The Song of Roland

by

Anonymous

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Baligant Character Analysis

Baligant is the emir of Babylon, whose help Marsilion requested seven years earlier. After Charlemayn chases the Saracens back to Saragossa, Baligant finally arrives with his massive navy to face Charlemayn on the dying Marsilion’s behalf. Marsilion grants Baligant the kingdom of Spain in return. Though Baligant is portrayed as a respectable ruler and even resembles Charlemayn in certain respects—he has a flowing beard and is deliberative, wise, and even pious in his own way—he is ultimately slain by Charlemayn, allowing the emperor to decisively conquer Spain at last.
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Baligant Character Timeline in The Song of Roland

The timeline below shows where the character Baligant appears in The Song of Roland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Laisses 187–202
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
When Charlemayn first occupied Spain seven years ago, Marsile sent letters to Baligant of Babylon, an ancient emir, requesting his aid against the French, or else Marsile would... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
...of what happened at Roncevaux and wishes someone would slay her. Clarien assures her that Baligant has come to find and conquer Charlemayn, but the queen is skeptical that anyone can... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Marsile speaks up and says that he will give Spain to Baligant—as he has no living heir—and advise him on how to conquer Charlemayn. He gives the... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
The Ideal King Theme Icon
When Baligant enters, Marsile has two aides help him sit upright, and he offers his glove to... (full context)
Laisses 203–226
The Ideal King Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
...for home, the pagan vanguard approaches. The envoys ride ahead to give Charlemayn the Emir Baligant’s challenge. Charlemayn thinks only momentarily of his grief before loudly calling the French to arms.... (full context)
Laisses 227–240
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
The Ideal King Theme Icon
...They ride through the mountain passes and into the Spanish frontier. Meanwhile, scouts return to Baligant and report Charlemayn’s stubbornness and his men’s determination to fight. Baligant admits that the Emperor... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
The Ideal King Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
Baligant, too, dresses himself in armor adorned with costly gems, and he carries his sword, Précieuse—named... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
The Ideal King Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
The Emir Baligant has a white beard, and besides his bravery in battle, he is “in council a... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Baligant’s men make up a formidable army—30 columns made up of men from wide-ranging lands, including... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Before them all, Baligant rides with a dragon-standard and “the flag of Termagant and of Mahound.” As the Paynims... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
...French and Paynim armies now face one another in open country, with nowhere to hide. Baligant orders his men forward, and they all call upon Précieuse. In response, the French cry,... (full context)
Laisses 241–264
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
...king. Meanwhile, Malpramis piles up corpses as he searches the field for Charlemayn. Seeing this, Baligant urges the first of the Paynims to his aid, and “grievous grows the strife,” like... (full context)
The Ideal King Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
...whatever the cost. When Duke Naimon sees Malpramis wreaking havoc, he makes his way to Baligant’s son and cleaves him through the chest, killing him. Baligant’s brother, Canabeus, sees this and... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
...giving way, and the French sustaining great losses. In the midst of the grim fight, Baligant calls upon his gods—Mahound, Apollyon, and Termagant—and promises to make images of them in gold... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
...him today. But he should fight on, and his men will back him. At this, Baligant lets his beard flow forth freely so that his identity can’t be mistaken. He blows... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
...with Naimon, Geoffrey d’Anjou, and Ogier the Dane. The latter spurs his horse and sends Baligant crashing to the ground, causing the Emir to feel frightened for the first time. The... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
Charlemayn and Baligant, equally brave, brandish their swords, sparks flying off their shields and helmets as they fight.... (full context)
Christianity vs. Paganism Theme Icon
The Ideal King Theme Icon
Loyalty, Honor, and Chivalry Theme Icon
Then, Baligant strikes such a blow that Charlemayn’s helmet splits, and a hand-sized piece of flesh is... (full context)