The Legend of Ottaviano del Lione

UPDATED VERSION: The original version of this post contained numerous inaccuracies, which are hopefully now corrected.

The legend of Ottaviano del Lione, son of Fioravante, is to be found in the following verisons:

Fioravante, Italian prose, c. 1315-1340.

Andrea da Barberino’s I Reali di Francia, Book III. Italian prose. c. 1400



For the Fioravante, see our page on Fiovo.

Gisberto of the Fierce Visage reigns in France. Ottaviano del Lione is tired of sitting around, and leads an army against the infidels. He finds some in Macedonia, vassals of Sultan Danebruno of Turkey. He easily defeats and converts them, much to the annoyance of Danebruno, who arrives to besiege him. Ottaviano sends to Gisberto for aid, but kills Danebruno with Durindana before the aid arrives. He then spends the next two years conquering the Orient, including Jerusalem, where an angel tells him his line will do wonders for Christ. That night he begets on his wife Argulia a boy named Bovetto, who begot Guido d’Antono, who begot Buovo d’Antona, who begot the twins Guido and Sinibaldo, and King Guglielmo of England. Guglielmo begot Bernard of Monchiere, and Duke Busone. Busone begot Girardo dalla Fratta, and Duke Mellone. Mellone begot Don Buoso and Don Chiaro. Girardo da Fratta begot Arnaldo of Berlanda, Rinieri of Gineva [father of Olivier and Alda], Mellone of Puglia, and Girardo of Vienna. This is the House of Monglane.

Bernardo of Monchiere begot Duodo of Nantoil [Doon de Nanteuil], Mellone [father of Orlando], Otto [father of Astolfo], Asmone of Dornona [Aymon], Buovo d’Agrismonte [father of Malagise and Viviano], and Girardo da Rossiglione. Duodo begot Guarnieri di Nantoia, who begot Guido di Nantoia [Guy de Nanteuil]. Girardo da Rossiglione begot Anseigi il Bianco. This is the House of Chiaramonte.

Arnaldo da Berlanda begot Amerigo di Nerbona [Aymeri of Narbonne], who begot eight sons: Gisberta da Mascona (father of Bernardo, Stefanone, Landerino, and Guisbertino), Bernardo di Brusbande (father of Beltramo), Buovo di Cormanzese (father of Girardo and Giulino), Arnaldo di Gironda (father of Alea), Nameiri lo Ciattivo (father of Gualtieri lo Tolosano), Guerino d’Ansidonia (father of Viviano), Guiglielmo d’Oringa, and Ghibellino d’Ardenaghi (father of twenty-eight sons, of whom fourteen died young and fourteen died in the wars of Orange).

Ottaviano besieges Babylon, but cannot take it for eighteen years. He dis, and is buried in Damascus, where he is honored as a saint. Bovetto burns Babylon to the ground and reigns in Damascus.

Gisberto, for his pride, is stricken with leprosy. He leaves his wife and son Michael in the care of the aging Riccieri, and goes to perform penance in the wilderness until he is cured. Upon his cure, he returns to Paris, killing a dragon en route. For proof, he takes one of its teeth, which weighs ten pounds. He then travels overseas to aid Bovetto, and fights there for fifteen years, after which he returns to Paris and dies. His son Agnolo Michele, had no children, so the kingdom passed to his seneschal, who begot Pipino, who begot three bastards: Lanfroi, Orderigi, and Berta, and one legitimate son, Charlemagne. Charlemagne begot King Aluigi the Pious, and Aluizia who married Elia [Elie of Saint-Giles] and bore him Aiolfo [Aiol].

Some MSS have Agnolo Michele begetting Pipino.


For Andrea da Barberino and the Reali di Francia see our page on Fiovo. As usual Andrea expands the Fioravante and adds even more wars.

Gisberto of the Fierce Visage reigns in France, and his brother Ottaviano del Lione in Scondia. Ottaviano hears word that his father-in-law, Sultan Danebruno of Babylon [Cairo] is dead. He and his brother depart to claim his wife’s inheritance. Danebruno, it turns out, is not dead, though he is 150, and he leads his army against the Franks. Ottaviano kills him, and spends the next three years conquering the Orient, while Gisberto returns home. He besieges Babylon, but cannot take it for eighteen years. He goes to Jerusalem, meanwhile, and an angel tells him his line will do wonders for Christ. In this time, his wife Angaria gives birth to a son, named Bovetto. When Bovetto is fifteen and can bear arms, Ottaviano is poisoned by a woman who thought she was giving him a love philtre. After two more years, Bovetto takes Babyon [Cairo], upon which all the hosts of Pagandom unite to drive him out, and he retreats to Jerusalem, where he is besieged.

Gisberto, for his pride, is stricken with leprosy. He leaves his wife and son Michael in the care of the aging Riccieri, and wanders in Spain. Riccieri rescues Bovetto, who returns to Scondia to reign. Gisberto, after seven years in the woods, is cured, just in time to save Queen Sibilla of Articana from the besieging King Carianus of Lusitania [Portugal]. He kills him, she converts and they are wed. King Libanorus leads an army to avenge his beheaded brother. The royal couple flee, but are betrayed at a castle near Saragossa. Luckily, the daughter of the castellan falls in love with Gisberto, and sends a message to Paris. An army arrives, led by the children of many minor characters from Fioravante, and battle is joined outside the castle wherein Gisberto is held. In the heat of the fight, the castellan’s daughter releases Gisberto, who saves the day for the Christians. The castellan chooses execution over conversion, but his daughter Galiziana is baptized Diamia, and is wed to the squire who took the message.

Gisberto returns to his kingdom, and has peace for five years. But then, Alfideo of Milan, son of Durante, is attacked, and calls for aid. The fight is valiant, Bovetto distinguishes himself, but Gisberto is killed by a poisoned arrow. Alfideo, nonetheless, wins the war, and Gisberto’s son Michele is crowned.

Bovetto has a wife, Alibranda, daughter of Gulion of Bavaria. They have a son, Guido. Bovetto decides to conquer the English, who have overrun Britain and driven the Britons to Brittany. He does so, deciding to live in Antona [Southampton]. When Guido is sixteen, King Adramans of Frisia decides it is time to marry off his fifteen year old daughter Feliziana. He holds court, to which many come. She loves none of her suitors, however, but falls in love with Bovetto by report, notwithstanding religious differences. She sends a letter to him, and he comes and wins the tournament being held in Frisia. Her cousin walks in on the two of them kissing, and Bovetto kills him, and flees with Feliziana. Adramans pursues, and lays siege to London, before being defeated after a few months. Adramans disguises himself and wanders England, until he gains admittance before Bovetto, as a beggar, and stabs him to death. Bovetto kills him before he dies, and so Guido becomes king. Feliziana marries one of his noblemen.

Michael not long after dies, leaving the Empire to his son Gostantino Agnolo. He has two sons, Lione and Pipino [Pepin the Short]. Liking Pipino better, he leaves France to him. But at a feast one day, Rinieri of Maganza, who wanted to marry Feliziana, quarrels with Guido, who kills him. This is the origin of the feud between the Maganzans and Guido’s descendants, for Rinieri left two sons, Duodo and Alberigo. Guido lives long in exile, and, though his source does not says so, Andrea thinks this must be the reason he did not marry until his old age. Gostantino Agnolo dies, leaving the Empire to Lione, and France to Pipino. Pipino pardons the now over-sixty Guido, who marries the much younger Brandoria, daughter of King Ottone of Bordeaux.


This is either the invention of Andrea or some other literary source to fill the gap between Floovant and Bevis. It is the dullest section of the Reali.

Let this suffice for Ottaviano del Lione.

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