Essay about Christendom and The Song of Roland

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The Song of Roland is the oldest epic poem in French, written by an anonymous poet, composed in between late eleven century to twelfth century. This epic poetry holds an important place in the history of France and invention of Christendom. The Song of Roland is a cultural artifact that takes us to the journey of Medieval Europe, when religion becomes an important element for the formation of proto-Europe. Religion plays a crucial role in The Song of Roland and becomes the reason of criticism. Some readers might take this poem as a religious text, whereas, for some reader it is a fictional literary work and contain ideological perspective. The Song of Roland cannot be consider as a religious text, however, the poet uses religion for …show more content…

The time, when The Song of Roland was composed, is the era of creating national identity for diverse kingdoms to unite and form a harmonious cultural area. To recognize the “self” it becomes important to separates the “other” in terms of race, religion and culture. For The Song of Roland, religion is selected to separate “others”. The misrepresentation of Muslims as pagans can be found throughout the poem, which helps Christians to recognize themselves righteous and superior to Muslims. Davies Norman quotes T.S. Eliot in Europe: A History, “The dominant feature in creating a common culture…is religion… I am talking about the common tradition of Christianity which has made Europe.” (Norman qtd. Eliot 9). Eliot emphasizes the importance of Christianity for Europe. Christianity become a symbol for medieval Europe and gives a label of “Christendom” to the nation.
The self-recognition by separating others continues. In thirteen and fourteenth century, Christians gain prejudice by persecuting and demonizing Jews. George M. Frederickson quotes Joshua Trachtenberg in Religion and Invention of Racism, “Not being a human being but a demonic, a diabolic beast fighting the forces of truth…was the Jew as medieval Europe saw him.” (Frederickson 21). Followed by Dante Alighieri illustration of Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradiso) in The Divine Comedy in 1321, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was placed in

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