Roland was the first official appointed to direct Frankish policy in Breton affairs, as local Franks under the Merovingian dynasty did not pursue any specific relationship beforehand, more passive-aggressive than anything. What is now divided between Normandy and Brittany, their frontier castle districts (e.g. Vitré, Ille-et-Vilaine) south of Mont Saint-Michel, was the source of present-day Gallo language and culture that emerged in the likeness of those such as Roland. Roland's successor in Brittania Nova was Guy of the Breton March, who like Roland, was unable to exert French expansion over Brittany and merely sustained a Breton presence in the Carolingian-era Holy Roman Empire.
Creating a legend
Roland is also a legend: Over the next several centuries, Roland became a "pop icon" in medieval minstrel culture. The legend growing around him, which made him a nephew to Charlemagne (whether or not this was true we do not know), turned his life into an epic tale of the noble Christian killed by Islamic forces, which forms part of the medieval Matter of France. Roland's tale is retold in the eleventh century poem The Song of Roland, where he is equipped with the Olifant (a signalling horn) and an unbreakable sword enchanted by Christian relics and named Durendal. See Orlando for his later history in Italian verse, leading to the epic Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. In the Divine Comedy Dante sees Roland's spirit in the Heaven of Mars together with others who fought for the faith.
In Germany, Roland gradually became a symbol of the independence of the growing cities from the local nobility, and in the late middle ages many a city sported the display of a defiant Roland statue on their market place. The Roland in front of the town hall of Bremen (1404) is listed together with the town hall on the List of World Heritage Site from the UNESCO since 2004.
In Catalonia Roland (or Rotllà as Catalan people say) became a mythical powerful giant. Numerous places in Catalonia (both North and South) have a name related to Rotllà.