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The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga With Introductions And Notes   By: (1834-1926)

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The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga is a comprehensive collection of some of the most famous epic poems and sagas from around the world. Charles William Eliot provides thorough introductions and notes for each text, giving readers valuable context and insight into the stories being told.

The anthology includes well-known works such as Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," as well as lesser-known but equally captivating texts like the Finnish epic "Kalevala" and the Icelandic sagas. The variety of cultures and time periods represented in this volume offers readers a diverse and enriching literary experience.

Eliot's meticulous annotations help readers navigate the complexities of the language and themes present in these ancient texts. His scholarly approach sheds light on the historical and cultural significance of each work, making them more accessible and engaging for a modern audience.

Overall, The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga is a valuable addition to any literary collection. It not only showcases the power and beauty of epic poetry but also provides a deeper understanding of the ways in which these timeless stories continue to resonate with readers today.

First Page:

THE HARVARD CLASSICS

EDITED BY CHARLES W. ELIOT LLD.

EPIC AND SAGA

THE SONG OF ROLAND

THE DESTRUCTION OF DÁ DERGA'S HOSTEL

WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES

VOLUME 49

1910

THE SONG OF ROLAND

TRANSLATED BY

JOHN O'HAGAN

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

In the year 778 A.D., Charles the Great, King of the Franks, returned from a military expedition into Spain, whither he had been led by opportunities offered through dissensions among the Saracens who then dominated that country. On the 15th of August, while his army was marching through the passes of the Pyrenees, his rear guard was attacked and annihilated by the Basque inhabitants of the mountains, in the valley of Roncesvaux About this disaster many popular songs, it is supposed, soon sprang up; and the chief hero whom they celebrated was Hrodland, Count of the Marches of Brittany.

There are indications that the earliest of these songs arose among the Breton followers of Hrodland or Roland; but they spread to Maine, to Anjou, to Normandy, until the theme became national. By the latter part of the eleventh century, when the form of the "Song of Roland" which we possess was probably composed, the historical germ of the story had almost disappeared under the mass of legendary accretion. Charlemagne, who was a man of thirty six at the time of the actual Roncesvaux incident, has become in the poem an old man with a flowing white beard, credited with endless conquests; the Basques have disappeared, and the Saracens have taken their place; the defeat is accounted for by the invention of the treachery of Ganelon; the expedition of 777 778 has become a campaign of seven years; Roland is made the nephew of Charlemagne, leader of the twelve peers, and is provided with a faithful friend Oliver, and a betrothed, Alda... Continue reading book >>




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