For over two hundred years, the island of Rhodes was ruled by the Knights of St. John who had taken it over from the Genoese after they lost Jerusalem to the Saladin in the First Crusade. The knights built a castle, palaces, imposing walls. Everything on the island became enveloped in the stark stone monuments they erected, next to which even the largest tree appeared small. Because of the magnitude of their fortress and homes, even after the Ottomans forced them out and filled the city with minarets, balconies, markets and sounds, the Knights’ presence continued to permeate the atmosphere in Rhodes.
Everyone in Rhodes, of any religion and origin, thought about the Knights at some point or another. But who were the Knights? What did they represent? Their culture and mental universe left a trail of stories and poems and ballads, romansas and kantigas. They had no land and invented a universe filled with wars and love. What love did they know? And what war? What did they want to conquer and why? Where they men and women and did they have flying dragons?
Who was the cavaliere? Why was he a “wandering” one? What had he lost? Why did he end up in Jerusalem?
The story of the Cavaliere was often sung by troubadours, musicians and poets who moved between places, between languages as well as between different worlds of verses and rhythms. People of all walks of life around the Mediterranean basin from North to South, East to West, shared these stories of the wandering Cavaliere and the wandering story-teller and poet.
Poet, writer and scholar Luigi Ballerini will take us along on a journey following the Knights and the traditions of chivalric literature. Joins us on November 7th at 6 pm at Los Corassones Avlan —148 West 4th Street!