A mountain pass, 1,057 m (3,468 ft) high, through the western Pyrenees in northern Spain. According to tradition, the Frankish hero Roland died there fighting the Basques during Charlemagne's retreat from a failed campaign against the Moors (778).
587), is generally understood to have taken place not here but at Roncesvalles, which is nearly 40 m.
Thence his line stretched along the Pyrenees by the passes of Vera, Echallar, Maya and Roncesvalles, to Altobiscar; his immediate object now being to reduce the fortresses of San Sebastian and Pampeluna.
He had not visited Spain since the disaster of Roncesvalles, but he continued to take a lively interest in the affairs of that country.
The account in the Chanson de Roland of the trial of Ganelon after the battle of Roncesvalles must have been adopted almost intact from earlier poets, and provides a striking example of the value of the chansons de geste to the historian of manners and customs.
The traditions of Charlemagne's fights with the Norsemen (Norois, Noreins) are preserved in Aiquin (12th century), which describes the emperor's reconquest of Armorica from the " Saracen " king Aiquin, and a disaster at Cezembre as terrible in its way as those of Roncesvalles and Aliscans.