Chanson de geste

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(French, 'song of deeds')

Narrative poem recounting legendary heroic exploits of the time of Charlemagne (742-814). The poems (of which about 100 survive) date from the 11th to the 14th centuries, and were sung to short musical phrases, probably involving repetition, by trouvères (see minstrel). The most famous, La Chanson de Roland (early 12th century), recounts the death of Roland, one of Charlemagne's knights, with remarkable grandeur and pathos. The chansons de geste were predecessors of the verse romances written by Chrétien de Troyes. They strongly influenced Spanish heroic poetry as well as Italian and German Renaissance epics.
 
 

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