Chanson de Roland
Old French epic poem written c. 1100, the masterpiece and probably the earliest of the chanson de geste form. Its probable author was a Norman, Turold (Turoldus), whose name is introduced in its last line. It deals with the Battle of Roncesvalles (778), a skirmish against the Basques that the poem portrays as a heroic battle against the Saracens. Direct and sober in style, it highlights a clash between the recklessly courageous Roland and his prudent friend Oliver, which is also a conflict between divergent conceptions of feudal loyalty.
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