Mythology

The Mythology of Charlemagne and Compostela

The Legends of Charlemagne and Roland and the Epic Poems of the Pilgrimage Roads to Santiago de Compostela

Chansons de Geste

Chansons de Geste

  Video: Roland Lintel Saint-Pierre Angoulême An Artsymbol Production Music by Martin A Smith Duration 3:24At the same time that the culture of pilgrimage was growing another, vernacular tradition developed. This was the oral storytelling known as the Chansons de...

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The Horn-Winder

The Horn-Winder

Roncevaux stood at a pivotal point on the pilgrimage road to Compostela both in spatial and also sacred terms. The story of the great battle which was fought there was told and retold.

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Constantine and Charlemagne

Constantine and Charlemagne

The shadow of both the emperors Constantine and Charlemagne loomed large over the pilgrimage to Compostela. Along the pilgrimage roads to Santiago the sculpted image of a victorious rider recurs on the facades of churches. Invariably, beneath is a cowering figure being trampled upon. Who is this mysterious horseman?

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Charlemagne and Alfonso: Historia and History

Charlemagne and Alfonso: Historia and History

Alfonso VI was the most successful of all medieval Christian rulers of Spain, uniting the the kingdoms of northern Iberia into a self-styled empire in the eleventh century. The parallels betweens Alfonso’s real-life military campaigns and those of Charlemagne, as recounted in epic myth are striking in their similarity.

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Compostela and the Legend of the Milky Way

Compostela and the Legend of the Milky Way

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as well as linking so many reliquary shrines along its highways and byways, was also the source of numerous legends of a mystical nature and the terrestrial road itself, was invested with an inherent and immanent sacred character. This is perfectly expressed in the legend of the Milky Way

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The Burial Grounds of Roncevaux

The Burial Grounds of Roncevaux

The burial grounds of Roncevaux were important shrines for medieval pilgrims. Among the relics which pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela were able to venerate were the tombs of the fallen heroes of Charlemagne’s armies

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Faced with these legions, the whole of Spain trembled

Faced with these legions, the whole of Spain trembled

Charlemagne’s Spanish Campaign was a matter of both epic legend and historical fact. According to the chronicler William of Malmesbury, as the Norman knights prepared to do battle at Hastings in 1066, a poet declaimed an epic tale of the death of the Frankish hero Roland at the battle of Roncevaux.

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Charlemagne our great emperor has been in Spain for seven long years

Charlemagne our great emperor has been in Spain for seven long years

Charlemagne and the Compostelan pilgrimage were inextricably linked in the medieval imagination. It was an essential component of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that pilgrims were journeying through a mythical landscape. This was a world through which the armies of Charlemagne had passed, where great battles had been fought and the tombs of the fallen heroes could be venerated as the shrines of martyrs.

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The Parthenay Rider

The Parthenay Rider

At Parthenay-le-Vieux, the facade of the church of Saint-Pierre features an impressive equestrian figure, the Parthenay Rider. The Tours Road to Compostela was especially redolent of the legend of Charlemagne and his Paladins.

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The Battle of Poitiers and the Legends of the Franks

The Battle of Poitiers and the Legends of the Franks

The mythology of the Franks as defenders of the faith against the Saracen threat had a long history. In 732 the new emir of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman, so it was written, led a massive Saracen army of between 30-50,000 men over the Pyrenees into France. His intention was to overrun France as his predecessors had done Spain, twenty years earlier.

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Matamoros

Matamoros

Christ had named the Apostles James and his brother John, the Sons of Thunder and by the early medieval period James had acquired another name: Santiago Matamoros. Castor and Pollux were the sons of Jupiter, known as the Thunderer, thereby they also, were designated The Sons of Thunder. In ancient mythology Castor descended from heaven astride a white horse to become protector of man and slayer of his enemies in battle. Castor and Pollux were venerated in Roman Spain.

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