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Song Of Roland Summary

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Song of Roland, written by Turold takes into account the battle of Roncesvalles. Below we have provided a brief plot overview for this piece. This text is about the struggle between the religions

The Detailed Summary of Song of Roland

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Charlemagne is a Christian king who has caused a war in Spain against Saracens. Only one Stronghold has remained, Saragossa, which is under King Marsile and his Queen named Bramimonde. The King, Marsile plans to remove Charlemagne from Spain. He decides to promise to become the Christian King’s Vassal and convert to Christianity in exchange for the departure Charlemagne. After Charlemagne went back to France, he would go back on his promise. Charlemagne receives the messengers for negotiation and decides to choose a suitable envoy to negotiate.

Roland, Charlemagne’s right hand, nominates Ganelon, who was his stepfather. Ganelon, who is jealous of Roland’s position thinks that Roland is trying to eliminate him by nominating him. Ganelon plots an ambush on Charlemagne’s guard with pagans, knowing that Roland would be leading them. With this, he promises that Charlemagne would lose the fight due to Roland’s death.

Ganelon returns after being assured of Marsile’s word. Roland leads the red-guard among other great Vassals. Oliver, Roland’s friend, is among them. While leading around twenty thousand troops of Christians, they are ambushed at the Rencesvals pass. Roland blows the Oliphant horn, knowing that they were defeated with the hope that Charlemagne would avenge them. He dies in the war.

Charlemagne gets there too late and is grief-stricken by the view of how his people had been massacred. He goes after the pagans, with the help of a miracle that made the sun hold its place such that the enemies would not be covered by night. The Saracens are pushed to river Ebro where the lucky enough to survive the massacre of chopping are then drowned.

Marsile escaped and went back to Saragossa. The Saracens remaining are distraught by the losses they suffered. Baligant, a powerful Babylon Emir, arrives to help him. Baligant gets to Rencesvals. The Franks were still mourning their dead. This results in a great battle that ends with Charlemagne and Baligant clash. Charlemagne kills Baligant which leads to the Saracens retreating. They then proceed to Saragossa and claim the city by destroying every other religious item that was not Christians and converting each of the city’s residents except the queen Bramimonde.

She is taken as a captive to Aix, the Franks capital.

Ganelon is tried for treason. He is almost saved by Pinabel, his Kinsman who almost convinced the jury of his innocence according to law. Thierry, a knight, steps forward and claims that what Ganelon committed treason since the latter exacted revenge on one of Charlemagne’s servants. The matter is decided in a fight. Thierry is the weaker man, but he wins through the intervention of God. Ganelon is drawn and quartered.

Bramimonde is baptized after deciding to convert.

During the night, Angel Gabriel visits Charlemagne in the form of a dream, then reveals that he has to prepare for a new war with pagans. Charlemagne weeps as he was tired, but he is obedient, and so he prepares for the next battle.

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