587), is generally understood to have taken place not here but at Roncesvalles, which is nearly 40 m.
Thence his line stretched along the Pyrenees by the passes of Vera, Echallar, Maya and Roncesvalles, to Altobiscar; his immediate object now being to reduce the fortresses of San Sebastian and Pampeluna.
Attacking the passes of Maya and Roncesvalles, he obliged their defenders to retire, after sharp fighting, to a position of close to Sorauren, which, with 25,000 men, he the Pyre= attempted to carry (July 28).
These included Roncesvalles and Maya (July 25); Sorauren (July 28 and 30); Yanzi (Aug.
He had not visited Spain since the disaster of Roncesvalles, but he continued to take a lively interest in the affairs of that country.
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 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.
The traditions of Charlemagne's fights with the Norsemen (Norois, Noreins) are preserved in Aiquin (12th century), which describes the emperor's reconquest of Armorica from the " Saracen " king Aiquin, and a disaster at Cezembre as terrible in its way as those of Roncesvalles and Aliscans.
The first part represents an episode in Spain three years before Roncesvalles, in which Oliver defeats the Saracen giant Fierabras in single combat, and converts him.
The Chanson de Roland relates the historic defeat of Roncesvalles on the 15th of August 778, and forms the very crown of the whole Carolingian legend.
The memory of Roncesvalles haunts him on his death-bed, and at the moment of death he has a vision of Roland.