Some stories were actually written during
medieval times. Most were told orally for a very long time before they
were written down. They too tell us a great deal about life in the Dark
and Middle Ages.
The story of Beowulf was told orally for a couple of hundreds
years before an unknown poet wrote it down in the 700's CE. It is a
story full of action that tells how Beowulf cleverly defeats a horrible
Song of Roland: The poem, The Song of Roland,
was written around 1100 CE. It is a story in poem form about
Charlemagne and two of his advisors, one of which is a brave and
fearless warrior named Roland. Charlemagne was an incredibly popular
subject for poems and ballads. He was such a colorful character. Many
were also written about Charlemagne's 12 paladins - his 12 advisors -
his council of warriors. Over time, the word paladin began to mean any
hero in medieval Europe.
The Song of Roland was especially popular
because the bad guys in the poem were Muslims. As the poem goes, in
spite of the magical horn Roland used to call his men to battle, the
huge Moslem army surrounded Roland and his small band of men, and all
were lost. When Charlemagne heard about it, he called upon God to help
him, and destroyed the Muslim army in revenge.
This very famous 4,000 line poem was written right
before the crusades. Since the crusaders were leaving to fight the
Muslims, for the church and God, this poem really hit home. The
popularity of The Song of Roland gave birth to a great many
fanciful stories about the paladins in Charlemagne's time, as well as
the paladins of this time, the time of great Crusaders.
Comedy & The Canterbury Tales: In the 1300's, Dante
wrote the Divine Comedy, and Chaucer wrote the Canterbury