Already from far you see Roland’s Arch above Rolandseck. He reminds us of Roland and Hildegunde, two lovers who were not blessed with a happy end.
This legend takes places in the Early Middle Ages in Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire. Charlemagne had led his army to Spain, but had no sucess and his soldiers had The e Frankish Realm, The Arabic Empire had become a world power: 711 the Arabs, coming from North Africa, had conquered the Empire of the Visigotes in Spain, 732 they stood in front of St. Martin’s Church, Tours, France, and were met by the Frankish army under Karl Martell. The legend refers to this battle.
Hildegunde of Drachenfels and Roland of Rolandseck loved each other dearly and wanted to spend their lives together. Hildegunde waited many long months for his return or a letter from him. Then she got bad news: the Franconian army had had to retreat from the greater strength of the Arabs and Roland, who was in command of the rearguard action, had been killed in the valley of Ronceval. Hildegunde was desperate, she couldn’t image a life without Roland. In deep grief she took the veil to live in the nearby convent on the island of Nonnenwerth.
Against all expectations, Roland did come back one year later, but Hildegunde now lived nearby, yet inaccessible to him in the convent. Many long hours Roland sat by his window on the castle Rolandseck and looked down on the convent, and Hildegunde didn’t find peace either. Both suffered terribly.
One morning a squire found his master Roland dead, he had hanged himself right by the window. At the same time the bells in Kloster Nonnenwerth were ringing .. Hildegunde was born to her grave.
The picture is from the German Wikipedia, public domain section.