[Milton-L] Sacred symbols in late Renaissance poetry

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Sun Jun 9 02:29:20 EDT 2013

Dear Salwa

heartfelt thanks!
Well, the lion is among Tasso's favorite animals too (the one he
mentions more often in his similes, together with the wolf, the bear,
the bull, the deer - and the snake, that he often calls "dragon" on
the basis of Greek and Latin). But not _so_ important so as to be the
main symbol of Christ.

As to non-animal symbols, surely the sun plays a major role. A
key-combat in "Gerusalemme Conquistata," because of the respective
flags/emblems used by Christians and Muslims, is described as a fight
of the Sun vs the Moon.
Anyway, the image of light and darkness is everywhere in Tasso's poem,
that is a forerunner of the atmospheres of the whole Baroque art;
quite different from Ariosto's _early_ Renaissance atmospheres, let
alone Dante.

In "Gerusalemme Conquistata," gold - often associated to silk - is a
material belonging to kings and noble, powerful characters, but _both_
Christian and Muslim ones. But it would take too much room to deal
with the complex and fascinating topic of the relation between the two
civilizations in GC, that's far from being a trivial "clash."


>If you mean an animal that is opposite to the Serpent
in Milton's garden of Eden, it would depend on whether the act of the
fall has occurred or not, then all animals share with the serprent's
degeneration as a result. But in Renaissance literature, I think the
lion represents the virtues of a good leader or the king. In medieval
tradition, the sun, Christ, and the lion were linked as a triad.The
astrological sign of the sun was Leo (lion). Gold is the metal of the
sun and is linked to the color of the lion and his symbol as king. All
these could be seen as opposed to the Serpent, symbol of Original Sin.

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