Of Horns and Heroes


Well-Known Member
In Medieval literature, the hero most famous for carrying a Horn is Roland. His horn was The Oliphant, said to be made from the tusk of an Elephant. (Boromir’s Horn was, “made from the great horn of a wild ox of the East”.)

Roland, of course, leading the rear guard of Charlemagne’s army as it exited Spain, was attacked by a vast host of Saracens. Despite the urging of his friend, Oliver, to blow his horn to call for aid from Charlemagne, Roland proudly refused, hoping that he and the rear guard could defeat the Saracens by themselves. It was not until all was too late, that Roland agreed to blow the Horn. He blew so loud and long that he burst his temples and died. Charlemagne heard the blast, and returned to avenge, but not in time to save, the rear guard.

How much do you think Boromir’s Horn is referencing Roland?

What would a compare and contrast between Boromir and Roland look like?

When Merry blows the Horn Call of Buckland on the Horn of Rohan, in ‘The Scouring of the Shire’ (in plenty of time to summon reinforcements, unlike Roland), is he also referencing Boromir and Roland?

Are there other heroes famous for carrying a Horn?