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Turpin

Archbishop of Rheims. A mythological contemporary of Charlemagne. His chronicle is supposed to be written at Vienne, in Dauphiny, whence it is addressed to Leoprandus, Dean of Aquisgranensis(Aix-la-Chapelle). It was not really written till the end of the eleventh century, and the probable author was a canon of Barcelona.

The romance turns on the expedition of Charlemagne to Spain in 777, to defend one of his allies from the aggressions of some neighbouring prince. Having conquered Navarre and Aragon, he returned to France. The chronicle says he invested Pampeluna for three months without being able to take it; he then tried what prayer could do, and the walls fell down of their own accord, like those of Jericho. Those Saracens who consented to become Christians were spared; the rest were put to the sword. Charlemagne then visited the sarcophagus of James, and Turpin baptised most of the neighbourhood. The king crossed the Pyrenees, but the rear commanded by Roland was attacked by 50,000 Saracens, and none escaped.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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