Song of Roland
The Song of Roland, or La Chanson de Roland, is an anonymously written poem about Count Roland and his King Charlemagne. The story takes place in the eighth century A.D in Spain and France, but the poem was not composed until sometime during the eleventh century A.D. According to tradition, Roland was the nephew of Charlemagne and possessed the sword Durandel and the horn Oliphant. This epic French poem tells a story of betrayal and revenge with poetic imagery. The Song of Roland serves as the foundation of French literature, giving modern readers insight into the cultural life of France. In the Song of Roland, leadership and power were extremely important. A leader was meant to be robust, well-spoken and charismatic. Charlemagne was fond of his family, pleasant to foreigners, lively and athletic. However, Charlemagne’s sole purpose as a ruler was to defend the Christian religion. Christianity played a major role throughout the Middle Ages in society and politics. The Middle Ages, classified from 600 AD to 1350 AD, was significantly affected by Christianity because of the impact it had on the daily lives of people of the time. Charlemagne made sure that all of his people were a part of his religion. Charlemagne forced conversion upon the captured people. He needed all his participants to abide his rules “No pagan was left within the city who has not been slain or made a Christian.” (32) Charlemagne is a Christian and he wanted his people to live the same faithful life that he did. While Charlemagne reigned over the Roman People, originally, the kings of the Germanic tribes of late antiquity had three main jobs: to act as the highest judge, to act as the highest priest, and to act as the supreme military commander. Later on, Kings became Christian and relegated religious authority to the Church. ”Charlemagne has achieved an actual and symbolic victory over paganism. With his conviction of the truth of Christianity, feudal, Christian and poetic...
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