"Of wives and ladies, knights and arms, I sing, / of courtesies and many a daring feat."ludovico Ariosto, one of the greatest of Italian poets, was born at Reggio, In northern Italy, September 8, 1474. He was intended for the law by his father, but at length, being allowed to follow his own inclinations, studied the classics and devoted himself to literature. About 1503 he settled in Ferrara and entered the service of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, who employed him in various political negotiations. During his leisure hours throughout a period of ten years he wrote his masterpiece, "Orlando Furioso" (Orlando Mad), an epic poem in forty-five cantos, celebrating the achievements of the Paladins of Charlemagne in the wars between the Christians and the Moors. It is virtually a continuation of Boiardo's metrical romance, "Orlando Innamorato" (Orlando in Love). Ariosto subsequently joined the court of the cardinal's brother, Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, and in 1512 was appointed governor of Garfagnana, a mountainous district infested with brigands. After a successful administration of three years he returned to Ferrara, where he died June 6, 1533. Besides his main work he wrote comedies, satires, Bonnets, and Latin poems.
The universal anthology: a collection of the best literature ..., Volume 11
By Richard Garnett, Léon Vallée (i.e. Alexandre Léon), Alois Brandl
Ariosto was born in Reggio Emilia, where his father Niccolò Ariosto was commander of the citadel. He was the oldest of 10 children and was seen as the successor to the patriarchal position of his family. From his earliest years, Ludovico was very interested in poetry, but he was obliged by his father to study law.
After five years of law, Ariosto was allowed to read classics under Gregorio da Spoleto. Ariosto's studies of Greek and Latin literature were cut short by Spoleto's move to France to tutor Francesco Sforza. Shortly after this, Ariosto's father died.