Pal-a-din. >n. historical
~Any of the twelve peers of Charlemagne's court, of whom the count palatine was the chief.
~A knight renowned for heroism and chivalry.
Late 16th cent.: from French paladin, from Italian paladino, from Latin palatinus '(officer) of the palace.'
Fascinating! I had to know more. I searched and found a website called TimelessMyths.com, and read about the legendary Twelve Peers of Charlemagne.
"The Twelve Peers were Charlemagne's elite paladins or knights - the corps d'elite. The Twelve Peers were sort of like Arthur's Knights of the Round Table.
According to all tales, Roland was the leader of the Twelve Peers. Roland was the Charlemagne's best paladin, as well as the king's nephew.
Each paladin was a formidable warrior. And each peer has a companion to fight alongside him. Roland had Oliver as his companion. So in the time of battle they fought in pair. It is not so much to defend each back, as to kill as many of their enemies, matching the prowess of their companion. For a knight or paladin, courage and glory are paramount to them."
[Read full article here.)
Another website I found had this to say about Charlemagne's Paladins:
In medieval European legend, (medieval relating to the Middle Ages in Europe, a period from about A . D . 500 to 1500 ) the paladins were 12 brave knights who were loyal followers of Charlemagne, the king of the Franks and founder of the Holy Roman Empire. The name paladin —from a word meaning a person attached to the court—implies that the knights may have resided at the royal palace.
The paladins appear primarily in a series of legends surrounding Charlemagne, his adventures, and the history of the Frankish kingdom. Many were said to play important roles in the Crusades and battles against the Muslims. Among the most famous works in which some of the paladins appear is the Chanson de Roland (Song of Roland), a French poem written in the 1000s. A number of paladins also appear in Italian legends, though under slightly different names.
So now I'm very excited. A whole new legend I never knew about! Just like King Arthur and his Round Table Knights, the Twelve Peers -- whatever truth lies in their story -- inspired storytellers' imaginations. As a storyteller myself, I can say that my imagination is most definitely inspired. I'm totally going to have to tell the others about this...
Comment if you have anything to share about Charlemagne's Twelve Peers/Paladins. I love to learn!