Without enemies, there would be no heroes. And it rings true that if there are no Saracens, then there would be no Frankish knights. So in this page, I have listed some of the Saracen rulers and warriors that appeared in the chansons de geste, particularly that are found in the Chanson de Roland.


 
Baligant
Marsile
Bramimonde
Blancandrin
Valdabrun
Malpramis
Aelroth
Grandonie
 








Baligant
 

The Emir of Babylon. Baligant was the father of Malpramis and brother of Canabeus. Marsile, the Moorish king of Spain, was one of Baligant's many vassals.

It should be noted that this "Babylon", is not the city in Mesopotamia (in modern Iraq). The legend referred Babylon to Old Cairo in Egypt.

According to Chanson de Roland, Baligant was a very old man, "...outliving Virgil and Homer". It is not clear, if he lived in the time of Virgil and Homer, or just referring to that the emir was older than these two poets. Despite the age, he was a powerful warrior, just like Charlemagne.

Though, Baligant received missive from Marsile's seven years before, when Charlemagne first invaded Spain, the emir didn't arrive, until the ambush was taking place in Rencesvals. By that time, Marsile lost the battle, lost his son, and lost hand in battle. Since he has no heir, Marsile surrendered the city to Baligant. Baligant hoped to avenge Marsile by defeating Charlemagne's army. He was seriously considering invading France.

Baligant has a sword, called Preciuse, and his spear was called Maltet.

As the tide of battle was turning against Baligant, he confronted Charlemagne, wounded him, but lost his life.

 
Related Information
Name
Baligant.

Related Articles
Malpramis, Canabeus, Marsile, Charlemagne.



Marsile
 

A Saracen king of Spain. Marsile was actually a vassal to Baligant, the king of Babylon. His capital in Spain was Saragossa. His wisest adviser was Blancandrin.

Marsile was the husband of Bramimonde, and father of Jurfaleu the Blond.

His horse was named Gaignun.

When Charlemagne had previously send an embassy to Marsile, he had foolishly killed the Frankish brothers, Basan and Basile. This was why seven years later, Roland opposed making peace with Marsile, when Blancandrin came with such offer.

Marsile fought well at Rencesvals, despatching Bevon, lord of Beaune and Dijon, as well as three of the Twelve Peers – Yvoire, Yvon and Gerard of Roussillon. Roland seeing their death, severed Marsile's hand, before killing Marsile's son, by decapitating Jurfaleu.

Wounded, Marsile fled back to Saragossa. Most of Marsile's army were routed later, upon late Charlemagne's arrival; some of his men were killed by Charlemagne's knights, but others drowned at River Ebro.

Baligant arrived with his army that evening, where Marsile handover his city and kingdom to Baligant. Dying and deprived of his heir, Marsile thought it was best if Baligant took his crown. He died when Baligant was killed in battle.

 
Related Information
Name
Marsile, Mqrcilie, Marsille, Marsilies, Marsilun, Marsiliuns.

Related Articles
Baligant, Charlemagne, Roland, Ganelon.



Blancandrin
 

A chief counsellor of Marsile.

It was Blancandrin who masterminded the false peace treaty between his king and Charlemagne. Blancandrin offered to be the peace envoy for Marsile, in order to gain peace with Charlemagne, where he met Ganelon, but the real plan was to get the Frankish army to leave Spain. Blancandrin had even offered his own son as hostage to Charlemagne; his son's death was better than his king losing his freedom and kingdom.

When Blancandrin noticed Ganelon's treacherous nature in his return to Saragossa, he urged Ganelon to betray Charlemagne and the Franks. With Ganelon and Marsile, they formulated the plan to ambush the Twelve Peers and the troop of 20,000 strong Frankish warriors, hoping that Charlemagne losing his nephew would force the Franks to leave Spain in defeat. However, Marsile and Blancandrin underestimated Charlemagne desire to avenge the slaughter of the Twelve Peers and twenty thousand knights.

Blancandrin was not mentioned in taking part in the Battle of Rencesvals; after he returned to Saragossa, he was not heard again in the chanson.

 
Related Information
Name
Blancandrin, Blanchandrins.

Related Articles
Marsile, Ganelon, Charlemagne, Roland.



Aelroth
 

A boastful nephew of Marsile.

In the Chanson de Roland, Aelroth asked his uncle to let him be the one to strike down Roland, the leader of the Twelve Peers. He also asked the king to select for him twelve companions who would confront the Twelve Peers.

However, when he encountered Roland, he was the first to be killed in battle. When Aelroth hurled insults at the Franks, Roland's reply was a javelin, which severed Aelroth's spine.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Marsile, Roland.



Malpramis
 

A son of Baligant.

In the battle against Charlemagne, Malpramis rode into battle on a pure white horse. Malpramis killed many Frankish knights, before he eventually subcumbered to the lance of Duke Naimes.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Baligant, Malpramis, Charlemagne, Naimes.



Canabeus
 

King of Floredee. Canabeus was the brother of the emir Baligant, and uncle of Malpramis.

In the battle between Baligant and Charlemagne, Canabeus witnessed his nephew falling to Duke Naimes' spear. To avenged Malpramis' death, Canabeus attacked Naimes with his sword. The blade had cut open the helmet, and left a bleeding gash on the duke's face. Though, stunned by the blow and from the wound, it was not mortal, but Canabeus would have killed him, had Charlemagne not rescued his wisest adviser. Charlemagne pierced Canabeus through the heart; the shield and hauberk failed to protect him.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Baligant, Malpramis, Charlemagne, Naimes.



Valdabrun
 

A Saracen nobleman and warrior. Valdabrun was a vassal to Marsile. Valdabrun seemed to be Marsile's admiral, since it say that he commands a thousand galleys at sea. According to Chanson de Roland, Valdabrun had captured Jerusalem through treachery, and robbed the Temple of Solomon.

At Saragossa, Valdabrun was among those who befriended Ganelon, Roland's treacherous stepfather. When Ganelon conspired with Marsile to bring down Roland and the Twelve Peers, Valdabrun gave a valuable sword to Ganelon, as well as 1000 gold mangons.

At Rencesvals, he brought down the paladin, Samson, when he drove his pennon through the body, but Roland avenged his fellow paladin, by cutting Valdabrun in half.

Gramimund was the name of Valdabrun's horse.

 
Related Information
Name
Valdabrun.

Related Articles
Marsile, Ganelon, Samson, Roland.



Grandonie
 

A Saracen prince. Grandonie was son of King Capuel of Cappadocia. His horse was named Marmorie. His spear had the blue ensign.

Grandonie was one of Marsile's better warrior. He killed Guiun from Saint-Antoine and Austorie of Valence. Grandonie had also killed three of the Twelve Peers: Gerin, Gerer and Berenger, before he met his own death at the hand of Roland. Roland cut down him and his horse, splitting him in half.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Marsile, Roland.









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