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Charlemagne in Vincent’s Mirror: The Speculum Historiale as a Source of the Old Norse Karlamagnús Saga

Charlemagne in Vincent’s Mirror: The Speculum Historiale as a Source of the Old Norse Karlamagnús Saga

Hieatt, Constance B.

Florilegium, vol. 1 (1979)

Introduction

The Old Norse (largely, but not exclusively, Norwegian) translation of the cycle of chansons de geste centering on Charlemagne and Rolan, Karlamagn s Saga, is mostly based on Old French (or Anglo-Norman) texts; however, aside from one section which is clearly based on a Middle English original, it is often difficult to be sure exactly what language the translator(s) was (were) working with. Two exceptions exist: Part IV, “The Saga of Agulandus,” which is in large part based on the Latin Pseudo-Turpin chronicle, and Part X, which is, for the most part, drawn from the Speculum historiale of Vincent of Beauvais. Vincent is not without influence elsewhere in the saga translation; he was obviously one of the sources of the later version of the fourth part of the saga. What I wish to examine here, however, is the one portion of the saga for which Vincent appears to have been a basic source, Part X, “Miracles and Signs” – referring to signs that Charlemagne was elect, a true saint.

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