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Beginning of the Chanson d'Aspremont

Beginning of the Chanson d'Aspremont

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1240

Shelfmark: Additional MS 35289

Item number: f.2r

Length: 26.5-00-00 00:00:00

Width: 17.5-00-00 00:00:00

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This manuscript contains a rare complete copy of the 'Chanson d'Aspremont,' or 'Song of Aspremont.' An epic or long poem, it was composed in the late 12th century in France and relates an action-packed tale of the hero Roland's early adventures, a kind of flash-back sequel to the late 11th century 'Song of Roland'. The plot revolves around the revenge sought by King Charlemagne, Roland's liege, against the Saracen king, Agolant. Charlemagne chooses the young knight Roland for the mission, which ends in battle at Aspremont. During the story Roland acquires his magical sword Durendal. Such works became quite popular with the book-reading nobility and middle class during 13th and 14th centuries, who valued them highly as entertainment. At its beginning, the story announces itself as "a good valiant chanson of Charlemagne," and "of Aumont and of Agolant and of Aspremont." The author promises to tell also of Roland and Durendal. The text is simply presented without the illustrations which appear in some contemporary chanson manuscripts.

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