cultures of the pre-Columbian populations who created them. However, they were also interpreted by the Europeans as confirmation of the existence of behemothic creatures in the New World.

Cosimo I believed he owned the horn of a Canadian unicorn, that was in reality the tusk of an Arctic whale Scalini, ; while Peter Martyr was delighted to keep in his house for a few days the enormous femoral bone believed to belong to a Patagonian giant Gerbi, Whilst these American objects usually alluded to colonial triumphs and the ambitions of the princes and scholars possessing them, they also prove the curiosity for the mythical creatures populating the newly discovered lands.

It is possible that this enterprise of knowledge pushed the collectors to introduce not only authentic Native American booties in their cabinets, but also works of art representing the New World produced by local European artists. These works would have given the Kunstkammer a more complete insight into the world that they aimed to represent, confirming the collectors own world-views.

The same material was sometimes indicative of the origin of the New World myths. One of the best examples of this trend is probably the Seventeenth-Century Brazilian coconut cup preserved in the collection of the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. The Amazon woman is in this case represented on an artefact coming from the same place, Brazil, where the New World myth of the Amazons was located. One of the aims of this thesis is to show how the words, images and objects collected by early modern Europeans made their way into epic poetry in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth- 9 These sculptures are now preserved in the Mineralogical and Lithological Museum in Florence.

The poets studied here used New World myths to inject a new element of wonder into a familiar curiosity, using them as a source of creative inspiration. These myths fired up their imaginations, and allowed them to introduce new characters into their narratives, which combined elements of the fantastic with a strong dose of verisimilitude and relevance.

Previous studies have explored the influence of classical myths on the New World mythology as it appears in European poetry. The sailors and knights of the Columbian poems were usually compared to the heroes of the Trojan Cycle Achilles, Hector, Ulysses , the figure of Columbus considered an allegory of Hercules, and the Native Americans associated to negative characters such as Thyestes, Lycaon and Circe.

My study, by contrast, focuses on the impact of first-hand accounts of the New World on epic poetry and on how the epic poets make use of the New World materials for their own ends. What was the relationship of influence between the various New World materials?

Historiographical accounts, maps, ephemera, collectible objects and literature influenced each other in the invention and use of the New World mythology, though the usual trend is to consider the historiographical accounts as the original sources for all others.

It is true that, in lieu of direct observation, poets referred to the historical travel compendia in order to give verisimilitude to their works, even when describing legendary events and mythological creatures. As such they needed to anchor their descriptions to the most authoritative works available: the written accounts. The similarities between the poems in the use of some myths should not be therefore attributed to plagiarism as suggested by Carlo Steiner 50 , but to the use poets made of the same historical sources.

However, the preponderant role of historical records in the process of invention has been recently reconsidered. Lia Markey ; and Surekha Davies have shown, for example, that early modern mapmakers and artists often turned away from the voyage accounts in their representations of New World myths, in order to produce propagandistic or ethnographical discourses.

In addition, literary scholars have proven that early modern historians borrowed from poetry in order to capture the attention of their readers. One of the clearest examples that indicate the complex crossing of different sources in the invention of the New World mythology is possibly the figure of the hippogriff. It is worth dedicating further attention to this figure to give a better sense of the interaction of or synergy between sources in epic literature.

The hippogriff is a mythical half-griffin half-horse creature poetically described for the first time by Ludovico Ariosto in the Orlando furioso O. Scholars have suggested different interpretations on the origin of this animal, linking it in particular to the winged horse Pegasus, and to the Vulture-dragoons described by Lucian of Samosata in his True Story I, ch.

Edgard Blochet even argued that Ariosto could have been inspired by the figure of the Islamic buraq, the winged creature who carried Muhammad and other prophets to the heavens For what may we lovers not look? Griffins now shall be joined with mares, and, in the age to come, the timid deer shall come with hounds to drink] Eclogue, VIII, , my italics. Griffins and 11 Pegasus is a winged horse, the Vulture-dragoons are men riding large vultures, and the buraq is described as a flying creature having the body of a horse, the face of a woman and the tail of a peacock.

A love that the hippogriff itself contributes to obstruct by kidnapping Ruggiero O. See pp. An Asian hippogriff appears also in the Atlas Miller As such, Ariosto may well have been influenced by a cartographical source in the description of his hybrid creature, and in locating it in the same area where the hippogriff appear on the Genoese planisphere. The cartographic origin of the hippogriff could be as such considered as an alternative to the poetic school of thought introduced by Reinach.

Two hippogriffs located in America appear indeed in the world map drawn by the French cartographer Pierre Desceliers , fig. Since Ariosto was the first to describe a hippogriff in the New World, it is possible that Desceliers could have been influenced by the Orlando furioso. Scholars such as Douglas Biow and Ita Mac Carthy a have noticed in fact that the flight of Ruggiero on the hippogriff retraces the route followed by Columbus to reach the New World.

Unlike the griffins that were often located in the Americas in the travel accounts14, hippogriffs are instead never mentioned. The intertextual substratum of the media containing New World myths is rich and varied, and it is only rarely that one source is privileged over another.

The New World myths in Italy Italy played a particular role in the development of the New World mythology, though this fact is rarely acknowledged as scholars focus on Spain, England and Portugal. Though no Italian fleets left for the New World and Italian rulers held no colonies,15 Italian navigators played major roles in the New World conquest and Italian writers brought news of those conquests back home.

See p. A particular role was played by Florence, Venice, Ferrara, Parma and Rome, which operated a conscious crafting of their own identities through the New World enterprise Crovetto, Italian states did not officially participate in voyages to the New World, but individual Italians wholeheartedly embraced any opportunity to be part of it.

The poets studied in this thesis are prime examples of the desire to be involved and of the tendency to use the New World discoveries to promote their own regions. The figures of the Genoese Columbus and the Florentine Vespucci, for example, are used frequently as a form of patriotism to give the idea that Italian states also had a pivotal role in the construction of America. Spanish and Portuguese poets used New World myths easily as nationalistic tools because of the preponderant role Spain and Portugal played in the process of invention.

Mapping the New World, and sharing its discovery as Italians did, resonated with the humanist project of taking literary possession of the newly discovered lands where no political possession existed Beccaria, ; Cosgrove, ; Cachey, This literary colonisation is epitomised in epic poetry, and the New World myths acquire specific values and meanings therein.

It is these values and meanings that this thesis seeks to explore. For these poems see in particular Arce ; Bellini It celebrates the Portuguese early modern explorations, including the New World. News of the American Amazons spread widely in Italy during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, but poets continued for a long time to locate the warrior women of their poems in Asia and Africa, following the classical and medieval traditions.

Could this lack of engagement with the myth be attributed to the anxiety created by the discovery of a troublesome gynaecocracy? Whatever the case may be, this caution persisted even when the poets finally introduced the American warrior women into their works in the s. Initially, they were careful to adhere to the historical accounts they had to hand and to quote them verbatim. This implies a continue reticence about making the myth their own.

This chapter explores the reasons for the delayed introduction of the American Amazons into Italian epic poetry. The chapter procedes with a discussion of the influence that the iconographical representation of America had on the introduction of American Amazons in epic poetry. The last part of the chapter argues that poets used the myth of the American Amazons to take part in two of the most controversial debates of their time: the querelle des femmes, and the controversy about the nature of Native Americans that began with the Valladolid debate.

Being both women and indigenous people, the American Amazons represented the ideal subject to investigate the role of women and Native Americans, focusing in particular on questions related to identity and nationalism. Introducing the American Amazons The myth of the Amazon has been part of the Western tradition for millennia. They hated the masculine genre, and cauterised their right breast to better hold the bow.

Their idiosyncratic reproductive control, martial prowess, sexual habits and violence has been used by authors and scholars of every century to speak of broader concerns of desire, patriarchal order, identity, gender, domesticity and anxiety. In her study of the different interpretations of the myth of the Amazons throughout the centuries, Batya Weinbaum showed how the myth was both used to empower women, and at other times used by men to disempower them. The Amazons embodied hybridity, ambiguity and, as we will see, possession.

The queendom of the Amazons has been placed in numerous locations, with the particularity of always being located in the furthest parts of the known world at the time. If in the Hellenistic period the most exotic and barbaric places were considered the Euxine Sea Black Sea and Scythia, the extension of the oecumene contributed to its continuous reallocation in new scenarios.

As geographical knowledge increased, it was gradually moved to a more liminal position. For the transposition of the myth in different locations see in particular Samuel ; Salmonson These women have no feminine occupation, but use bows and arrows of cane like those before mentioned, and cover and arm themselves with plates of copper, of which they have a great quantity] Columbus, a: As suggested by Franco Marenco , Columbus possibly needed to make the New World appear more familiar; he achieved this by applying the myth of the Amazons to the Americas.

This could have been interpreted as a reference to the classical Amazonian custom of killing their sons for matriarchal reasons. The meeting of Francisco de Orellana with the Amazons on the banks of the river that bore their name confirmed the existence of these mythical warrior women in the Americas. After the exploration of Orellana even Oviedo, who at the beginning excluded the presence of Amazons in the New World, accepted the transmigration of the myth.

Contrary to their classical ancestors who used to practise mastectomy on their right breast to better hold the bow, the American warriors used in fact to keep both their breasts, causing confusions in their identification. However, in the letter addressed to Pietro Bembo reporting the exploration of the Amazon River ,3 Oviedo appeared convinced of the identification of the Brazilian warrior women with the classical Amazons, and was one of the first historians to attest their existence in South America Asensio, The presence of Amazons in the New World was also supported by the Ptolemaic assumption of every monster having its own avatar in the sea, and in the different areas of the terrestrial globe.

The Amazons, considered one of the Plinian monstrous races for their abominable costumes, were included in this scheme. We finde by the histories, that there are iii. The most ancient sort were in Affrica, among the which were Gorgonists, that had Maduse for their Queene. In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, numerous explorers and conquistadores navigated along the banks of the Amazon River looking for these mythical women.

An allegory for America? Although, as we have seen, the news of the Amazons living in the New World was spread widely in Europe, it was difficult for Italian poets to include this myth in their works. The discovery of the Americas was not able to change this trend immediately.

As suggested by Margaret Tomalin , the cannibals are the ideal spouses of the Amazons in poetry, as they confer an epic trait of exoticism and awe to the warrior women. A possible explanation of this literary rejection of the myth of the American Amazons can be identified in the turmoil created by the existence of a population of warrior women in the New World.

Whilst Hippolyta, Penthesilea, Thalestris and the other classical and medieval Amazons were considered mere imaginary figures ultimately dominated by men, the new Amazons were unknown, and as such it was unclear whether they would be subject to the same male dominance.

As suggested by Giulia Bogliolo Bruna and Alberto Lehmann , they were possibly considered the embodiment of one of the most intimidating fears of the early modern patriarchal society: the gynaecocracy. Basing their description of the New World Amazons on historical repertories without narrative additions, poets were possibly trying epistemologically to schematise them, making them appear more familiar and less threatening.

A more convincing explanation, however, is given by looking at the poetic treatment of the American Amazons myth outside Italy. The use that European poets made of the myth suggests that the neglect could also be connected to the marginal role played by Italy in the political invention of the Americas. English translation in Hale, 6. Little and Emilio J. As such Calafia and the Amazons in Las sergas, who are protagonists of numerous romanzeschi episodes, can be considered American, providing crucial insights into the Spanish views of the New World.

As suggested by Alison Taufer , they were possibly built on the image of the Native Americans ready to subjugate themselves to Spain either politically and religiously. The difference between Spain and Italy in the domestication of the New World Amazons would indicate that Italian difficulty in dealing with the myth was not solely cultural, but political as well. We can see a clear pattern of this dichotomy emerging from the reading of the myth as a form of possession of the territories that the Amazons represented or occupied.

As suggested by Diana De Armas Wilson, the Amazons were part of the carry-on baggage of the would-be conquistador. They were ritually invoked - one might say installed — as a staple impediment that had to be dealt with before any land could be possessed. The identification of the New World with the indigenous women inhabiting it has been highlighted in particular by Carla Perugini , who provided an insight on how Europeans claimed their possession of the Americas through their control over Native American women.

Less studied has been how the Amazons can be considered the feminine plus ultra of such a trope. Given their hybridity, the Amazons can be considered the women par excellence to defeat, as they could be attacked either with the sword, or with the member. Montrose specifically referred to the Amazons and territories described by Sir Walter Raleigh in his account The Discovery of the Large, Rich and Beautiful Empire of Guiana , but the same shift could be already been applied to the Amazons of the classical tradition.

By marrying Hippolyta or in some versions of the story Antiope, Glauce or Melanippe , Theseus takes possession of the Amazonian land in dowry. This is also the case with Hercules; who in his ninth labour takes the girdle of Hippolyta symbolising sovereignty over the land occupied by the Amazons. The story has been connected by numerous scholars to sexual intercourse: to untie the belt of a woman, as Hercules did to Hippolyta, means to physically violate her Tomalin, ; Ruck, ; Monaghan, The possession of the Amazons as an allegory of the colonisation of the territory they represented was applied to Italian medieval and early modern poetry.

As noted by Cecilia Latella , the episode has an allegorical erotic meaning highlighted by the words used to describe the battle. This gave the Greeks the right to take possession of the Amazonian queendom, provoking the reaction of the indignant militant women that will later take revenge guided by Penthesilea. The marginal role played by Italy in the discovery of the Americas could have made the trope unusable for Italians, who figuratively did not have any right to claim possession of the American territories represented by the New World Amazons.

English translation in Hale, Italians were instead forced to maintain their gaze on the East, as they did not have any political right over the New World. This can be considered a possible explanation of why they kept the Asian and African Amazons as protagonists of their works.

One of the most emblematic examples of this trend in the Italian poetic panorama is the episode of the femine omicide in the Orlando furioso XIX and XX. Recent scholarships agree with such identification. As such, they can be considered Amazons in this study. It is possible that the poet is referring here to the location of the Amazons as it was imagined in the early middle ages, when the stories of Charlemagne and his paladins described in the Furioso took place. In the Carolingian world, Amazons were indeed still located in Turkey, where they were located in classical times Justin, Historiarum Philippicarum, II, 4, ; Orosius, Historiae adversus paganos, I, 15, In addition, the prophecy of the discovery of the Americas by Andronica Of.

It is worth asking, then, why he did not locate the Amazons at the edges of his own world. The Estense court where Ariosto produced the Furioso was one of the most up-to-date for news about the New World, collecting a high number of maps and documents depicting and describing the newly found lands. In particular, Ariosto seems to have benefitted from the so-called manuscript of Ferrara, a compendium of travelogues and letters about the Americas compiled by the Venetian Alessandro Zorzi between and II, 10, 1.

The Amazonian city Alessandretta was named after Alessandra, the daughter of the Amazon Orontea who promulgated the law that was in force in the town. As explained by one of the Amazons to Marfisa, Sansonetto, Astolfo and the others Christian knights, the law stated that the warrior who was able to defeat ten men in duel and please ten women in one night would take territorial possession of the town.

For Ariosto, as with his predecessors, sexually possessing the Amazons means acquiring their land; and the hero able to do so would have ruled over the entire queendom. Unsurprisingly, he descends from the lineage of Hercules Of, XX, 36, 4 , the Greek hero who, as we have already seen, obtained the queendom of Hippolyta after seducing the Amazonian queen.

Ferrara did not have a prominent role in these battles, but as shown by Giovanni Ricci 9 and Jo Ann Cavallo 12 the Este state was deeply influenced by the political climate present in the war-torn peninsula. And the Orlando furioso, as largely highlighted by Pia Schwarz Lausten , reflected this climate.

One of the main themes of the Furioso is the war between Saracens and Christians at the age of Charlemagne, that is often compared to the battles against the Turks fought at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century. Ariosto explicitly invited the Este family to take a more active part in these battles, calling for a new Crusade against the Moslems that could reunite together all the Christian countries Of.

The conquest of Alessandretta can be considered as a long desidered for victory of the Estensi over the Ottoman forces, or even as a re-conquest of their original territory, if we consider that the Este dukes believed that they were the descendants of Hector of Troy Of. The strong alliance between the Este family and the Emperor Charles V, dominus mundi, prevented Ariosto from claiming virtual possession of territories formally under Spanish control.

As such, the Este family could figuratively dominate over the territories occupied by the barbaric Turks, but not over the newly discovered lands overseas occupied by the Spaniards. The Christians fought bravely against the Amazons, but were only spared due to Astolfo blowing his magical horn. As such, the episode remained unresolved. When Astolfo plays the horn, the Amazons are so scared that they flee, leaving Alessandretta an empty dispossessed land. In this allegorical quest for domination over the Middle East, there is no space for the New World.

However, as we have seen in the introduction and will confirm in the next chapter, Ariosto is keen to evoke the Americas in his poem, without explicitly mentioning it. The scattering of the Amazons can perhaps be interpreted as an etiological explanation to justify their presence overseas: the end of their queendom in the East, and their diaspora to the New World.

This trend of continuing to locate the Amazons in the East in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries is also present in non-epic works. The difficulty of Italians in taking possession of the New World was translated in poetry with the confinement of the Amazons to the Old world, or with the use of the American Amazons 7 Gonzaga related the myth of the Amazons to the story of Tomyris, the queen of the Massagetae who lived during the Sixth Century.

Depulsos a lacte mares per marmora secum Adducunt propriam ad littus: redeuntque, nec unquam Has sedes, nisi cum terras inuisit aquosum Ver iterum, nitidosque dies, tepidamque reducit Temperiem, durumque gelu, brumamque relitti. Illae habitant certas sublimi in monte cavernas, Queis sese, quoties aliquis petit advena littus, Abdunt, et mox hostem armis solitisque sagittis Depellunt, et multa ineunt certamina semper Victrices, semper captos in tecta trahentes.

Hanc Madaninam vocat illius incola terrae. Hoc vetuit spirans Boreas me accedere littus. When spring returns to these lands and the constellation of Taurus raises in the sky, they are visited by the cannibals, and merrily banquet in the woods, dance clapping their hands, and roam in the woods forgetting to take their usual booty to the shore.

They send the men back to their land overseas, and the men go, only returning when the rainy spring visits again these lands, brings clear sky and good weather, and melts the heavy ice of the winter. They live in some caves at the top of the mountain, here they hide themselves every time that some foreigners enter their land, and they fight the adversary with their usual weapons and arrows; being always victorious and taking their prisoners to their abodes.

The North wind Boreas did not allow me to go ashore]. Should any one attempt to force his way into these caverns by violence or by trickery, they defend themselves with arrows, which they shoot with great precision] English translation in Anghiera, The difficulty of the poet in distancing his poem from the reference text is particularly evident in his use of the same words used by Peter Martyr, a detail that is significant for understanding the didactic purposes of this poem.

Then they call the Cannibal men into their huts. These women wield the power of their state in common, making peace and war and preserving other tribes in blessed freedom. In just this way the hardhearted matrons of Lemnos ruled their own shores, after a single night had carried off all their men]. English translation in Llewellyn, Stella does not explain how the Admiral obtained the information about Matitino and its inhabitants, as well as the other islands he gazed upon.

As such, Columbus can be considered a mere spectator who does not really engage with the new reality. The reference to the Lemnian women believed to live on the Aegean islands in the third millennium BC is an explicit reference to the mythological Amazons of the Greek tradition, once again indicating the literary difficulties in developing the new myth. The American Amazons are described from an ethnographical point of view, without any poetical insight.

They are not involved in romanzeschi episodes that would have fitted well into the epic genre. They do not have an identity, as they are considered just for their ability to create anthropological curiosity in the reader. In this work the New World warrior-women acquire a certain poetic depth, are provided with the power of speech, and involved in romantic matters. The reason for this evolution in the treatment of the Amazons in epic poems can be connected, as we will see, with the late Sixteenth-Century proliferation of allegorical representations of America.

A short overview of this trend will help us to track the transformation of the New World Amazons from body doubles to protagonists. By the s, America is represented in iconography as a provocative naked woman with full breasts, indicating the fertility and abundance of the New World Le Corbeiller, ; Honour, ; Antei, ; Arizzoli, Jonathan Hart 99 , Remedios Mataix c: , and Alejandra Flores de la Flor a: noted that in these representations America often acquired the typical characteristic of the New World Amazons.

Like the savage warrior women, America wears a feathered headdress, is armed with bow and arrows, and accompanied by exotic animals such as parrots, armadillos and crocodiles fig. To these details, we can add that she is often depicted either carrying or stepping upon a severed head. Scholars have usually considered it a symbol of her cannibalism, as cannibals are a constant presence in the construction of the American imaginary Shirley, ; Palencia-Roth, However, the dismembered body parts that usually represent cannibalism are arms and legs.

What, then, does the severed head stand for? Could it be interpreted as a token of the misandry of the Amazons, and by extension the danger to men of the America that they represent fig. Therefore, in iconography as in poetry, America and the Amazons are associated, and the Amazons are once again used as an allegory for their land. The use that artists made of these figures can help us to trace the introduction of New World Amazons in the epic poems.

Stradanus, influential artist at the Medici court, made use of this image of Vespucci being sexually involved with America to underline the role of Florence in the invention of the New World Markey, , ; Baroni, In the same way, Columbus is used as an emblem to indicate how America was subjugated by Italy.

One of the most emblematic representations of this trend is the fresco on the ceiling of the Sala Maggiore in Palazzo Lodron , Trento, Italy, fig. Columbus is depicted sitting on a cart dragged by sea monsters, whilst putting his foot on the shoulder of naked America. In doing so, he shows both his physical and territorial domination of her Boschi, Possibly influenced by this trend, at the end of the Sixteenth Century Italian epic poets also employed the myth of the Amazons as a tool to indicate Italian legitimacy and authority over the newly found lands.

American Amazons were no longer ignored because of Italian embarrassment at being left out of the New World expansion, but rather used to claim the role of Italy in the invention of the New World. In the Columbian poems produced in the last years of the Sixteenth Century and the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, America is represented by the queen of the Amazons, usually described as a dignified warrior dominating a land rich in gold and wealth.

The nationalism of the poets is evident from the relationship established in the poems by the Italian explorers with the queen. This marriage is above all allegorical. Such a reading of the episode would confirm the pro-Spanish attitude of Giorgini, that has been attested to by numerous scholars working on the Mondo nuovo such as Marisa Perrotta , Albert N.

Mancini and Sandro Baldoncini However, a close textual analysis of the episode allows us to reconsider the political position of the poet regarding colonialism. Giorgini suggests that the wedding, tantamount to the submission of America to the Spanish Empire, would have never taken place without the preponderant role played by the Italian Columbus.

However, the construction of plot in the episode of the Amazons reveals how the poet highlighted not only the role of Spain, but also of Italy in the conquest of America, restoring the value of his own country. As I have shown in my article Ippolita rinascimentale , the queen of the Amazons was in fact a portrayal of the Spanish Infanta, who was also considered a formal Italian duchess after her wedding with Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy celebrated in However, the wedding between Silvarte and Polinesta, or to say between Italy and America, does not have a happy ending.

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Tres libido rarezas torrent The New World myths can be interpreted as ekphrasis in the poems, and as such their visual and material consistency can modify or strengthen their political and cultural meaning. The fourth and final chapter of the thesis deals with the Canadian pygmies. In addition, the governmental structure of Pimpa reveals a similarity with the Venetian republic. The same can be said about the Amazons described by early modern Italian poets, as the myth of the Amazons gave them the tres libido rarezas torrent to take part in two of the most popular debates of their time: the querelle des femmes, and the discussion about the humanity of Amerindians. For those myths connected with wealth such as El Dorado, for example, it has been suggested that Native Americans could have overstated the abundance of gold in El Dorado to keep the conquistadores away from their own gold.
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Andrea restrepo torrents SupertonesThe Adventures of the O. The pygmies section can be considered a case study, as the same analysis could also be applied to the other New World myths. Scholars such as Douglas Biow and Ita Mac Carthy a have noticed in fact that the flight of Ruggiero on the hippogriff retraces the route followed by Columbus to reach the New World. Historiographical accounts, maps, ephemera, collectible objects and literature influenced each other in source invention and use of the New World mythology, though the usual trend is to consider the historiographical accounts as the original sources for all others. As suggested tres libido rarezas torrent Diana De Armas Wilson, the Amazons were part of the carry-on baggage of the would-be conquistador. The perimeter of our land would take you a year to travel; the river has neither beginning nor end.


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