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In twelfth century Europe the Crusading spirit reached its peak. Remission of sins was granted by Pope Urban before an assembly of the Frankish aristocracy at Clermont in 1095 for all those who died fighting Holy War. In the legend of Charlemagne and Roland which was part of the Book of Saint James of Compostela, the emperor’s archbishop similarly granted remission to those who went to fight against the Saracens of Spain. The depictions of a victorious emperor riding over the vanquished enemy seen on the facades of churches along the pilgrimage roads to Compostela was intended to evoke the memories of the Christian Roman Emperors Constantine and Charlemagne and looked forward to the Last Emperor of prophetic legend. Using the Romanesque sculpted images of the churches of Aulnay de Saintonge, Parthenay-le-Vieux and Oloron-Sainte-Marie, this film considers the mindset of pilgrims and crusaders of the twelfth century as they travelled along the road to Compostela.

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