The medieval cult of Orlando (or Roland) was born in the twelfth century thanks to the popularity of the epic poem, the Song of Roland, which told of the knight’s heroic defence of a Pyrenean pass during the Arab invasion of Europe in the eighth century. The cult was a predominantly north European affair, brought to Dubrovnik at the time the city was under the protection of the Hungarian king, Sigismund of Luxemburg, who passed through the city after his defeat by the Turks at Nicopolis in 1396. The legend of Orlando was subsequently adapted to Ragusan requirements by making him the saviour of Dubrovnik in battles against the Saracens, during which he fought a duel with a pirate called Spuzente (“Smelly breath”) – nobody seemed to mind that the real Saracen siege of Dubrovnik took place almost a century after Orlando’s time.

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Croatia features

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13 Nov 2017 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
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