Song of Roland

Song of Roland Facsimile Edition

Germany — Late 12th century

A splendid German translation of the oldest surviving major work of French literature and the most famous example of a chanson de geste or “song of heroic deeds”

  1. Roland was a knight who commanded the rearguard of the Frankish army under Charlemagne (748–814)

  2. His death during an ambush known as the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 became legendary

  3. 39 half-page miniatures adorn the Bavarian translation by Konrad der Pfaffe from ca. 1170

Song of Roland

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Song of Roland

Originating from the 11th century, The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving major work of French literature and is the most famous example of a chanson de geste or “song of heroic deeds”. The narrative centers around the figure Roland, a knight and captain in the service of Charlemagne who died leading the rear guard of the Frankish army when it was ambushed at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778. This embellished retelling of the battle and the events surrounding it would have been performed by troubadours for the entertainment of the knightly class and has survived in numerous illuminated manuscripts. A German poet known as Konrad der Pfaffe (Conrad the Priest) translated the work from French into the Bavarian dialect ca. 1170, likely in Regensburg, and replaced the specifically French topics with broader Christian themes. The manuscript at hand originated from the end of the 12th century and its neatly written text is adorned by 39 half-page miniatures. Although uncolored, they are obviously the work of a skilled hand and very clearly illustrate the events of the text.


Alternative Titles
Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad
Chanson de Roland
Late 12th century
Early Gothic minuscule
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1970
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad

Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1970

Publisher: Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1970
Commentary: 1 volume by C. Scheufele, Wilfried Werner and Heinz Zirnbauer
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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