by Julie Helen Otto
ARMIDA (f): One of the main female characters in the epic Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato
Tasso (Italian Renaissance); the story also inspired several operas, such as
those by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1686), J.-W. Glück (1777), and G.A. Rossini (1817):
She was a beautiful sorceress, with whom Rinaldo [one of Charlemagne's paladins,
based on his nephew, the hero Roland] fell in love, and wasted his time in voluptuous
pleasure. Two messengers were sent from the Christian army with a talisman to
disenchant him. After his escape, Armida followed him in distraction, but not being
able to allure him back, set fire to her palace, rushed into the midst of a combat,
and was slain. (Brewer, p. 64).
Armida Potter (1765-1798, daughter of Dr. James and Abigail [Barns] Potter)
m. New Fairfield North (Sherman, Conn.) Congregational Church 23 Nov. 1797
Bennett Pickett (1764-1854), and apparently died bearing an only child,
Armida Pickett (1798-1826) who herself died unmarried. Why Dr. and
Mrs. Potter (several of whose offspring bear imaginative names) named one for
an apparently love-crazed sorceress, we cannot now determine; certainly such a choice
reflects eighteenth-century America's discovery of non-Puritan literature and ideals.
Perhaps Dr. Potter shared his reading material with the neighbors, as the name is more
common than usual in the Sherman/New Milford area. For example, Armida Giddings
(1773-1827, daughter of Jonathan and Mary [Baldwin] Giddings), later wife of David Gaylord,
was one of several siblings bp. New Fairfield North 26 May 1776; other local Armidas were
her niece, Armida Giddings (1815-1818, daughter of Samuel Giddings by his first marriage
to a cousin, Lydia Giddings) and Mrs. Gaylord's sister-in-law Armida (Sanford) Giddings
(1796-post 1881, daughter of Ebenezer and Jerusha [Buck] Sanford), second wife
of Samuel Giddings above.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The story of Armida, a Saracen sorceress and Rinaldo, a soldier in the First Crusade, was created by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso. In his epic Gerusalemme liberata, Rinaldo is a fierce and determined warrior who is also honorable and handsome. Armida has been sent to stop the Christians from completing their mission
and is about to murder the sleeping soldier, but instead she falls in love. She creates an
enchanted garden where she holds him a lovesick prisoner.
Eventually two of his fellow Crusaders find him and hold a shield to his face, so he can see
his image and remember who he is. Rinaldo barely can resist Armida’s pleadings,
but his comrades insist that he return to his Christian duties.
Many painters and composers were inspired by Tasso's tale.
The works that resulted often added or subtracted an element; Tasso himself continued to edit the story for years. In some versions, Armida is converted to Christianity, in others, she rages and destroys her own enchanted garden.
She occupies a place in the literature of abandoned women such as the tragic Dido,
but she is considered by many to be more human, and thus more compelling and sympathetic,
than either of them.