The Song of Roland by UnknownOn 15 August 778, Charlemagne’s army was returning from a successful expedition against Saracen Spain when its rearguard was ambushed in a remote Pyrenean pass. Out of this skirmish arose a stirring tale of war, which was recorded in the oldest extant epic poem in French. The Song of Roland, written by an unknown poet, tells of Charlemagne’s warrior nephew, Lord of the Breton Marches, who valiantly leads his men into battle against the Saracens, but dies in the massacre, defiant to the end. In majestic verses, the battle becomes a symbolic struggle between Christianity and Islam, while Roland’s last stand is the ultimate expression of honour and feudal values of twelfth-century France.
THE SONG OF ROLAND by Anonymous - FULL AudioBook - GreatestAudioBooks
The Song of Roland
HOWEVER, copyright law varies in other countries, and the work may still be under copyright in the country from which you are accessing this website. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work. It exists in various different manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries. The oldest of these versions is the one in the Oxford manuscript, which contains a text of some 4, lines the number varies slightly in different modern editions and is usually dated to the middle of the twelfth century between and The epic poem is the first and most outstanding example of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries and celebrated the legendary deeds of a hero.
Charlemagne's army is fighting the Muslims in Spain. The last city standing is Saragossa, held by the Muslim king Marsilla. Terrified of the might of Charlemagne's army of Franks, Marsilla sends out messengers to Charlemagne, promising treasure and Marsilla's conversion to Christianity if the Franks will go back to France. Charlemagne and his men are tired of fighting and decide to accept this peace offer. They need now to select a messenger to go back to Marsilla's court. The bold warrior Roland nominates his stepfather Ganelon. Ganelon is enraged; he fears that he'll die in the hands of the bloodthirsty pagans and suspects that this is just Roland's intent.
It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature and exists in various manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries. The date of composition is put in the period between and an early version beginning around with additions and alterations made up until about The final text has about 4, lines of poetry. The epic poem is the first  and, along with The Poem of the Cid , one of the most outstanding examples of the chanson de geste , a literary form that flourished between the 11th and 15th centuries and celebrated legendary deeds. Although set in the Carolingian era , The Song of Roland was written much later. Some scholars estimate that the poem was written, possibly by a poet named Turold Turoldus in the manuscript itself , between approximately and , and most of the alterations were performed by about Some favor an earlier dating, because it allows one to say that the poem was inspired by the Castilian campaigns of the s, and that the poem went on to be a major influence in the First Crusade.
Song of Roland
It exists in various different manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries. The oldest of these versions is the one in the Oxford manuscript, which contains a text of some 4, lines the number varies slightly in different modern editions and is usually dated to the middle of the twelfth century between and The epic poem is the first and most outstanding example of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries and celebrated the legendary deeds of a hero. The story told in the poem is based on a historical incident, the Battle of Roncevaux Pass on August 15, , in which the rearguard of Charlemagne's retreating Franks, escorting a rich collection of booty gathered during a failed campaign in Spain, was attacked by Basques. In this engagement, recorded by historian and biographer Einhard Eginhard in his Life of Charlemagne written around , the trapped soldiers were slaughtered to a man; among them was "Hruodland, Prefect of the Marches of Brittany" Hruodlandus Brittannici limitis praefectus. The first indication that popular legends were developing about this incident comes in a historical chronicle compiled about , which mentions that the names of the Frankish leaders caught in the ambush, including Roland, were "common knowledge" vulgata sunt. A second indication, potentially much closer to the date of the first written version of the epic, is that according to somewhat later historical sources during William the Conqueror's invasion of England in a "song about Roland" was sung to the Norman troops before they joined battle at Hastings:.
It was possibly first composed some time in the 10th or 11th century, though the earliest extant version of the chanson, was found in the 12th century, in a manuscript designated as "Digby 23", now kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. There are later versions that can be found in other manuscripts, but none of them are as complete as the Digby version. The author of the chanson de Roland was possibly Turoldus, whose name was include at the very end of the epic. Whether he was the original composer of the epic or that he was the compiler of Digby manuscript, or a fictional author, is uncertain. The author of the chanson, clearly set out to immortalise the hero Roland and the so-called Twelve Peers , in similar fashion that later medieval poets immortalise King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Charlemagne or Charles I was besieging Cordoba, when King Marsile of Spain called upon a meeting at his palace in Saragossa, to discuss what they should do about Charlemagne. Charlemagne's army had conquered much of Marsile's kingdom for the last seven years, and Marsile was at loss of how he can prevent himself from losing his crown and the final stronghold to the Franks.