Short summary - The Song of Roland
Turoldus or Turold
The sovereign emperor of the Franks, the great Charles (the same Charles, from whose name the very word "king" comes), has been fighting the Moors in beautiful Spain for seven long years. He has already won many Spanish castles from the wicked. His loyal army smashed all the towers and conquered all the cities. Only the ruler of Zaragoza, King Marsil, the godless servant of Muhammad, does not want to recognize the dominion of Charles. But soon the proud ruler Marsilius will fall and Zaragoza will bow his head before the glorious emperor.
King Marsilius summons his faithful Saracens and asks them for advice on how to avoid the reprisals of Charles, the ruler of beautiful France. The wisest of the Moors remain silent, and only one of them, the Wal-Fond castellan, did not remain silent. Blankandrinus (that was the name of the Moor) advises deception to achieve peace with Charles. Marsilius must send messengers with great gifts and an oath of friendship, he promises fidelity to Charles on behalf of his sovereign. The ambassador will deliver to the emperor seven hundred camels, four hundred mules laden with Arabian gold and silver, so much so that Charles could reward his vassals with rich gifts and pay the mercenaries. When Charles, with great gifts, sets off on his return journey, let Marsilius vow to follow Charles after a short time and on the day of St. Michael to accept Christianity in Aachen, the throne city of Charles. The children of the noblest Saracens will be sent hostages to Charles, although it is clear that they are destined to perish when the treachery of Marsilia is revealed. The French will go home, and only in the Cathedral of Aachen, the mighty Charles, on the great day of St. Michael, will understand that he has been deceived by the Moors, but it will be too late to take revenge. Better to let the hostages die, but King Marsilius will not lose the throne.
Marsilius agrees with the advice of Blankandrin and equips ambassadors on the way to Charles, promising them rich estates for their faithful service as a reward. The ambassadors pick up an olive branch as a sign of friendship to the king and set off.
Meanwhile, the mighty Karl celebrates his victory over Cordova in a fertile garden. Vassals sit around him, play dice and chess.
Arriving at the camp of the Franks, the Moors see Charles on a golden throne, the king's face is proud and beautiful, his beard is whiter than snow, and his curls fall in waves on his shoulders. Ambassadors greet the emperor. They set out all that Marsilius, king of the Moors, told them to convey. Karl listens attentively to the messengers and, drooping his brow, plunges into thought.
The sun shines brightly over the camp of the Franks when Karl calls his entourage. Charles wants to know what the barons think, whether it is possible to believe the words of Marsil, who promises to obey the Franks in everything. The barons, tired of long campaigns and heavy battles, wish a speedy return to their native lands, where their beautiful wives are waiting. But no one can advise this to Karl, since each of them knows about the deceit of Marsil. And everyone is silent. Only one, the king's nephew, the young Count Roland, emerging from the ranks of his entourage, begins to persuade Charles not to believe the words of the deceitful king of the Moors. Roland reminds the king of the recent betrayal of Marsil, when he also promised to faithfully serve the Franks, and he himself broke his promise and betrayed Charles, killing his ambassadors, the glorious counts of Bazan and Basil. Roland implores his master as soon as possible to go to the walls of the rebellious Zaragoza and avenge Marsilia for the death of glorious warriors. Karl drops his brow, and there is an ominous silence. Not all barons are happy with young Roland's proposal. Count Ganelon steps forward and addresses the audience. He convinces everyone that Charles's army is already tired, and so much has been conquered that one can proudly strive on the way back to the borders of beautiful France. There is no reason not to believe the Moors, they have no choice but to obey Karl. Another baron, Nemon of Bavaria, one of the king's best vassals, advises Charles to listen to the speeches of Ganelon and heed the pleas of Marsil. The count argues that the Christian duty commands to forgive the infidels and turn them to God, and there is no doubt that the Moors will come to Aachen on the day of St. Charles turns to the barons with the question of whom to send to Zaragoza with an answer. Count Roland is ready to go to the Moors, even though his advice is rejected by his master. Karl refuses to let go of his beloved nephew, to whom he owes many victories. Then Nemon Bavarian willingly offers to take the message, but Karl does not want to let him go. Many barons, in order to prove their loyalty, want to hit the road, only Count Ganelon is silent. Then Roland shouts advice to Karl: "Let Ganelon go." Count Ganelon gets up in fright and looks at the audience, but everyone nods their heads in agreement. The Mad Count threateningly accuses Roland of a long-standing hatred of him, as he is Roland's stepfather. Roland, says Ganelon, has long wanted to destroy him and now, taking advantage of the opportunity, sends him to certain death. Ganelon begs Charles not to forget his wife and children when the Moors will certainly deal with him. Ganelon laments that he will no longer see his native France. Karl is enraged by the indecision of the count and orders him to hit the road immediately. The Emperor holds out his glove to Ganelon as a sign of ambassadorial authority, but he drops it to the ground. The French understand that only on their own mountain they decided to send the insidious Ganelon with an embassy to the enemies, this mistake will bring them great grief, but no one can change their fate.
Count Ganelon goes to his tent and chooses his battle armor, getting ready to go. Not far from the camp of the Franks, Ganelon catches up with the returning embassy of the infidels, whom the cunning Blankandrin detained at Charles as long as possible in order to meet the emperor's envoy on the way. A long conversation ensues between Ganelon and Blankandrin, from which the Moor learns about the enmity between Ganelon and Karl's favorite Roland. Blankandrinus asks the count in surprise why all the Franks love Roland so much. Then Ganelon reveals to him the secret of Charles's great victories in Spain: the fact is that the valiant Roland leads Charles's troops in all battles. Ganelon traces many lies to Roland, and when the path of the embassy reaches the middle, the treacherous Ganelon and the cunning Blankandrin vow to each other to destroy the mighty Roland.
A day passes, and Ganelon is already at the walls of Zaragoza, he is led to the king of the Moors, Marsilius. Having bowed to the king, Ganelon conveys Charles's message to him. Karl agrees with the world to go to his own limits, but on the day of St. Michael he is waiting for Marsil in the throne of Aachen, and if the Saracen dares to disobey, he will be taken to Aachen in chains and put to shameful death there. Marsilius, not expecting such a harsh response, grabs the spear, wanting to defeat the count, but Ganelon dodges the blow and steps aside. Then Blankandrinus turns to Marsilius with a request to listen to the Ambassador of the Franks. Ganelon again approaches the lord of the infidels and continues his speech. He says that the king's anger is in vain, Charles only wants Marsilius to accept the law of Christ, then he will give him half of Spain. But Karl will give the other half, the traitor continues, to his nephew, the arrogant Count Roland. Roland will be a bad neighbor to the Moors, he will seize neighboring lands and oppress Marsilia in every possible way. All the troubles of Spain are from Roland alone, and if Marsil wants peace in his country, then he must not only obey Charles, but also ruin his nephew, Roland, by cunning or deceit. Marsilius is happy with this plan, but he doesn't know how to deal with Roland and asks Ganelon to come up with a remedy. If they manage to destroy Roland, Marsilius promises the count rich gifts and castles of beautiful Spain for his faithful service.
Ganelon has a plan for a long time already, he knows for sure that Karl will want to leave someone in Spain in order to ensure peace in the conquered land. Karl will undoubtedly ask Roland to stay on guard, a very small detachment will be with him, and in the gorge (the king will already be far away) Marsilius will defeat Roland, depriving Karl of his best vassal. This plan is to the liking of Marsil, he calls Gwenelon to his chambers and orders him to bring there expensive gifts, the best furs and jewelry, which the new royal friend will take to his wife in distant France. Soon Ganelon was escorted on his way back, as if having agreed on the fulfillment of his plans. Every noble Moor swears friendship to the traitor-Frank and sends his children hostage with him to Charles.
At dawn, Count Ganelon drives up to the camp of the Franks and immediately goes to Charles. He brought many gifts to the sovereign and brought hostages, but most importantly, Marsil gave the keys to Zaragoza. The Franks are jubilant, Karl ordered everyone to gather to report: “The end of the cruel war. We're going home. " But Karl doesn't want to leave Spain unguarded. Otherwise, he will not have time to get to France, as the basurmans will raise their heads again, then the end will come to everything that the Franks have achieved in seven long years of war. Count Ganelon tells the emperor to leave Roland on guard in the gorge with a detachment of brave warriors, they will stand up for the honor of the Franks, if anyone dares to go against the will of Charles. Roland, hearing that Ganelon advises Karl to choose him, hurries to the master and addresses him with a speech. He thanks the emperor for the commission and says that he is happy with this appointment and is not afraid, unlike Ganelon, to die for France and Charles, even if the master wants to put him alone on guard in the gorge. Karl drops his brow and, covering his face with his hands, suddenly begins to sob. He does not want to part with Roland, a bitter foreboding gnaws at the emperor. But Roland is already gathering friends who will stay with him when Karl withdraws the troops. With him will be the valiant Gauthier, Odon, Jerin, Archbishop Turpin and the glorious knight Olivier.
Karl leaves Spain with tears and gives Roland his bow in parting. He knows that they are no longer destined to meet. The traitor Ganelon is guilty of the troubles that will befall the Franks and their emperor.
Roland, having gathered his army, descends into the gorge. He hears the thunder of drums and sees off those leaving home. Time passes, Karl is already far away, Roland and Count Olivier climb a high hill and see hordes of Saracens. Olivier reproaches Ganelon with betrayal and begs Roland to blow his horn. Karl can still hear the call and turn the troops. But the proud Roland does not want help and asks the soldiers to fearlessly go into battle and win: "God bless you, French!"
Once again Olivier rises up the hill and sees the Moors very close, the hordes of which are all arriving. He again begs Roland to blow the trumpet so that Karl would hear their call and turn back. Roland again abandons the shameful madness. Time passes, and for the third time Olivier, at the sight of Marsilia's troops, falls to his knees in front of Roland and asks not to destroy people in vain, because they cannot cope with the hordes of Saracens. Roland does not want to hear anything, builds up an army and with a cry "Monjoy" rushes into battle. In a fierce battle, the French and the troops of the cunning Marsil came together.
hour passes, the French cut the infidels, only the shouts and clanging of weapons are heard over a deaf ravine. Count Olivier rushes across the field with a fragment of a spear, he defeats the Moor Malzaron, followed by Turgis, Estorgoth. Count Olivier has already struck seven hundred infidels. The battle is getting hotter ... Cruel blows strike both the Franks and the Saracens, but the Franks do not have fresh strength, and the pressure of the enemies does not weaken.
Marsilius rushes from Zaragoza with a huge army, he longs for a meeting with Charles's nephew, Count Roland. Roland sees the approaching Marsilia and only now finally understands the vile betrayal of his stepfather.
The battle is terrible, Roland sees how young Franks are dying, and in remorse he rushes to Olivier, he wants to blow the horn. But Olivier only says that it is too late to call for Karl's help, now the emperor will not help, he is rapidly rushing into the battle. Roland blows a trumpet ... Roland's mouth is covered with bloody foam, veins in his temples have opened, and a long sound is heard far away.
Having reached the border of France, Karl hears Roland's horn, he realizes that his premonitions were not in vain. The emperor deploys his troops and rushes to the aid of his nephew. Closer and closer Karl is to the place of the bloody battle, but he can no longer find anyone alive.
Roland looks at the mountains and plains ... Death and blood are everywhere, the French are everywhere, the knight falls to the ground in bitter sobs.
Time passes, Roland returned to the battlefield, he hits from the shoulder, cut Faldron, many noble Moors, Roland's terrible revenge for the death of soldiers and for the betrayal of Ganelon. On the battlefield, he collides with Marsil, the king of all Zaragoza, and cut off his hand, knocked the prince and son Marsil from his horse with a damask sword and stabbed him with a spear. Marsilius fled in fright, but this will no longer help him: Charles's troops are too close.
It was dusk. One caliph on a horse flies up to Olivier and hits him in the back with a damask spear. Roland looks at Count Olivier and realizes that his friend has been killed. He looks for the archbishop, but there is no one around, the army is defeated, the day has come to an end, bringing death to the valiant Franks.
Roland walks alone across the battlefield, he feels that his strength has left him, his face is covered with blood, his beautiful eyes are dim, he does not see anything. The hero falls on the grass, closes his eyes, and for the last time he sees the image of beautiful France. Time passed, and a Spanish Moor crept up to him in the darkness and dishonestly struck him. A mighty knight is killed, and no one will ever raise the beautiful Durendal (that was the name of Roland's sword), no one will replace the incomparable warrior for the Franks. Roland lies facing the enemies under the canopy of the fir tree. Here at dawn Charles's army finds him. The Emperor, with sobs, falls to his knees before the body of his nephew and promises to avenge him.
The troops are hurrying on their way to catch up with the Moors and give the last battle to the nasty ones.
The wounded Marsilius escapes from the emperor's wrath in the capital, in Zaragoza. He hears the victory cry of the French as they enter the city. Marsilius asks for help from his neighbors, but everyone turned away from him in fright, only Baligant is ready to help. His troops met with Charles's troops, but the Franks quickly defeated them, leaving the Saracens lying on the battlefield. Karl returns to his homeland to piously bury the bodies of the heroes and carry out a just trial over the traitors.
All France mourns the great warriors, there is no more glorious Roland, and without him there is no happiness for the Franks. All demand the execution of the traitor Ganelon and all his relatives. But Karl does not want to execute the vassal without giving him a word in his defense. The day of the great judgment has come, Karl summons a traitor to him. Then one of the glorious Franks, Tiedri, asks Charles to arrange a duel between him and Ganelon's relative, Pinabel. If Tiedri wins, Ganelon will be executed, if not, he will live.
Tiedri the mighty and Pinabel the invincible met on the battlefield, raising their swords, and rushed into battle. The heroes fight for a long time, but neither one nor the other is given victory. Fate decreed that when the wounded Tiedri raised his sword over the head of Pinabel for the last time, he, struck, fell dead to the ground and never woke up again. The emperor's judgment is over, the warriors tie Ganelon to the horses by the arms and legs and drive them to the water. The traitor Ganelon experienced terrible torment. But what kind of death will atone for the death of the beautiful Roland ... Karl bitterly mourns his beloved vassal.