Roland  

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"The "Chanson de Roland, " which I have ventured to translate, is the outcome of ruder lays which have perished. It was composed, according to all probability, about the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century. Its hero is Roland, the Christian Achilles."Song of Roland, John O'Hagan translation

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Roland (died 15 August 778) was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. The historical Roland was military governor of the Breton March, responsible for defending Francia's frontier against the Bretons. His only historical attestation is in Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni, which notes he was part of the Frankish rearguard killed in retribution by the Basques in Iberia at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

The story of Roland's death at Roncevaux Pass was embellished in later medieval and Renaissance literature. The first and most famous of these epic treatments was the Old French Chanson de Roland of the 11th century.

Two masterpieces of Italian Renaissance poetry, the Orlando Innamorato and Orlando Furioso (by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Ludovico Ariosto respectively), are even further detached from history than the earlier Chansons, similarly to the later Morgante by Luigi Pulci.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roland" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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