The story of the Song of Roland goes like this:
The poem shows the story of Charlemagne attaining gifts from the Muslim King. This, of course, was intended as a trap. Roland sends Ganelon, his stepdad, to negotiate with the Muslims. Ganelon is outraged at this and swears to get revenge at Roland. So, instead of negotiating with the Muslims, Ganelon sides with them and betrays the French. After Ganelon returns to Charlemagne and fools him, roland volunteers to lead Charlemagne’s men into battle. One of these men lead into battle is Oliver, Roland’s best friend. When Oliver sees the Muslim army coming towards them, he tries to convince Roland that Ganelon betrayed them. Roland refuses to believe it, but by the end of the first battle, Roland agrees with Oliver that Ganelon is a traitor. Oliver begs Roland to blow his trumpet for reinforcements from Charlemagne. Three times Roland refuses. Oliver believes that it is dishonorable to be outnumbered and die when there is still a time to call for help. Roland does not believe that. In fact, he believes exactly the opposite. Oliver told him that victory should be their priority, not honor. When the second wave of Muslims came, Roland finally agrees to blow the trumpet. In the end, the two switch sides. Roland dies a martyr, and Oliver dies at the hand hand of a Muslim soldier. Charlemagne hears the trumpet’s call for help and drives of the enemy Muslims.
The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving major work of French Literature. According to Wikipedia, “The Song of Roland is an 11th-century chanson de geste based on the Frankish military leader Roland at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne.” According to Cornell College, “Olivier: Roland’s best friend, comrade, and the brother of Aude. He is also referred to as Oliver.” This poem has been twisted from the real historical event of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 into a poem that was romanticized to fit what can be bluntly described as Christian propaganda. The real Battle of Roncevaux Pass was an invasion of Spain by the ruler Charlemagne to help one set of Muslims defeat another set of Muslims. In this battle he attacked a Basque Christian city. In this battle he retreated and his rearguard was ambushed and defeated by the Basques. Europeans liked listening to this poem, despite the fact that there were several changes and was not historically accurate.
This poem was meant as a recitation (according to google, this word means “the action of repeating something aloud from memory”), so it may have been difficult for them to spot some of the discrepancies (according to google, discrepancies means “a lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more facts”), however, there are so many discrepancies that people are likely to spot a few of them. One of them is the numbering of the troops. At the beginning of the poem, Charlemagne’s army had 140,000 troops. Then he fought the Muslims, won, and lost 20,000 troops. Later, Charlemagne numbers his troops and counts 335,000 troops. This is all very inconsistent.