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The Song of Roland

The Song of Roland

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The Song of Roland

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  1. The Song of Roland

  2. French Literature • Believed to be the beginnings of French literature • Manuscript dates to 1100 AD, original poem is much older • No known author

  3. Medieval Epic • Focus on loyalty and valor (chivalry) • Expressed character of a people • Historically based • Prized adventure over accuracy • Performed long before it was written

  4. Historical Facts with a Twist • King Charlemagne ruled the Franks (768-814) • The Song of Roland is a poem which took a minor event from his rule and embellished

  5. Historical Truth • Dispute between the Moors in Spain • A 36 year old Charlemagne intervened • On the return to France Charlemagne’s nephew and leader of the rear guard, Roland, was attacked • The entire rear guard perished

  6. Poetic License • A 200 year old (yes, 200 year old) King Charlemagne is leading the Franks into battle • The Saraceans (Spanish Muslims) attack the rear guard • The attack is due to a betrayal of Roland by his step-father

  7. Characters • Roland- courageous knight • Veillantif= his horse • Durendal= his sword • Olifant= his battle crier • King Charlemagne- 200 year old King of France • King Marsile- King of Spain • Ganelon- betrayer; step-father of Roland • Oliver & Archbishop Turpin- trusted friends of Roland

  8. Code of Chivalry • Display of nobility, loyalty, protection of women www.middle-ages.org.uk/knights-code-of-chivalry.htm