From an Old French personal name of Germanic (Frankish) origin, from hrōd ‘fame’ + land ‘land, territory’. This was adopted by the Normans and introduced by them to Britain. In Old French literature it is borne by a legendary Frankish hero, a vassal of Charlemagne, whose exploits are told in the Chanson de Roland. The subject of the poem is Roland's death at the Battle of Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees in 778, while protecting the rearguard of the Frankish army on its retreat from Spain. Roland is depicted in literature and legend as headstrong and impulsive. His devoted friendship with the prudent Oliver is also legendary.