Written in both prose and verse, the Renaut de Moutauban chronicles the life of Renaut, who flees Charlemagne’s royal court after killing the emperor’s nephew, Bertolai, in a fight. Although Renaut and his company initially find safety in Gascony, Charlemagne and his forces eventually catch up with him and compel him to make peace, on the condition that he travel to Jerusalem. Renaut never returns from his trip, retiring instead to a monastery in Cologne where he dies while constructing a cathedral.
The Renaut de Montauban in verse is one of several chansons des vassaux rebelles that were copied in Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth century, such as the Girart de Roussilon and Doon de Mayence.
Venice Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana fr. 16
Jacques Thomas, L’épisode ardennais de ‘Rennaut de Montauban,’ edition synoptique des versions rimées, 3 vols. (Brugge: De Tempel, 1962), III, 7-109.