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  1. Martin Antonenko A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    The Basques take bloody revenge!


    In 778, Emperor Charlemagne (or Karl der Große, as the Germans call him)...

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    ...wages war against the Muslim Saracens, who at that time conquered most of today's Spain, and their allies.

    The culmination of his campaign is the destruction of the city of Pamplona in the Basque country, which is stormed by the Frankish troops and almost razed to the ground, killing almost all the inhabitants...:

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    The embittered Basques swear bloody revenge!

    On August 15, 778, Basque warriors ambushed the rear guard of the emperor's army retreating north in the valley of Roncesvalles (Navarre region)...:

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    In this narrow passage, trapped between the high mountains, the Frankish army is forced to march in a long and vulnerable line, with only a few men abreast. The country's Basque population, clearly outnumbered, are just waiting for the right opportunity to attack.

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    Lightly armed and accustomed to moving over the steep and rocky terrain, they let the main body of the army pass, only to charge the rear guard. The Franks, hardly mobile on their horses and with their long lances, are taken completely by surprise...:

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    The rear guard is cut off from the rest of the army and, together with the baggage train, is pushed into the background of the valley...:

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    A desperate fight breaks out in which the Frankish soldiers are killed down to the last man...:

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    The Basques plunder the train and hurry back into the mountains. The main army turns back immediately, but arrives on the battlefield too late.

    Among the dead are high dignitaries of the Frankish court: Karls Hausmeier Egilhard, Count Palatine Anselm (Robertiner) and the governor of the Breton March, Count Hruotland (here taking his oath of fealty)...

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    ... whom we know as "Roland"...:

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    His horn "Olifant" lies next to his corpse in this medieval picture, which is now exhibited in the Museum of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela...:

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    ... and his sword "Durendal" - which actually can't be lying there if the legend surrounding this weapon is true...:

    Legend has it that "Roland" wielded a miraculous sword called "Durendal" in whose hilt was locked a tooth of the apostle Peter, blood of Saint Basil and hair of Saint Dionysius, and a piece of the Virgin Mary's robe.

    Faced with defeat and his own death, the knight is said to have tried to destroy the weapon by throwing it against a rock.

    But the sword remained intact in the rock - as I said, according to legend.

    A monastery was later built on the site of the battle - and above the monastery the sword is said to still be stuck today - at least there is a rusty old weapon chained up there to protect against thieves...:

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    Through the "Rolandslied" the count became a symbol of loyalty unto death, bravery, freedom and chivalry in this country - and through his fiefdom to the emperor also a symbol of unity.

    All these "virtues" led to the Bremen people erecting a monument to him in 1404 on the main square of their city - today's market square - today the symbol of my city...:

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    As a symbol of unity, the Bremen statue of Roland rested

    The "Roland" survived the war unscathed in a brick shell filled with sand...:

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    "Roland" watches the cathedral since 1404...

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    ... because the people of Bremen didn't have it that way with the pope - as they also made very clear with a relief on the facade of the town hall (from 1405!):

    The Roman shepherd is just being disarmed (= disempowered!) by the emperor on the relief (= disempowered!) and gets just placed his staff exactly where it belongs according to the opinion of the people of Bremen...:

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    oldtrousers likes this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Fascinating stuff to read , looking at the Charlemagne picture , are his hands tattooed heavily ?

    Cheers

    Nap
  3. Martin Antonenko A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    No Tattoos!

    These are gloves...:

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    They belonged to the so-called "Reichskleinodien" ("Imperial Jewels"), i.e. to the coronation insignia of the emperor!

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    You can see the original parts at the Hofburg at Vienna...:

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    Cheers
    Nap and oldtrousers like this.

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