Turold English translation of La Chanson de Roland The Song of Roland is an Old French epic poem that is thought to be the first (about 1100) chanson de geste and is regarded as the genre's greatest. Turold, a Norman poet whose name appears in the poem's final line, was most likely the poem's author. The work tells the story of the eponymous Charlemagne's knight Roland who was killed in battle against the Saracens. His death song became a popular theme with poets across Europe.
Roland was born in 742 into a wealthy family in Périgord, France. He was married to Gertrude and had three children with her. In 778, he joined the army of Charlemagne and fought many battles against the Muslims during the latter part of the war for the Frankish Empire. In 794, at the age of 36, Roland was killed during the siege of Roncevaux Castle. He has been praised for his valor by later authors including Dante Alighieri and William Shakespeare.
In its original form, the poem is estimated to have contained about 3,000 lines of verse. Today, only one version of the poem survives in an early 13th-century manuscript. This version contains about 400 lines that were probably not included in earlier versions of the work.
It is unknown where or when the poem was written but it has been suggested that it was probably written after 790 when Roland died.
The Song of Roland is a well-known medieval epic in French literature. It was written to commemorate Roland's victory against the Basques in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. The epic grew in popularity and was eventually romanticized as a war between Christians and Muslims during the Crusades. Modern historians view the story as largely fictional.
Roland is a legendary knight who appears in many other stories and poems throughout France and Europe. The Song of Roland is one of the most famous examples of a chanson de geste (epic poem describing a hero's adventures or wars). Such poems were popular among European poets seeking to entertain their audiences with heroic tales. The Song of Roland was originally written in Old French but has been translated into several languages including German, Latin, and English.
In addition to being a battle song, the Song of Roland is also considered by some to be a religious text since it includes references to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The poem also praises God for victories over the Muslims and contains several allusions to the Book of Psalms. These references make it possible to date the poem to between 1095 and 1150 AD.
Roland was a powerful lord in the region of Normandy who played an important role in the invasion of England by William the Conqueror. In the final battle of his life, he is said to have killed nine kings before he died.
Michael Newth's new verse translation of the Chanson de Roland—the first in English in over fifty years to maintain the entire poetic language of the medieval composition—captures the shape, feel, and flow of the original work in performance by returning the genre's "verbal melody" to Roland. It is based on Newth's recent edition of an early 13th-century version of the poem.
Newth was born in 1945 in London, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has been translating the Song of Roland from the French since 1971, when he began it as a DPhil at Oxford University. He has also written biographies of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and several other books. He has been General Editor of the project since 1992.
The Song of Roland is one of the most important medieval poems for understanding how medieval people thought and lived. It is a long narrative poem that recounts the life of the legendary Charlemagne's vassal Roland. The poem exists in many versions, some extending to hundreds of lines, but the basic story is similar across all these versions. It is therefore possible to say with some confidence that the translation presented here is close to the version known to most readers of medieval literature today.
The earliest surviving complete version of the Song of Roland is a French text dating from about 1230.
The Song of Roland is the first and best-known of a series of heroic epics written in medieval France. Its central theme is simple: evil will never triumph over good in the universe of TSoR. The lack of ambiguity in TSoR distinguishes it from, say, The Iliad, where the horrors of battle are depicted plainly. Instead, TSoR focuses on the eternal conflict between Christian virtue and pagan vice, with the former always prevailing.
In addition to being a work of fiction, TSoR is also valuable as an illustration of how certain ideas were viewed by society members at that time. For example, they believed that evil rulers would be defeated by good rulers in another life. Also, it shows that even though Christianity was growing in popularity, it still had some way to go before it became the dominant religion in Europe.
Finally, TSoR is interesting because it is one of the few examples we have from this early period in European history of male characters who are not warriors being given major roles within their story. The main characters are two bishops who fight alongside seven other men against eight thousand enemies. Although they are not involved in any actual combat, all of them are highly motivated and many sacrifices are made for either side during the course of the story.
It can be inferred from TSoR that women were not given a significant role in medieval French society. Only three female characters are mentioned by name and none of them is given a positive attribute.