Song of Roland, The

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The poem’s vivid set pieces–the treason of Ganelon, the last stand of Roland at Roncesvals, Charlemagne’s campaign of vengeance, and the final act of retribution–are justly famous.

Pages: 208

Pages: 208

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On 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 paganism, while Roland’s last stand is the ultimate expression of honour and feudal values of twelfth-century France.

  • Lucerna Academy families: Use this book for 2 weeks in Year 2 Rhetoric Literature, and 2 weeks in Year 2 Honors Rhetoric Literature.
  • Tapestry of Grace families: We have chosen this version, translated by Dorothy L.Sayers, because of the ease of reading, as well as the helpful introductory notes. Read for 2 weeks.
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