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Song Of Roland Charlemagne
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Spurred by an angel Charlemagne beats Baligant the Emir of Babylon; miniature in a manuscript of about 1290. The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) is a heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. Roland is in many ways the perfect knight. Strong, courageous, and honorable he is loved by his king, Charlemagne, and worshipped by his men. He has only one enemy, his stepfather, Ganelon. When given the chance Ganelon betrays his king, his country and his people to take revenge on Roland. Roland is ambushed. The French fight a magnificent battle, but they are outnumbered and the tide turns against them. Roland blows his horn so that Charlemagne will know what happened to them. He is struck in the head and dies. Charlemagne grieves deeply at the death of his men, particularly Roland. The Saracens, under Baligant the Emir of Babylon meet Charlemagne's forces in battle. The battle is fought fiercely on both sides but Charlemagnes forces prevail and the Saracens flee. Soon after the battle, the Franks dedeuce Ganelon's treachery and he is brought back to Aix in chains for trial. Found guilty in a trial by combat, Ganelon is subjected to a painful death as a traitor.
March 14th, 2013
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