The episode of Armida in Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (1554-1595), is founded on a popular tradition related by Pierre De Lancre. This skillful enchantress was the daughter of Arbilan, king of Damascus. She was brought up by an uncle, a great magician, who taught his niece to become a powerful sorceress. Nature had so well endowed her that she far surpassed the most beautiful women of the East. Her uncle sent her as a worthy foe against the powerful Christian army that Pope Urban XI had collected under the leadership of Godfrey de Bouillon. And there, De Lancre says, she so charmed the principal leaders of the crusaders with her beautiful eyes that she almost ruined the hopes of the Christians. She kept the valiant knight Renaud for a long time in an enchanted castle, and it was with great difficulty that he was disenchanted.
Tasso, Torquato. Jerusalem Delivered. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970.