Astolfo: One of Charlemagne’s paladins in the Matter of France is a fictional character named Astolfo, also known as Astolfo, Estous, or Souls. He is a cousin of Orlando and Rinaldo, a descendant of Charles Martel, and the son of King Otto of England (perhaps alluding to Offa of Mercia, a contemporary of Charles).
Astolfo’s name first appears in an anonymous form in the early fourteenth-century Franco-Venetian epic poem La Prise de Pampelune, but his first significant literary appearance is in the Old French chanson de geste The Four Sons of Aymon.
He became a pivotal (often comic) character in Italian Renaissance love epics like Morgante by Luigi Pulci, Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo, and Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto.
Orlando Furioso’s astolfo
Duke Astolfo has initially stuck in the guise of a myrtle tree thanks to the evil witch Alcina’s powers. Astolfo protests Ruggiero’s plan to bind his hippogriff to the unfortunate guy, mourning his fate.
Despite their lengthy conversation, Ruggiero ignores the duke’s warning to avoid Alcina, and he is soon charmed as well. Melissa, the friendly sorceress, saves both of them and restores them to normalcy.
Astolfo possesses a variety of magical items that he uses in his escapades. With the slightest touch, his magic lance may knock his opponents off their horses, and his magic book includes spells capable of breaking any enchantment.
He also rides a horse named Rabicano and wields a magical horn whose blow is so loud that all opponents flee in fright. This mythical horse is built of hurricane and flame, feeds on air, treads so lightly in the sand that it leaves no imprints, and can run quicker than an arrow at full speed.
Astolfo captures the huge Caligorante with his magical horn and parades him from town to town, forcing him to serve as his beast of burden. He also fights Orillo, a robber who could not be killed because he was cursed with the ability to regenerate from any wounds.
Even limbs that had been amputated would reattach. Astolfo lends Bradamante his golden lance and Rabicano for a brief time while searching for Orlando’s lost wits on the hippogriff.
Astolfo flies to Ethiopia and meets Senapo (Prester John), the country’s emperor. Snap is blind and afflicted by harpies who attack him anytime he tries to eat a meal, spilling the glasses and polluting the food, in a condition similar to that of Phineus from Greek mythology.
Astolfo blows his horn, chasing the harpies through Hell’s gates and sealing them inside. He soars the hippogriff to the top of Terrestrial Paradise’s mountain, where he encounters Saint John the Apostle, who explains how he can bring Orlando back to his senses.
He travels to the moon in Elijah’s blazing chariot, where all things lost on Earth end up, and finds Orlando’s wits in a bottle. He returns to Earth and enlists Senapo’s help in defending Paris against Saracens.