The account in the Chanson de Roland of the trial of Ganelon after the battle of Roncesvalles must have been adopted almost intact from earlier poets, and provides a striking example of the value of the chansons de geste to the historian of manners and customs.
The character of Charlemagne himself undergoes a change; in the Chanson de Roland he is a venerable figure, mild and dignified, while later he appears as a cruel and typical tyrant (as is also the case with Ermanaric).
The oldest manuscript of the Chanson de Roland that we possess is also a manuscript written in England, and amongst the others of less importance we may mention La Chancun de Willame, the MS. of which has (June 1903) been published in facsimile at Chiswick (cf.
It is curious, for instance, to compare the scanty references to the material marvels of Constantinople which Villehardouin saw in their glory, which perished by sack and fire under his very eyes, and which live chiefly in the melancholy pages of his Greek contemporary Nicetas, with the elaborate descriptions of the scarcely greater wonders of fabulous courts at Constantinople itself, at Babylon, and elsewhere, to be found in his other contemporaries, the later chanson de geste writers and the earlier embroiderers of the Arthurian romances and romans d'aventures.
We know that the Chanson de Roland was sung at the battle of Hastings, and we possess Anglo-Norman MSS.
The central point of the geste du roi is the i 1 thcentury Chanson de Roland (see Roland, Legend Of), one of the greatest of medieval poems. Strangely enough the defeat of Roncesvalles, which so deeply impressed the popular mind, has not a corresponding importance in real history.
This version of Peter's career seems as old as the Chanson des chetifs, a poem which Raymond of Antioch caused to be composed in honour of the Hermit and his followers, soon after 1130.
Monin, La Chanson et l'Eglise sous la Revolution (Paris, 1892); A.
The brief chapters of his work have been justly compared to the laisses or tirades of a chanson in what may be called the vignetting of the subject of each, in the absence of any attempt to run on the narrative, in the stock forms, and in the poetical rather than prosaic word-order of the sentences.
P. Paris, 2 vols., 1848) and the Chanson de Jerusalem (ed.