Christendom and The Song of Roland Essay

Christendom and The Song of Roland Essay

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The Song of Roland is the oldest epic poem in French, written by an anonymous poet, composed in between late eleven century to twelfth century. This epic poetry holds an important place in the history of France and invention of Christendom. The Song of Roland is a cultural artifact that takes us to the journey of Medieval Europe, when religion becomes an important element for the formation of proto-Europe. Religion plays a crucial role in The Song of Roland and becomes the reason of criticism. Some readers might take this poem as a religious text, whereas, for some reader it is a fictional literary work and contain ideological perspective. The Song of Roland cannot be consider as a religious text, however, the poet uses religion for formation of national identity, military propaganda and for promoting feudalism in proto-Europe. Cultural artifacts such as The Song of Roland and medieval architecture help to create “Christendom”.
The Song of Roland is a historical text that also involves fiction. It recalls the event of Battle of Roncesvals that take place in 778 century among Christian Franks and Muslim Saracens. The non-fictional outline of The Song of Roland can be found in Einhard’s Vita Karoli Magni “Biography of Charlemagne” written in 817-30 and from Damaso Alonso’s Nota Emilianense. Both historical accounts give little detail of the battle in which Charlemagne’s (Holy Roman Emperor) army face a minor setback while returning back to France and in this event some important warriors were killed, among them was Roland, the most courageous. “At this point”, Robert Harrison state in introduction to The Song of Roland, “history leaves off and speculation begins”. (Harrison 11). The revenge of Roland’s death taken by Charlemagne, ...

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... not only misrepresent Christianity but also Islam. The Christianity was transformed and then uses to legitimate secular purposes of medieval Europe, which then becomes “Christendom”.

Works Cited

Davies, Norman, 1939-. Europe :A History. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Fredrickson, George M., 1934-. Racism :A Short History. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2002. Print.

Hobson, John M. The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation. Eds. Cambridge University Press E-books (CRKN) - York University and Inc ebrary. Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces /. Ed. Maynard Mack 1909-. 5th continental ed. -- ed. New York : Norton, 1987. Print.

The Song of Roland. Ed. Robert L. 1932- Harrison. New York : New American Library, 1970. Print.

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