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The Myth of Charlemagne and the Crusades

Finally there was Charlemagne as a mythic figure who eventually would be drawn larger than life in the Song of Roland. The growth of such myths always occurs because they have some deep desires behind them. In the case of Charlemagne, the desire was to describe the ideal warrior who could perform two very fundamental tasks for Europe: vanquish the Islamic powers which threatened Christian Europe and provide a model for a unified empire (the Holy Roman Empire) that would be both a perfect feudal society

and one strong enough to accomplish the first task of destroying Islam.  Not without reason was the Song of Roland a central poem for the firstcrusaders who turned their faces to the East.

Map of Crusades, 1000 – 1200

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