Roland is one of the eight legendary heroes of Elibe, who fought against Dragons during the civil war between dragons and mankind known as "The Scouring". He is also the founder of the Lycian League, which is a country made up of a cluster of territories located in the center of the continent of Elibe. Roland was also the first Marquess of Ostia, Lycia's ruling territory.
Roland used the blazing sword, Durandal, a divine weapon which is effective against Dragons to fight them during the Scouring. The sword is said to be quite large, even though Roland is a small person in size. Due to his height Athos, another of the 8 Legendary Heroes, called Roland the 'Little Knight'.
In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Eliwood, Hector, Lyn and company enter a cave in the Lycian Territory of Ostia to recover the Durandal to use to fight Nergal. After defeating the ghastly guardians of the blade, they approached where the blade was kept. When they did a ghostly apparition of Roland appeared. Roland's soul has apparently been kept intact within the cave to watch over Durandal.
Roland's ghost speaks with Eliwood and Athos briefly, and in the conversation it is revealed that Roland's spirit would pass on if the blade was removed from the cave. Despite this however Roland's ghost insists they take the blade, saying that he'd be happy knowing he could help his 'children' as Hector and Eliwood were descendants of Roland.
It seems most likely that Roland himself was of the Hero class. Athos referred to him as the 'Little Knight', although in the Japanese version he is referred to as 'Little Hero' instead. Meanwhile, in the intro to Eliwood's mode, he is referred to as a "Champion" ("Hero" in the Japanese version). It is perhaps more likely for him to have had his own class, as both of the other living heroes out of the eight do. Although, this is all speculation.
In French medieval legend, 'Roland' was one of Charlemagne's Twelve Peers, or Paladins, the greatest knights in the land. Roland is typically portrayed as the best fighter among the twelve, and Charlemagne's favorite, but brash, reckless and proud; he often throws himself headlong into fights without thinking them through.
Many 'gestes,' or epic poems, were composed about his adventures in Charlemagne's France, but the most famous is "La Chanson de Roland" (The Song of Roland), in which the Saracens of Spain, in allegiance with Roland's treacherous uncle Ganelon (who had earlier been offended by Roland's insinuations of his cowardice), trick Charlemagne into a false truce. Charlemagne leaves Spain, and as his rearguard, led by Roland and the other eleven Peers, is crossing the Pyrenees Mountains through the Roncesvalles Pass, hundreds of thousands of Saracens attack the vastly outnumbered French. Roland refuses to blow his horn, the Olifant, to summon Charles' main force, and consequently the French are all killed, but not before a tremendous battle, during which the French kill every Saracen. After the battle, Roland, the only remaining Frenchman and on the verge of death, tries to destroy his sword Durandal so that the Saracens won't be able to take it; he smashes it against a rock, but instead of the sword breaking, the rock does. Charlemagne returns and defeats the other Saracen forces, and then the French knight Thierry fights an trial-by-arms against Ganelon's relative Pinabel to condemn Ganelon for treachery towards Roland. Thierry wins and Ganelon and all his relatives are executed.