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Roland
Jun 28, '21
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My Life Roland









Roland (Old Frankish: Hrōþiland; Medieval Latin: Hruodlandus or Rotholandus; Italian: Orlando or Rolando; 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.









History

The only historical mention of the actual Roland is in the Vita Karoli Magni by Charlemagne's courtier and biographer Einhard. Einhard refers to him as Hruodlandus Brittannici limitis praefectus ("Roland, prefect of the borders of Brittany"), indicating that he presided over the Breton March, Francia's border territory against the Bretons. The passage, which appears in Chapter 9, mentions that Hroudlandus (a Latinization of the Frankish Hrōþiland, from Hrōþi, "praise"/"fame" and land, "country") was among those killed in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass:

While he was vigorously pursuing the Saxon war, almost without a break, and after he had placed garrisons at selected points along the border, [Charles] marched into Spain [in 778] with as large a force as he could mount. His army passed through the Pyrenees and [Charles] received the surrender of all the towns and fortified places he encountered. He was returning [to Francia] with his army safe and intact, but high in the Pyrenees on that return trip he briefly experienced the Basques. That place is so thoroughly covered with thick forest that it is the perfect spot for an ambush. [Charles's] army was forced by the narrow terrain to proceed in a long line and [it was at that spot], high on the mountain, that the Basques set their ambush. [...] The Basques had the advantage in this skirmish because of the lightness of their weapons and the nature of the terrain, whereas the Franks were disadvantaged by the heaviness of their arms and the unevenness of the land. Eggihard, the overseer of the king's table, Anselm, the count of the palace, and Roland, the lord of the Breton March, along with many others died in that skirmish. But this deed could not be avenged at that time, because the enemy had so dispersed after the attack that there was no indication as to where they could be found.

Roland was evidently the first official appointed to direct Frankish policy in Breton affairs, as local Franks under the Merovingian dynasty had not previously pursued any specific relationship with the Bretons. Their frontier castle districts such as Vitré, Ille-et-Vilaine, south of Mont Saint-Michel, are now divided between Normandy and Brittany. The distinctive culture of this region preserves the present-day Gallo language and legends of local heroes such as Roland. Roland's successor in Brittania Nova was Guy of Nantes, who like Roland, was unable to exert Frankish expansion over Brittany and merely sustained a Breton presence in the Carolingian Empire.

According to legend, Roland was laid to rest in the basilica at Blaye, near Bordeaux, on the site of the citadel.









https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolandhttps://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadelle_de_Blaye







Battle of Roncevaux Pass

For the later battle leading to the establishment of the Kingdom of Pamplona, see Battle of Roncevaux Pass (824). For the battle in the Peninsular War, see Battle of Roncesvalles (1813).

The Battle of Roncevaux Pass (French and English spelling, Roncesvalles in Spanish, Orreaga in Basque) in 778 saw a large force of Basques ambush a part of Charlemagne's army in Roncevaux Pass, a high mountain pass in the Pyrenees on the present border between France and Spain, after his invasion of the Iberian Peninsula.









https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Roncevaux_Pass







Charlemagne

French: [ʃaʁləmaɲ]) or Charles the Great (Latin: Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and Emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognized emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire around three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonised by Antipope Paschal III.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne







The Song of Roland

The Song of Roland (French: La Chanson de Roland) is an 11th-century epic poem (chanson de geste) based on Roland and the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature and exists in various manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity from the 12th to 16th centuries.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Roland







Chanson de Roland

Song by D'Artagnan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL_XSdQmGp0

Dies Lied erzählt von einem Mann

Der ausritt ins Verderben

Mit frohem Mut und in der Hand

Ein Schwert aus kaltem Stahl

Ein Schwert aus kaltem Stahl

So ritt er tief ins Feindesland mit einem stolzen Heere

Da tönt sein Horn Olifant am Pass von Ronkewall

Am Pass von Ronkewall

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Das ist des Rolands Lied

So kämpfte er bei Ronkewall

Für zwei, wenn nicht drei Tage

Kaum sah man einen Sonnenstrahl

Im Dunst aus Schweiß und Blut

Im Dunst aus Schweiß und Blut

Doch Roland ließ sein mächtig Horn

Zur stolzen Niederlage

Die Erde bebt von wildem Zorn

Und seinem Todesmut

Und seinem Todesmut

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Das…

Translate to English

This song is about a man

Dies Lied erzählt von einem Mann

Who rides into perdition

Der ausritt ins Verderben

With good courage and in hand

Mit frohem Mut und in der Hand

A cold steel sword

Ein Schwert aus kaltem Stahl

A cold steel sword

Ein Schwert aus kaltem Stahl

So he rode deep into enemy territory with a proud army

So ritt er tief ins Feindesland mit einem stolzen Heere

Then his horn Olifant sounds at the Ronkewall pass

Da tönt sein Horn Olifant am Pass von Ronkewall

At the Ronkewall pass

Am Pass von Ronkewall

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

So he fought at Ronkewall

So kämpfte er bei Ronkewall

For two, if not three days

Für zwei, wenn nicht drei Tage

You hardly saw a ray of sunshine

Kaum sah man einen Sonnenstrahl

In the haze of sweat and blood

Im Dunst aus Schweiß und Blut

In the haze of sweat and blood

Im Dunst aus Schweiß und Blut

But Roland left his mighty horn

Doch Roland ließ sein mächtig Horn

To the proud defeat

Zur stolzen Niederlage

The earth trembles with fierce anger

Die Erde bebt von wildem Zorn

And his courage to die

Und seinem Todesmut

And his courage to die

Und seinem Todesmut

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Yes, that's what happened as everyone knows

Ja, so geschah was jeder weiß

And Roland was dying

Und Roland lag im Sterben

Far deep in the land of the Basques

Tief im Land der Basken weit

Then cold steel hit him

Da traf ihn kalter Stahl

He thought of a maiden

Dacht er an eine Maid

In his last hour on earth

In seine letzten Stund auf Erden

At the end of his life

Am Ende seiner Lebenszeit

At the Ronkewall pass

Am Pass von Ronkewall

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

Wo-oh-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh-oh!

Chanson de Roland

Chanson de Roland

Wo-oh-oh!

Wo-oh-oh!

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied

This is Roland's song

Das ist des Rolands Lied






Norwegian Song

Based on the French epic poem.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXWgoKP1AOU

Carolingian Shields

The Carolingians were the pre-eminent military power in the Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. The military might of the Carolingians was based on the fact that their soldiers were very well-armed and carried high-quality weapons and armour.

A key part of a Carolingian soldier’s armour was the shield which was critically essential for use in the battlefield at a time when lances and spears were the foremost combat weapons. Acknowledging the significance of the availability of good shields for successful warfare, Carolingian rulers took special care to ensure that their soldiers were well-supplied with ample shields.

Carolingian Shields Usage

Shields were used by both the cavalrymen and infantrymen in a Carolingian army. This came to be due to the fact that Carolingian shields were very inexpensive and even common soldiers could easily afford them, using them for some basic defence on the battlefield. Compared to the Carolingian helmet, for instance, the Carolingian shield costs 1/6th of the helmet’s price. So while many footmen couldn’t afford helmets like the mounted warriors, they chose to own a shield.

https://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-armour/medieval-shields/carolingian-shields/

Personal Soul History Repeated

In the Shadow of Roland


Prince Edward left Bordeaux early in February 1367, and joined his army at Dax, where he remained three days, and received a reinforcement of four hundred men-at-arms and four hundred archers sent out by his father under his brother John, duke of Lancaster. From Dax the prince advanced via Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port through Roncesvalles (in the Pyrenees) to Pamplona (the capital of Kingdom of Navarre).





19th-century illustration of the Black Princes' march through Roncesvalles



When Calveley and other English and Gascon leaders of free companies found that Prince Edward was about to fight for Peter, they withdrew from the service of Henry of Trastámara, and joined Prince Edward "because he was their natural lord". While the prince was at Pamplona he received a letter of defiance from Henry.

From Pamplona the prince marched by Arruiz to Salvatierra, which opened its gates to his army, and thence advanced to Vitoria, intending to march on Burgos by this direct route. A body of his knights, which he had sent out to reconnoitre under Sir William Felton, was defeated by a skirmishing party, and he found that Henry had occupied some strong positions, and especially Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the right of the river Ebro, and Zaldiaran mountain on the left, which made it impossible for him to reach Burgos through Álava. Accordingly he crossed the Ebro, and encamped under the walls of Logroño. During these movements the prince's army had suffered from want of provisions both for men and horses, and from wet and windy weather. At Logroño, however, though provisions were still scarce, they were somewhat better off.

On 30 March 1367 the prince wrote an answer to Henry's letter. On 2 April he left Logroño and moved to Navarrete, La Rioja. Meanwhile, Henry and his French allies had encamped at Nájera, so that the two armies were now near each other. Letters passed between Henry and the prince, for Henry seems to have been anxious to make terms. He declared that Peter was a tyrant, and had shed much innocent blood, to which the prince replied that the king had told him that all the persons he had slain were traitors.

On the morning of 3 April the prince's army marched from Navarrete, and all dismounted while they were yet some distance from Henry's army. The vanguard, in which were three thousand men-at-arms, both English and Bretons, was led by Lancaster, Chandos, Calveley, and Clisson; the right division was commanded by Armagnac and other Gascon lords; the left, in which some German mercenaries marched with the Gascons, by the Jean, Captal de Buch and the Count of Foix; and the rear or main battle by the prince, with three thousand lances, and with the prince was Peter and, a little on his right, the dethroned James of Majorca and his company; the numbers, however, are scarcely to be depended on.

Before the Battle of Nájera began, the prince prayed aloud to God that as he had come that day to uphold the right and reinstate a disinherited king, God would grant him success. Then, after telling Peter that he should know that day whether he should have his kingdom or not, he cried: "Advance, banner, in the name of God and St. George; and God defend our right". The knights of Castile attacked and pressed the English vanguard, but the wings of Henry's army failed to move, so that the Gascon lords were able to attack the main body on the flanks. Then the prince brought the main body of his army into action, and the fighting became intense, for he had under him "the flower of chivalry, and the most famous warriors in the whole world". At length Henry's vanguard gave way, and he fled from the field.

When the battle was over the prince asked Peter to spare the lives of those who had offended him. Peter assented, with the exception of one notorious traitor, whom he at once put to death; and he also had two others slain the next day.

Among the prisoners was the French marshal Arnoul d'Audrehem, whom the prince had formerly taken prisoner at Poitiers, and whom he had released on d'Audrehem giving his word that he would not bear arms against the prince until his ransom was paid. When the prince saw him he reproached him bitterly, and called him "liar and traitor". D'Audrehem denied that he was either, and the prince asked him whether he would submit to the judgment of a body of knights. To this d'Audrehem agreed, and after he had dined the prince chose twelve knights, four English, four Gascons, and four Bretons, to judge between himself and the marshal. After he had stated his case, d'Audrehem replied that he had not broken his word, for the army the prince led was not his own; he was merely in the pay of Peter. The knights considered that this view of the prince's position was sound, and gave their verdict for d'Audrehem.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_the_Black_Princehttps://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/546/https://www.ravenecho.com/articles/26/289/

Battle of Nájera

The Battle of Nájera, also known as the Battle of Navarrete, was fought on 3 April 1367 near Nájera, in the province of La Rioja, Castile. It was an episode of the first Castilian Civil War which confronted King Peter of Castile with his half-brother Count Henry of Trastámara who aspired to the throne; the war involved Castile in the Hundred Years' War. Castilian naval power, far superior to that of France or England, encouraged the two polities to take sides in the civil war, to gain control over the Castilian fleet.





The Battle of Nájera from a fifteenth-century manuscript of Froissart's Chronicles. The English and Peter of Castile are on the left.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nájera

Battle of Navarette-Nájera, 1367

Navarette (Nájera) is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it shows the ascendancy of the English bowman over an unusual opponent-- light cavalry. Secondly, it occurred outside the normal sphere of combat for the period (at least as far as we insular British are concerned). Thirdly, it contains some of the great figures of the high chivalric period-- du Guesclin, Chandos, John of Gaunt and the Black Prince. Finally, but for me interestingly, it forms the background to the last part of Conan Doyle's "The White Company".

The battle had its roots in Spanish politics which appear to have been no less complicated in the fourteenth century than at any other time. The 'rightful' king of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, had been deposed by his subjects, led by his half-brother, Henry of Trastamara, who had become the new king, and Bertrand du Guesclin, the renowned French knight. Pedro fled the country and went to see the Black Prince, administering the English provinces around Bordeaux. Edward was incensed by the idea of a king being deposed (I imagine he was also glad of an excuse to stop doing paperwork and organise a fight) and set about recruiting troops. Men from Gascony and Aquitaine answered his call; his younger brother John came from England with 400 knights and a large number of archers the King of Majorca produced some troops; and of course, the 'Free Companies' of mercenaries were always available.

In February, 1367, Edward set out with his force, through the Pyrenees. He crossed the Ebro at Logroño where he had heard that Henry of Trastamara was only a short distance off, and the Allied army went through the small town of Navarette along the minor road to Najera.

Henry made his stand with the River Najarilla at his back--this seems to me to be a pretty elementary mistake and one wonders why he did it. Still, he wasn't stupid and with du Guesclin advising him there must have been some motive. The most likely explanation to me is that he felt that the strength of his army lay in its cavalry rather than its large numbers of conscript infantry and that these could be used to best advantage on the featureless plain that separates Najera from Navarette. Quite probably the idea of defeat never even occurred to him--his army outnumbered that of Edward and Pedro by about 29,500 to 24,000 and I should think he was quite happy .

Battle of Navaratte diagram





Both sides arrayed their forces in three lines laid out in a comparable manner. The front line of Henry's army was led by du Guesclin in person, with 1500 picked men-at-arms and 500 crossbowmen. To oppose this Edward put his brother John of Gaunt with 3000 infantry and 3000 archers. In Henry's second line were two flanking forces of Spanish light cavalry mixed with a core of heaves. At this time Spain was beginning to experiment with light cavalry--later to develop into the 'genitors' of the Renaissance--for skirmishing purposes; an idea that had dropped out of contemporary European military thinking. The centre of the line was led by Henry himself with the cream of his heavy cavalry, 1500 strong. The Black Prince was also in the second line together with Pedro the Cruel and 4000 infantry, l/2 of them archers. Flanking him were two similar forces under Captal de Buch and Sir Thomas Percy. The third line of Henry's force consisted of 20,000 Spanish infantry of mixed capability, ranging from well armed professionals to reluctant con scripts. On Edward's side, the third line was led by the King of Majorca and the Count Armagnac with 3000 foot and 3000 archers. In all three divisions on Edward's side, the men-at-arms or foot were drawn up in the centre with the archers on either flank. As soon as the Black Prince was satisfied with the dispositions, he ordered his entire army to dismount and had the horses sent to the rear.

Du Guesclin led his vanguard and they smashed into Lancaster's division. The English longbowmen dispersed the Castilian crossbowmen but once the melee had started the press was such that they could con tribute little. Lancaster and du Guesclin remained locked together throughout the remainder of the battle, fighting hand to hand. The Spanish flanking cavalry forces then charged the advancing flanks opposing them. Normally, the heavy contingent held back while the light cavalry harassed the sides of the opposition and probed for a weak spot along the front, seeking to create a gap where the heavy cavalry could drive in a wedge and smash the entire formation. This system had proved very successful--against infantry armed with spears or the slowloading crossbow. Against longbowmen it proved disastrous. As the Spaniards moved along the front, avoiding hand to hand combat and hurling their javelins, they were shot down in droves. Surprised, they drew back to organise--and suffered still more heavily. As they wavered, the heavy cavalry leaders took in charges to restore morale and never even reached the units they were charging. The demoralisation on the Spanish flanks was now complete--the cavalry remaining wheeled about and fled the field leaving Gomez Carillo to be captured.

Percy and de Buch now capitalised on their momentary advantage in the best possible way--by joining up to make a cohesive front. This was done so neatly that I can only imagine that Edward had briefed them to do this before the battle. In any event, they moved in unhurriedly together and managed to link behind du Guesclin's force, still battling Lancaster. The men-at-arms turned inwards to take du Guesclin's men from the rear, while the archers faced out against the inevitable Spanish counter attack. It was not long in coming. Henry realised that the Percy/de Buch line had to be broken. Three times his knights charged; and each time the charge faded to nothing under the withering hail of arrows. Edward moved up his own central division to increase the pressure on du Guesclin. Desperately, Henry ordered up his infantry mass--but again it never came to grips with the forces of Edward and Pedro. Despite the disparity in numbers the archers waited calmly until the infantry were in range and loosed salvo after salvo. The infantry faltered, broke and fled. Realising the battle was lost, Henry went too. The Spanish cavalry were able to scatter but the infantry could only escape over the narrow bridge of Najera. As the fresh third division swept round passed Percy and chased after them, many Spaniards died, both in the press and by drowning. Du Guesclin did not surrender until he realised that the Spanish army had gone. His force had been surrounded throughout the battle, 1/4 of its number were dead, practically all the others injured.

Consequences of the Battle

After the battle of Nájera Pedro the Cruel recovered the kingdom of Castile: Henry refugeed at Aragon and, afterly, at France. Pedro started a fierce repression (this is because that he is known as "the cruel"). When the black Prince returned to Aquitaine, a new rebellion started. Henry, and du Guesclin returned to lead the rebellion. A new battle took place at Montiel, at 13th March 1369, where Pedro was defeated. The night after, he was treasoned, and died at a personal combat with his half-brother.

After the death of Pedro, Henry II fought newly against the English, to recover the lands occuped by them as the price of their help to Pedro I (Biscay). His descendants also took part at the 100 Years War at the French side: Castilian fleets defeated the English one at several battles, like in La Rochelle, in 1372 and 1419.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsQ6PdX2nAU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPQGZAO7VM8
































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