Song of Roland Character List



Roland gets quick reference in Einhard’s account of the massacre at Roncesvalles. The Song of Roland changes him into an impressive hero, a design of knighthood for the new era of the Crusades. Roland is hot-tempered and strong, which wins both criticism and praise from his buddies. He is Charlemagne’s nephew and right-hand guy, and he has actually dominated large lands for his liege lord. So essential is he to Charlemagne’s efforts that Ganelon assures the Saracens that Charlemagne will lose the will to fight if Roland dies. Roland likewise refuses, from the start, to negotiate with the Saracens. He sees the war versus Islam as being a concern of religious commitment. He is bold, however not prudent or smart. Arguably, his decision not to blow the oliphant early in the fight at Rencesvals results in the deaths of twenty thousand men, among whom are the very dearest of his buddies. And yet he is undoubtedly the poems most attractive hero. His death scene is one of the most powerful and remarkable scenes in French literature, and his soul is accompanied to paradise by saints and angels.


Historically, Charlemagne (742? -814) was a Frankish king who protected Christendom and broadened its borders. In The Song of Roland he is made bigger than life, a hale warrior more than two centuries old who wearily continues to fight versus paganism. Some have argued that the poem must be called The Song of Charlemagne, as the second half of the poem is dedicated to Charlemagne’s revenge and the completion of his conquest of Spain. At times in the poem, Charlemagne is a mix of incredible majesty and touching vulnerability. He is arguably the most industrialized character of the poem, a guy of unflagging faith and loyalty who nevertheless is weary of war and loss.


Roland’s best friend and brother-in-law. Oliver is wise and prudent, less attractive then Roland however much more intelligent. He and Roland argue madly about Roland’s command decisions at Rencesvals, and Oliver’s advice probably would have conserved the rearguard. But he passes away reconciled to Roland and deeply mourned by his friend.

Archbishop Turin

Archbishop Turin, clergyman and warrior, is among the poem’s most magnetic and charming figures. He approves penance to the troops wholesale before fight, and rallies their spirits at bottom lines. He is also a brave and powerful warrior, among the bravest and most difficult in the whole rearguard. His personality and preaching show the new mentality of the Crusades, when the Church’s orientation ended up being militant.


Roland’s stepfather, and traitor. Ganelon has a deep animosity of Roland that is never totally explained in the poem. Certainly jealousy plays an aspect, as we see that Charlemagne treasures Roland the twelve peers while considering Ganelon to be expendable. He conspires with the Saracens to kill Roland and the entire rearguard. He is also paid off for his treachery, which links him to Christianity’s terrific traitor, Judas. At the end of the poem, he is put to trial and performed in addition to thirty of his kinsmen.


Duke Naimes, smart and sensible therapist of Charlemagne. Like the twelve peers, though not of their number, he is thought about important to the king. His prudence leads him into some bad choices: he prompts grace for Marsile, and motivates diplomatic negotiations with the Saracens. He is cool-headed, however not cold: on seeing the carnage at Rencesvals, he is collected enough to comfort Charlemagne and advise him of his duties.

The remainder of the twelve peers: Anseis, Berenger, Engeler, Gerin, Gerer, Gerard of Roussillon, Oton, Samson, Yvon, and Yvoire

The twelve peers are something like Charlemagne’s round table. They are pointed out somewhere else in middle ages lore, however the specific list of knights differs. They are brave and devoted to Charlemagne, as well as to each other. They stick with Roland for the hazardous position of rearguard. They battle stunningly at Rencesvals, slaughtering their twelve Saracen counterparts, however by the end of the battle they are all eliminated.


Mighty knight, whose job in the rearguard is to patrol the peaks. He comes down from the peaks to report that all of his men are dead. He is among the last 3 Franks left standing at Rencesvals.


Danish knight who battles bravely with Charlemagne to avenge Roland. He kills Amborre, lowering the pennon and Muhammed’s standard; at this moment, Baligant begins to realize that his religious beliefs is incorrect.


At Ganelon’s trial, Thierry alone insists on Ganelon’s regret. Though physically unimposing, he accepts fight Pinabel to settle the problem.


Ganelon’s kinsmen and skilled speaker. Big and effective, he accepts battle Thierry to settle the problem of Ganelon’s regret.


Roland’s wife and Oliver’s sibling. When she hears of Roland’s death, she passes away of grief.


Moslem king of Spain, though in the poem his holdings have actually been diminished until just the city of Saragossa remains under Moslem control. With the assistance of his vassals, he hatches a plot to rid Spain of Charlemagne for great. He is not a strong man, and his defeats lead him into anguish. He loses his hand to Roland. When Baligant, Marsile’s liege lord and the emir of Babylone, is crushed by Charlemagne, Marsile passes away of sorrow.


Marsile’s trusted and shrewd consultant, a symmetric counterpart to Naimes. While Naime’s is sensible and merciful, Blancandrin is treacherous and cunning. With Ganelon, he conspires to cause Roland’s death and the massacre of the rearguard.


Marsile’s liege lord. Baligant is the incredibly effective emir of Babylon, Charlemagne’s symmetric equivalent. He is ferocious, worthy, and brave. Like Charlemagne, he is ancient and convinced of his religious beliefs’s rightness. He is slain by Charlemagne is single combat.


Marsile’s hot-tempered nephew, Roland’s equivalent. He leads the pagan twelve peers in the attack versus the rearguard. Roland eliminates him at Rencesvals.


One of the pagan twelve peers. In some methods, he is Archbishop Turin’s counterpart. He is a sorcerer from Barbary, experienced in the black arts, and he is slain by the Archbishop.


Among the pagan twelve. He nearly kills Oliver, however God’s intervention safeguards the Christian knight. He is good-looking and an excellent knight, an example of an honorable pagan whose only fault is his incorrect religion.


Marsile’s uncle and leader of huge forces, consisting of a fearsome contingent from Ethiopia. At Rencesvals, Marsile retreats however Marganice stays. He delivers a fatal blow to Oliver, but Oliver also handles to kill him.

The remainder of the Saracen twelve: Falsaron, Malprimis, the emir of Balaguer, an alcamor from Moriane, Rugis, Escremiz, Estorgans, Estramariz, and Chernubles.

Twelve lords picked to lead the assault on the rear guard. They are in fact described in more depth than the Frankish twelve peers: the poet takes advantage of the chance to develop a colorful cast of villains from exotic and ominous lands. Some, like Chernubles, seem like wicked itself: he comes from a land of devils, where the sun has never touched. Others, like the emir of Balaguer, appear noble: “Had he been a Christian, he would have been a worthwhile baron” (l. 899).


Marsile’s child. He is eliminated by Roland.


Marsile’s spouse and the Queen of the Saracens in Spain. Charlemagne ultimately takes her captive and brings her back to his capitol, Aix. At the end of the poem, she transforms to Christianity.