RolandHT, and ask the internets.

I’ve put up the latest version of RolandHT. It can only be viewed with (freely available) Mozilla/Firefox, or another XSLT-aware browser. I don’t know of any besides Firefox, so if you do, please let me know the browser and the operating system(s) on which you’ve used it.

The site definitely needs a help section, and some more intuitive navigation. For now, a few usage notes:

– The links up top don’t do anything yet.

– Pick an excerpt from the list on the left. Mouseover themes/characters/imagery that show up over the sword, and see what happens. Then click on a theme or character or image, and see what happens now.

– Click on the red “reset” at top right to return to initial state.

– For three other nifty features, find the excerpt named “Missionary Work.” Click on the “i” beside the name of the work; click on the quill in the second stanza; mouseover any underlined word.

– Check out also the excerpt, near the very bottom, titled “Battle Near Saragossa.” Click on the image.

– If something seems aesthetically or functionally wrong, it would be lovely if you emailed me to let me know.

– This is a work in progress. If you see the word “check” where you expect information, I’m working on it.

In other news, a couple of questions for the internet. The first, in two parts, is Roland-related – I’d like to know more about two geographical locations. One is Terra Major:

“Could one achieve that Rollant’s life was lost,

Charle’s right arm were from his body torn;

Though there remained his marvellous great host,

He’ld not again assemble in such force;

Terra Major would languish in repose.”

Is TM a region? Is it in Europe? If not, what is it (another name for Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire?)?

The other place is a bit more mysterious, partly because it’s in Middle English:

Roulond rod furthe—he wold not rest, I wene—

he sawe wher a Sairsin seche hym wold,

kinge was of Criklond, croun[y]d with gold.

What, pray tell, is Criklond?

And finally, a non-Roland-related query: what’s your favorite slow-cooker recipe? Things I’m trying to stay away from: large chunks of boiled onions (I’ve disliked them since forever), and really heavy dishes like mac and cheese. Meat is great, veggies are great, seafood that’s sturdy enough to survive a slow cooker is great, wacky but tasty ingredients totally get bonus points. Non-desserts is what I’m after.

9 Responses to “RolandHT, and ask the internets.”

  1. nicole twn Says:


    Evidently it is some kind of lond.

    No, seriously. I don’t really know, but… the “king of Crikland” clause modifies “Saracen”, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s some sort of semi-mythical place that the Roland author figures the Saracen is from.

    As for Terra Major, all I can think of is that it might mean something like “Midgard” or “Middle Earth”–our world, as opposed to Heaven or Hell.

    Slow cooker recipes! I love my slow cooker. I love to make couscous and… um… the stew that goes with couscous. Among Algerians, and French people with ties to Algeria. (In French it’s “marga”. No idea what they call it in English.) Anyway. It gets better with long simmering, is my point.

    2 lbs. lamb stew meat (or chicken)

    Quart of broth

    Can or two of crushed tomatoes

    Can or two of chickpeas

    few zuchinni

    few carrots

    bell pepper(s)



    Spices: the fun part. Start with 1 tsp. cinnamon (actually, I usually cheat with ras al hanout), 1/2 tsp. cayenne, salt, pepper… and go from there.

    Cook all day on “low” or all afternoon on “high”. Serve over hot couscous.

    Good luck!

  2. sharon Says:

    I’d guess that “Criklond” is Greece, actually.

    (In de-lurking, I should admit that I’ve been reading words’ end via atom feed for some time. I’m trained as a medievalist / English literary type but am employed in editing / humanities computing, so I’ve been sort of eavesdropping on your similar-yet-different trajectory. Till very recently I was dissertating, too. :P )

  3. vika Says:

    Thanks, nicole and sharon!

    Nicole — the stew is cookin’. Didn’t take long!

    Sharon — welcome! I’m glad you’ve responded. I’m glad you have a hunch about Criklond; why do you think that it’s Greece? Not that I don’t believe you, I just need to substantiate the claim somehow. :) If you have any reference pointers, I’d love those too; haven’t had much luck on the net or in the library.

  4. sharon Says:

    No problem! Two dictionary entries: Bosworth-Toller, s.v. Créca (search “kurisuto bosworth” without quotation marks if the link is stripped); UMich MED Greklond. I’d like to offer at least one textual citation, but in the office I can’t. :)

    I’m not 100% certain that the initial c- continues during later Middle English; by the later fourteenth century one also sees “Grece,” thanks to French. (The MED citations of Lagamon’s Brut = mid-late thirteenth century.) Indeed, I’d be happier if the ME you’ve quoted looked a bit older. Which ME text is it, and from which edition? Looks fourteenth or fifteenth century.

    As for Terra Major–I suspect you’ve checked already, but does the recent Chanson de Roland edition (Duggan et al., 2005) have anything useful to say?

  5. Grand Text Auto » Hyper-Roland Says:

    […] Not that Roland! The one with the sword. Vika Zafrin has linked to the latest version of RolandHT (with instructions) for use on Firefox or some other XSLT-capable browser, if there is one. (OS X Opera seems to work, too.) Her project – not fully loaded with lexias as yet – is a humanities computing project that promises to have wide appeal to the casual reader as well as disciplinary use. It allows the hypertext reader to compare different texts, by different authors, and see how literature has engaged Roland as a character. This sheds new light on how the the loveable, muslim-fighting paladin went from his starring role in The Song of Roland to become, as the font of all encyclopediac knowledge says, “a ‘pop icon’ in medieval minstrel culture.” There’s some more background about the project online, and for those who really must skip the instructions, here’s the direct link. […]

  6. Passing Stranger Says:

    “Terra Major” probably means “Europe”. In the poem it means Charlemagne’s empire.

    At the site linked, line 1532, Climborins, the Sarasen, says :

    Tere Major ço dit, metrat a hunte,

    A l’emperere si toldrat la curone.

    Terra Major, he said, to shame he’ld put,

    From the Emperour his crown he would remove.

    Line 1666, the Sarasen force, battereed by the Franks, exclaim :

    «Tere Major, Mahummet te maldie!

    Sur tute gent est la tue hardie.»

    Terra Major, Mahummet’s curse on thee!

    Beyond all men thy people are hardy!”

    Line 1784, Ganelon, seeking to persuade, Charles, who has heard Roland’s first call, to continue onward to France,

    «[…] Tere Major mult est loinz ça devant.»

    “[…] Terra Major is far away, our land.”

  7. Ethan Fremen Says:

    A later edition will be aware of microsoft’s non-standard XSLT object initialization, so it might (sorta) work in IE, though the advanced CSS used might have issues.

  8. Andrew Says:

    I too have seen Greece referred to as some variant of “Greekland”. Just a vote of confidence — I have no idea where I saw it.

  9. Ben Brumfield Says:

    Mmmm. Firecracker Pork — essentially a spicy variation on carnitas.

    Take a pork butt, chop and add two cans of chipotles in adobo sauce, along with a dozen garlic cloves. Add salt. You know the rest.