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Although its origins are obscure, The Song of Roland was almost certainly written by one hand.
The Song of Roland, as Dorothy Sayers remarks in the introduction to this fine translation, is "the earliest, the most famous, and the greatest of those Old French epics which are called Songs of Deeds". Writing around the end of the eleventh century, and recalling an actual disaster in 778, the anonymous poet describes in detail the betrayal and slaughter by Saracens of the rearguard of Charlemagne's army under Roland at Roncevaux and Charlemagne's bitter revenge. Nowhere in literature is the medieval code of chivalry more perfectly expressed than in this masterly and exciting poem.