Song of Roland

(better version is part of
Middle Ages Lit power point
► First
epics are heroic; thereafter they take
on characteristics of the romance
 Assimilating loves stories written in the spirit of
courtly love
tradition that idealized women and turned the
conventions of human love almost literally into a
Romances, chansons de geste
(Songs of Deeds). like Roland, are men-atwar
► Earlier
► Written
in Old French circa 1100
 Composed 300 years earlier
 Oral songs accompanied by lyres.
► Song
of Roland is the earliest and best known
example of the Song of Deed romance.
 Unknown until 1832 when the first of several
manuscripts was discovered.
 The best of these is at Oxford University that is a copy
by an Anglo-Norman scribe of an earlier version.
 Many conspiracies and hypotheses about the origin,
poet, and facts of Roland
► We
think this was written at the beginning of the
Crusades. By telling a story of the Great
Charlemagne, the hope is to inspire current
► The values of the poem are simply identified.
 Exclusively deal with war and religion
 Success in battle is vital, not only for personal reasons
but also to prove God is on your side
 Christians are good, Saracens are evil
► although
some are great warriors and honorable
 philosophical subtleties are absent, as are inward
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