Notes to the Sixth Canto, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto VI, Stanzas 1-20 Notes

6. Dragon. Boiardo continues to call it serpent-hide, but dragon is more effective in English.
17. It is not true, as some people still believe, that medieval priests were forbidden to shed blood, but were allowed to fight with clubs, maces, etc. Firstly, a club to the head will make you bleed. Secondly, while warrior priests were not encouraged, they certainly existed, and fought with anything they could lay their hands on. The general opinion of the Church, however, was that while a soldier’s life was an honorable calling, it was forbidden to the clergy, much the same as marriage is.
The idea that there was some superstition about bloodshed as opposed to other forms of killing is one of the many Enlightenment and Victorian lies about the Middle Ages, and was popularized in modern times by Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs where clerics can only equip staves.

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