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Literature: Baudolino
Baudolino is a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco.

During the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, Baudolino of Alessandria finds historian Niketas Choniates and saves his life. They decide to hide, along with other people, for as long as the sacking of the city continues. To pass the time, Baudolino decides to tell Niketas of his journeys and adventures in the mythical world of 12th century Europe, as a member of the court of Frederick Barbarossa and more. But as a caveat, he warns Niketas that he [Baudolino] has lived his whole life lying through his teeth every chance he had. After that, he starts…

Baudolino provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Well, at least the one that appears prominently.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: This is one of the main themes of the book. Baudolino and his friends go on a quest to find the kingdom of Prester John, even though they have no evidence that it exists; most people think it does because of a fake letter made by Baudolino's group. And if Baudolino made up the whole quest, he still falls victim to this trope at the end, when he rides away alone in search of the mythical land again.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Archpoet. Baudolino, too.
  • Character Title
  • Chekhov's Gun: The skulls.
  • Con Man: Baudolino and everyone on his group try to pass useless junk as sacred relics.
  • Consummate Liar: Baudolino.
  • The Crusades
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The monsters of Deacon John’s land are at the receiving end of this.
  • Death Seeker: In the kingdom of Deacon John, there are a group of warriors who all want to die in battle, because they belive that then they'll go to heaven. The main characters think that this will make them good fighters in an impending war, since they won't be afraid. They are wrong, because they don't even fight, just ask the enemy to kill them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The monsters’ continuing disputes over the interpretations of the Christ’s nature.
  • Door Stopper
  • Dwindling Party: Baudolino went to search for the kingdom of Prester John with 11 other people. By the end of the book, only three remain of his group.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: By the end, you’re not sure how much of what Baudolino tells Niketas is true. Especially since the story turns more outrageous with time.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Archpoet.
  • Eye Scream: Zosimus.
  • Fictionary: The first ten or so pages are written in a made-up language, mixture of Latin, medieval Italian and some others.
  • Framing Device
  • Gnosticism
  • God Is Inept: Hypatia explains to Baudolino that her community believes that the universe wasn't created by the perfect God, but a lower entity, the Demiurge. The reason for all the suffering in the world is that the Demiurge botched the whole thing up.
  • Half-Human Hybrid
  • Heroic BSOD: Baudolino has one after realizing that he and his friends unwittingly killed Frederick.
  • The High Middle Ages
  • Historical-Domain Character: Frederick Barbarossa, Niketas Choniates, Pope Alexander III, Robert de Boron, Otto of Freising and others.
  • Historical In-Joke: This is part of the book’s idea, since Baudolino appears to be responsible for a lot of stuff that happened during Frederick Barbarossa’s ruling.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Baudolino’s pearls of wisdom at the end.
  • In Harmony with Nature: The gymnosophists.
  • Interspecies Romance
  • Jews Love to Argue: Rabbi Solomon does it frequently.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The death of Emperor Frederick.
  • Magical Land: The kingdom of Prester John.
  • The Munchausen: Baudolino.
  • Mundane Afterlife: When Baudolino's father is dying, he says that he's seeing Heaven. When Baudolino asks what it looks like, he responds that it looks just like his stable.
  • No Name Given: The Archpoet, because he’s based on a historical character whose name is unknown.
  • Nonindicative Name: The Archpoet never wrote a single poem in his life. He got his reputation by using the poems Baudolino wrote.
  • Omniglot: Baudolino is able to learn any language after hearing it for a short time.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Not so big, but certainly one-eyed.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Monopods, satyrs, blemmyes, panotii and more. Eco didn't made these monsters up - they're all from medieval folklore.
  • Planet of Steves: A community of female, satyr-like creatures, who consider themselves the followers of Hypatia of Alexandria are all named Hypatia in her honor.
  • The Pope: Alexander III is frequently mentioned.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: What the crusaders do to Constantinople.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: While Baudolino follows Emperor Frederick to wars, he never kills anyone personally until the end when he kills the Archpoet, believing him to be Frederick's murderer.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Holy Grail, between other stuff.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: Baudolino.
  • The Three Wise Men: The Magi are thought to have come from the kingdom of Prester John. In order to get Emperor Frederick's support for an expedition to the kingdom, the Baudolino produces the relics of the Magi, found in a church in Milano, though he and the canon he gets the relics from both acknowledge that they're not the real remains.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Baudolino admits that he's a great liar and decieved many people, so the veracity of his story can be questioned. Nicetas notes to himself that Baudolino says that he lied to everyone, but expects him to believe that now he's telling the truth.
  • The Unseen: The satyrs.
  • Veganopia: During their journey, Baudolino and his friends pass through a village of gymnosophists, who wear no clothes, have no possessions and eat only fruits that grow naturally.
  • Your Mom: When Baudolino sees a bunch of people who work at building a new city (which will become Alessandria) he asks a group what are they doing. One of them says they're building a machine to scratch their cock. Baudolino responds that he needs no such machine, because as a rule, his prick is scratched by their mothers.

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alternative title(s): Baudolino
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