Beltramo and Beatrice


Beltramo seems to be the old Italian form of the Ancient Germanic name Bertram, which means “bright raven.” Beltramo di Rossiglione appears in the ninth story of the third day of The Decameron, where he’s very unwillingly married to Giletta of Narbonne. Giletta and Beltramo grew up together, but Beltramo has never returned the passionate love she’s felt from a very young age.

Giletta, who was trained by her doctor father, heals the King of France of a fistula, and in reward requests Beltramo as her husband. The King grants her request, and Beltramo is so upset over this forced marriage, he leaves for Florence immediately. He says he’ll only accept Giletta as his wife if she holds his son in her arms and wears his ring, conditions which are seemingly impossible when they’re physically separated. Not easily deterred, Giletta goes to Florence and impersonates a woman Beltramo is in love with, and in this way gets the ring and becomes pregnant with twin boys.

Beltramo finally accepts her as his wife when he realizes how much she loves him and what an effort she went through for him.

Beatrice is the Italian form of Beatrix, which in turn may derive from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Latin name Viator, which means “voyager.” She appears in the seventh story of the seventh day, the wife of Egano de’ Galluzzi of Bologna. A man named Lodovico falls hopelessly in love with her, so much so he moves to Bologna and adopts the name Anichino.

While Anichino is right beside Beatrice and Egano’s bed, on the night Beatrice promised to give him his desire, Beatrice starts telling Egano all about the inappropriate passion Anichino feels for her. As she’s talking, she’s got Anichino’s hand in a death grip, so he can’t escape. She tells Egano to see what a loyal servant Anichino is by putting on her clothes and going into the garden, where she supposedly told Anichino they’d have a rendezvous.

After Egano has left, Anichino and Beatrice take their pleasure of one another, and then Anichino goes into the garden to give Egano a good beating, berating him for trying to test his loyalty in this way. Egano returns to Beatrice soundly licked, under the firm delusion that he’s got the most loyal wife ever. Beatrice and Anichino continue to enjoy one another, Egano none the wiser.


6 thoughts on “Beltramo and Beatrice

  1. Interesting theme. I am intrigued by the meanings behind the names. My grandmother’s name is Beatrice, and it always seemed an unusual name to me. This is also the first I’ve heard of the Decameron. Sounds like something I would like to read.

  2. Pingback: A to Z Reflections | Onomastics Outside the Box

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