Tradition and folklore hold that Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope on Christmas, but in real life it apparently did not happen until the following February. Still, Charlemagne’s anointing as Holy Roman Emperor on top of the kingly titles he already held was recounted as a Christmas tale for quite a while.
Most importantly, so much attention is paid to King Arthur – who may not have existed at all – that the real-life Charlemagne gets overlooked. But then reality has no place in the following look at the legends surrounding Charlemagne’s Paladins (Knights).
THE TWELVE PEERS – This term was the Charlemagne equivalent of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
If you’ll recall the reason that King Arthur’s table was round was so that nobody could be considered above the others in rank or status. The same reasoning applied with Charlemagne’s designation of his Paladins as Twelve PEERS or equals.
MAUGRIS THE ENCHANTER aka MALAGIGI – This magician was the Frankish equivalent of Merlin from King Arthur lore. Maugris was raised by a Fairy named Oriande and appears in a supporting role in many tales of Charlemagne’s Paladins, often in a mystical disguise.
Maugris was generally depicted as younger than Merlin is depicted, and often used a sword in combat. This Frankish Wizard had an Enchanted Tome in which information he needed could magically appear. Maugris often conjured up winged demons to use as flying mounts to transport him from one location to another.
BRADAMANTE – This female Paladin was the sister of Renaut de Montaubon.
Bradamante, who wielded an enchanted lance that unseated any opponent it touched, rescued her true love, the Saracen warrior Ruggiero from his captivity in a glass dome atop Mount Carena in Northern Africa.
The wizard Atlante was holding Ruggiero captive there in a mystical garden to prevent him from converting to Christianity and aiding Charlemagne. After Bradamante rescued Ruggiero he converted from Islam to Christianity and joined his true love as one of Charlemagne’s Paladins.
Bradamante’s parents preferred that she marry a nobleman named Leo but the female Paladin insisted she would only wed a man who could survive against her in battle. Ruggiero did so and the two were married. Legend holds that their descendants were the nobles of the House of Este.
ORLANDO aka ROLAND – Orlando’s significance in Charlemagne folklore and beyond means I will deal with him in a lengthy blog post down the road.
MORE TO COME SOON.
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