The Chanson de Roland, which cannot be posterior to the First Crusade - for the poem never alludes to it - already contains the idea of the Holy War against Islam.
New poems in abundance dealt with the history of the Crusades, either in a faithful narrative, like that of the Chanson of Ambroise, which narrates the Third Crusade, or in a free and poetical spirit, such as breathes in the Chanson d'Antioche.
This event is related in a Norman-French transcript of an old French chanson de geste, the Chancun de Willame - which only was brought to light in 1901 at the sale of the books of Sir Henry Hope Edwardes - in the Covenant Vivien, a recension of an older French chanson and in Aliscans.
Just as Arthur was eclipsed by his companions, so Charlemagne's vassal nobles, except in the Chanson de Roland, are exalted at the expense of the emperor, probably the result of the changed relations between the later emperors and their barons.
The character of Charlemagne himself undergoes a change; in the Chanson de Roland he is a venerable figure, mild and dignified, while later he appears as a cruel and typical tyrant (as is also the case with Ermanaric).