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Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles
 

THE PLACE NAME



Charlemagne's bronze sculpture (Museum Louvre, París). The defeat of his army in 778 influenced in the meaning of the place name.
Traditionally, Roncesvalles has been translated as "thorn valley" and from this interpretation comes the name in Basque, Orreaga (place of juniper), probably a deformation of an old place of that area called Orierriaga. Although other theories say that it has its origins in Erro- zabal "the Erro plain", the valley to which it was united during many centuries.

The following movements of pilgrims and emigrants from the other side of the Pyrenean, ended with a frenchified name (Rozabal, Ronzabal, Roncesvals, Roncesvaux,etc.) until it acquiered the current name. Without a doubt, the French influence has to do with the tragic defeat of Charlemagne's army in 778. After all, Roncesvalles was a thorn, a big thorn, in the French history.

After all, the name Roncesvalles, referred to, in its beginnings, to the small plain itself, and since the first years of the 12th century, referred to the village that is now Burguete.

Some decades after the Collegiate was founded, it was necessary to distinguish between the town and the hospital. The former, which was called "Burgo de Roncesvalles" or just, "Roncesvalles" during the Middle Ages, ended with the name, Burguete or "burguito", due to its size. The latter, the hospital in Roncesvalles, acquired the monopoly of the old name, although it appeared later.