Renaud de Montauban.
Renaud de Montauban Hero of an Old French chanson de geste of the same name (also known as Les Quatre Fils Aymon ["The Four Sons of Aymon"]), whose story may contain elements of prehistoric myth and whose theme long survived in folktale and ballad throughout western Europe. Renaud slays Charlemagne's nephew after a quarrel over chess, and, mounting his marvelous steed Bayard (which understands human speech), he barricades himself with his brothers in the rock fortress of Montessor. Their father, Aymon, helps to besiege them. They finally escape to Dortmund. Renaud turns to a life of religion and helps in the building of Cologne Cathedral, for which he will accept no wages. His envious fellow workers murder him and throw his body into the Rhine River, where it is conducted upstream by choirs of angels and buried in state.
The French poem, dating from the late 12th or early 13th century, was more than 18,000 lines long; a Middle Dutch version was the ancestor of an early 17th-century Volksbuch ("chapbook") version. Spanish "Reinalte," or "Reinaldos," versions (including a play by Lope de Vega) derive partly from French sources and partly from Italian "Rinaldo" poems, which proliferated from the 14th century up to the composition of Torquato Tasso's first epic poem, Rinaldo, in the second half of the 16th century.