Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Orlando

Orlando is the Italian form of Roland. The name Roland has old German origins, from the Germanic elements “hrōd” meaning ‘fame’ and “land” meaning ‘land’. Roland has been used as a given name since medieval times in Germany and France. The French introduced the name to the English by way of the Norman Invasion in the late 11th century. The Italians were most likely introduced to this name by the French as well where it took the form Orlando. There are quite a few important literary references to the name Roland/Orlando. The most notable being “The Song of Roland” (il canto di Orlando in Italian) an epic poem written in the late 11th century at the dawn of French Literature (it also happens to be the oldest surviving major work of French literature). If you were a Literature Major in college, you most certainly were assigned to read this “song of heroic deeds”. The poem was written to inspire and influence a call to arms during military campaigns, most specifically the First Crusade (the Crusades were a series of religious wars from the 11th to 13th centuries whereby the European Christians attempted to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims). The subject of the poem is a heroic knight named Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, King of the Franks (French) and Holy Roman Emperor during the 8th and early 9th centuries. The epic deals with the Christian campaign against the Saracens (Muslims) in Spain in the late 8th century. Based on true events (but with typical literary liberties), Roland and the rear guard under his command is betrayed by his step-father and sold out to the King of the Saracens. They are ambushed and outnumbered. Fellow soldier and comrade to Roland, Oliver, appeals to his best friend to blow his “olifant” (elephant) horn to summon back the main forces. Roland refuses (why, we’re not told exactly but perhaps meant to demonstrate the hero’s valiancy, bravery and hubris – qualities which were considered important on the battlefield). As the losses become staggering, Roland finally blows the horn so forcefully that he bursts his temples and he presently dies while facing toward his enemy’s land. He is promptly whisked away to heaven by the angels Gabriel and Michael along with assorted cherubim. So goes “The Song of Roland”. (See below for more literary references on Orlando.)

All About the Baby Name – Orlando

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME ORLANDO

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME ORLANDO

Orlando has a long history of usage within the United States and dates back to the late 19th century on the male popularity charts. Never a top favorite, Orlando has managed to maintain impressively moderate success considering this is a non-English form of a name. In fact, Orlando overtook Roland on the charts in the early 1970s and continues to be the most favored form of this name today. It was the 1970s and 80s when Orlando was at his peak popularity. He also got a good little jolt in 2001 when Orlando Bloom came on the Hollywood scene starring in the successful movie trilogy, Lord of the Rings. This charming Italian name has a romantic Shakespearean appeal. It’s ethnic, “Euro-politan” and quite handsome. It’s also nice that Orlando has never achieved a position on the charts higher than #247 (1975) which means it’s neither trendy nor overused. Orlando is manly, literary and from the land of fame. We’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t like this name.

Quick Facts

ON ORLANDO

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Italian

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

562

PRONUNCIATION:

ohr-LAN-doh

SIMPLE MEANING:

Famous Land

Characteristics

OF ORLANDO

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Orlando

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ORLANDO

Melissa lives in Merlin’s cave in Ludovico Ariosto’s Italian Renaissance poem Orlando Furioso. Based on the Arthurian legends and set against a backdrop of Christian/Muslim wars, it is an epic and complex piece involving hundres of characters and scores of subplots. The lovely enchantress, Melissa, is responsible for giving the magic ring to Ruggiero, the ring which enables its wearer to distinguish between magic spells and reality.

Orlando is the protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 fantastical novel, Orlando: A Biography, which was also made into a 1992 movie starring Tilda Swinton in the title role. Orlando is a young man in Elizabethan times who is able to change his sexual identity and who lives over a period of 400 years – no small accomplishments, these! As a young nobleman, Orlando is a dilettante poet who plays about the royal court, but after a disastrous love affair, he begins a long period of wandering and searching for immortality. As s/he matures and experiences life in many times and aspects, Orlando grows into, finally, a grounded and complex woman who realizes the extent to which all beings are interconnected, and how we are all, in turn, an inextricable part of our natural surroundings. Orlando finally becomes a renowned poet and finds true happiness with a sea captain who is as complex and indefinable as is Orlando. We should all be so lucky!

Orlando is the love-smitten protagonist in Matteo Maria Boiardo’s “Orlando Inamorato” first published in 1495. In case you’re wondering “’innamorato” means ‘in love’ in Italian which is exactly Orlando’s problem (in fact, the object of his affection, Angelica, ends up driving him mad but you’ll have to wait for Orlando furioso for that part of the story). In his epic poem, Boiardo breathed new life into ideals of chivalry by borrowing from both Arthurian legend as well as early medieval Frankish (French) traditions (Orlando is the Italian form of Roland, i.e., from “The Song of Roland”). The action centers on the 8th century, at the time of Charlemagne (King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans). Angelica is the beautiful pagan princess, daughter of the King of Cathay (referring to the Far East). She comes to Charlemagne’s court offering herself as a prize to whoever can defeat her brother. Her brother is eventually killed but Angelica wastes no time hightailing it out of court with no intention of giving herself over as promised. Hot on her trail are Charlemagne’s chief warriors, Orlando and Rinaldo (both smitten with her). Enter medieval magical love potion (every legend has to have one of those!). Angelica drinks from the Stream of Love, causing her to fall head-over-heels for Rinaldo. Just to jazz up the story some, Rinaldo drinks from the Fountain of Hate and develops a deep revulsion for Angelica. So while Angelica is chasing Rinaldo, Orlando is chasing Angelica. Enter love potion #2. Angelica and Rinaldo end up drinking from opposite fountains, and then Rinaldo and Orlando duel for her. In the meantime, France is besieged and Charlemagne takes Angelica into custody, offering her to the one who fights most valiantly against the infidels. The poem is never finished. Italy herself was amidst a war, and Boiardo’s final two lines are: “Mentre ch'io canto, Iddio Redentore / vedo l'Italia tutta a fiamma e foco.” (Translation: “While I sing, God the Redeemer / I see all Italy in flame and fire.” If you’re on the edge of your seat, don’t worry – the Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto will pick up where Boiardo left off a couple decades later (see below).

Orlando furioso is an epic poem written by the Italian Ludovico Ariosto (1516); the title translates to “Mad Orlando” (mad meaning crazy-mad in love). It is a continuation of Boiardo’s unfinished work Orlando Immamorato (Orlando in Love). In “furioso”, the action picks up during the war taking place with Charlemagne and his Christian warriors against the Saracens (basically Arab Muslims) attempting to invade Europe. Ariosto’s poem is a lot more fantastical than his predecessors, but the story’s central focus is still on Christian Orlando’s unrequited love for the pagan princess Angelica. This is one of the most “epic” (i.e., long) poems in European literature, so we’ll have to water it down some and get to the good stuff. The poem begins with Angelica escaping from the custody of Charlemagne with Orlando in quick in pursuit (neglecting his duty to Charlemagne). Orlando and Angelica meet, have some adventures of their own, and then Angelica tends to a wounded Arab knight, falls in love and elopes with him back to the Far East. When Orlando learns of this latest development, he is in a frenzy of despair and runs amok throughout Europe and Africa. His good sense is finally restored when a fellow knight finds Orlando’s “sanity” on the moon (yes, a little sci-fi action for you), bottles it up and brings it back to Orlando. Orlando goes onto kill the King of the Saracen Army and redeems his heroic warrior status. Nevertheless, Angelica certainly gave him a run for his money!

Orlando is a central character in William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” written around 1600. In typical Shakespearean fashion, As You Like It has all the elements of a comedy – mistaken identities, cross-dressing, tensions within families, struggles of young lovers, and multiple plots lines. Orlando is a lot like Romeo (from “Romeo and Juliet”). He’s a love-sick young man desperately in love with the beautiful Rosalind. Neglected and harshly treated by his older brother Oliver, Orlando flees to the Forest of Arden. Joining and befriending him in the forest is the usurped Duke Senior (from the same unnamed duchy of France from whence they both came). The Duke’s daughter Rosalind and her cousin Celia also flee to the forest with the court jester, Touchstone, in tow. Rosalind disguises herself as a man (“Ganymede”), while Celia wears the costume of an old lady (“Aliena”). Orlando, unaware that Rosalind also is now dwelling in the forest, sets about tagging trees throughout the forest with his gushing love poetry about Rosalind. Eventually he meets up with Ganymede (i.e., Rosalind) who attempts to cure Orlando of his love-sickness all the while other love triangles play themselves out in the comedy's subplots (Phebe loves Silvius who loves Ganymede. Touchstone loves Audrey and so does William. Oliver, who comes to the forest and is bravely saved by his brother Orlando from a lioness, falls in love with Aliena/Celia). And typical of a Shakespearean comedy, there is a happy ending – Orlando and Rosalind marry. In fact, it is this Shakespearean play that gave us the famous monologue: “All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players”.

Sasha is an important character in Virginia Woolf’s 1928 fantasy-historical novel, Orlando: A Biography. The title character, Orlando, lives over a period of 400 years, never aging beyond thirty-six years and changes from male to female halfway through, switching genders at will. Princess Sasha is the Russian noblewoman with whom the young (male) Orlando has a passionate affair; it is she who awakens in him a deep sexuality and a true appreciation of the nature of the female. Dressing as she does in an Elizabethan version of “unisex” clothing, Sasha’s own gender is unclear at first to Orlando, and hence does not play a conventionally traditional role in her initial attraction for him. Sasha also is his introduction to the concept of despair in his formerly ordered life, when she abruptly leaves him and returns to Russia. It is this that prompts him to begin his search for immortality (which turns out to be love), and it is Sasha who is responsible for his/her growing ability to see beyond the constraints of socially influenced sexual identity.

Angelica is the object of desire for love-smitten Orlando in Matteo Maria Boiardo’s “Orlando Inamorato” first published in 1495. In case you’re wondering "innamorato” means ‘in love’ in Italian which is exactly Orlando’s problem (in fact, Angelica ends up driving him mad but you’ll have to wait for Orlando furioso for that part of the story). In his epic poem, Boiardo breathed new life into ideals of chivalry by borrowing from both Arthurian legend as well as early medieval Frankish (French) traditions (Orlando is the Italian form of Roland, i.e., from “The Song of Roland”). The action centers on the 8th century, at the time of Charlemagne (King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans). Angelica is the beautiful pagan princess, daughter of the King of Cathay (referring to present day India/China). She comes to Charlemagne’s court offering herself as a prize to whoever can defeat her brother. Her brother is eventually killed but Angelica wastes no time hightailing it out of there. Hot on her trail are Charlemagne’s chief warriors, Orlando and Rinaldo (both smitten with her). Enter medieval magical love potion (every legend has to have one of those!). Angelica drinks from the Stream of Love, causing her to fall head-over-heels for Rinaldo. Just to jazz up the story some, Rinaldo drinks from the Fountain of Hate and develops a deep revulsion for Angelica. So while Angelica is chasing Rinaldo, Orlando is chasing Angelica. Enter love potion #2. Angelica and Rinaldo end up drinking from opposite fountains, and then Rinaldo and Orlando duel for her. In the meantime, France is besieged and Charlemagne takes Angelica into custody, offering her to the one who fights most valiantly against the infidels. The poem is never finished. Italy herself was amidst a war, and Boiardo’s final two lines are: “Mentre ch'io canto, Iddio Redentore / vedo l'Italia tutta a fiamma e foco.” (Translation: “While I sing, God the Redeemer / I see all Italy in flame and fire.” If you’re on the edge of your seat, don’t worry – the Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto will pick up where Boiardo left off a couple decades later (see below).

Orlando furioso is an epic poem written by the Italian Ludovico Ariosto (1516) and basically translates to “Mad Orlando” (mad meaning crazy-mad about Angelica). It is a continuation of Boiardo’s unfinished work Orlando Immamorato (Orlando in Love). In “furioso”, the action picks up during the war taking place with Charlemagne and his Christian warriors against the Saracens (basically Arab Muslims) attempting to invade Europe. Ariosto’s poem is a lot more fantastical than his predecessor's, but the story’s central focus is still on Christian Orlando’s unrequited love for the pagan princess Angelica. This is one of the most “epic” (i.e., long) poems in European literature, so we’ll have to water it down some and get to the good stuff. The poem begins with Angelica escaping from the custody of Charlemagne and Orlando is quickly in pursuit (neglecting his duty to Charlemagne). Orlando and Angelica meet, have some adventures of their own, and then Angelica tends to a wounded Arab knight, falls in love and elopes with him back to the Far East. When Orlando learns of this latest development, he is in a frenzy of despair and runs amok throughout Europe and Africa. His good sense is finally restored when a fellow knight finds Orlando’s “sanity” on the moon (yes, a little sci-fi action for you), bottles it up and brings it back to Orlando. Orlando goes on to kill the King of the Saracen Army and redeems his heroic warrior status. Nevertheless, Angelica certainly gave him a run for his money!

Popular Songs

ON ORLANDO

Orlando
a song by Trans Am

Famous People

NAMED ORLANDO

Orlando Bloom (actor)
Orlando Cepeda (baseball player)
Orlando Hudson (baseball player)
Orlando Jordan (wrestler)
Orlando Pace (football player)
Orlando "Tubby" Smith (college basketball coach)
Orlando Zapata (Cuban activist)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ORLANDO

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Orlando

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ORLANDO

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Orlando