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The most famous of Charlemagne's paladins, hero of the Chanson de Roland (12th century) and other medieval romances. He is said to have become a friend of Oliver, another paladin, after engaging him in single combat in which neither won. Roland was killed in a rearguard action at the Battle of Roncesvalles, refusing until too late to blow the horn Olivant to summon Charlemagne to his aid.

Roland for an Oliver an effective or adequate retort or response, taking Roland and his comrade Oliver as the type of a match in skill and courage; the phrase is recorded from the early 17th century.

Subjects: Literature.

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