The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Saladin Character Analysis

Saladin appears in Filomena’s first story (I, 3) and Panfilo’s tenth story (X, 9). In the first tale, he evaluates Melchizedek’s wisdom, and in the second, he cunningly disguises himself to gather reconnaissance on the European forces before the Third Crusade, during which time he becomes the guest of Torello and Adalieta. He is based on a historical figure, Salah ad-Din, a respected Muslim leader who lived from 1137–1193 and led the Muslim military forces during the Third Crusade. In medieval Europe, Saladin had a reputation for diplomacy, military prowess, scholarship, and generosity, all traits which he shows in his two appearances in The Decameron.
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Saladin Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Saladin appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 1: Third Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Saladin, the Muslim leader of a great and successful empire, needs some quick cash. He turns... (full context)
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Melchizedek sees that Saladin is trying to bait him into an argument, but he is wise and quick-witted. He... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Likewise, Melchizedek tells Saladin, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all think that they possess the correct laws and observe the... (full context)
Day 10: Ninth Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...turns to his own story, which shows another eminently worthy and generous friendship—the friendship of Saladin and Messer Torello of Strà. Before the Third Crusade begins, Saladin disguises himself as a... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
...his estate, sets tables for a feast in the garden, and is ready to welcome Saladin’s group when the servant brings them to the gates. Saladin realizes that the reason for... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Saladin and his men find Torello to be the “most agreeable, civilized, and affable gentleman” they’ve... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
The next day, Torello invites Saladin to hunt, after which Saladin asks for directions to the comfortable inn in Pavia. Torello,... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
After breakfast, Torello introduces Saladin to his greatest treasures: Adalieta and their two angelically beautiful children. Adalieta gives Saladin fur-lined... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
...to Acre, where the Crusader army falls prey to a plague. Because so many die, Saladin easily surrounds and captures the survivors. Torello, sent to Alexandria as a prisoner, is assigned... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
One day, Saladin notices the way Torello smiles and recognizes his old host. Taking him to the royal... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...into a deep despair on the suspicion that Adalieta must be about to remarry. When Saladin discovers the reason for this distress, he offers to get him home before the wedding. (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
In one night, Saladin’s magician can send Torello, sleeping peacefully in a bed, back to Pavia. Although he understands... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...relinquishes his claim on Adalieta. After celebrating, Torello sends news of his safe return to Saladin, and he lives happily with his lady for many more years. (full context)