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Mythical sword wedged inside a rock near a French village mysteriously disappears

The sword called Durandal was apparently wielded by a French knight Roland and was given to him by Charlemagne, the king of Franks.
Cover Image Source: X | @F_Desouche
Cover Image Source: X | @F_Desouche

The tale of the mythical sword called Excalibur, which was pulled out of a stone by King Arthur and was said to have magical powers, has well known through the ages. But it turns out that a French village had its own real-life version of the sword which was wedged in a rock. Known as the Durandal sword, it has a lot of mythical stories attached to it as well, per indy100.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Zain Abba
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Zain Abba

The sword had remained in a small clifftop south central French village called Rocamadour for more than 1,300 years before it went missing on June 22, 2024, leaving locals and authorities puzzled. According to old tales, the Durandal sword belonged to a brave warrior named Roland whose heroics can be found in an 11th-century epic poem titled "La Chanson de Rolan." The poem is one of the oldest surviving pieces of French literature where Durandal was mentioned as the sharpest sword of all time that could even cut through stones with a single strike.

Another story about the sword claimed that it preserved the tooth of Saint Peter, the blood of Saint Basil the Great, the hair of Saint-Denis, and a piece of Virgin Mary's cloth within its golden hilt. The sword was supposedly given to the King of Franks, Charlemagne by an angel and was later passed down to Roland by him. Roland died at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass but he allegedly tried to destroy the sword by striking boulders with it before that. The sword escaped the clutches of his enemies, miraculously flew hundreds of miles, and got embedded in the cliff face of Rocamadour.

Image Source: 109th Tour de France 2022, Stage 20 a 40,7km individual time trial from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour, France. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)
Image Source: 109th Tour de France 2022 at Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour, France. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

According to CBS News, an Italian epic "Orlando Enraged" mentioned that Durandal also belonged to the Trojan prince Hector once. Another story, originating in Rocamadour states the true Durandal was actually deposited in one of the many chapels that surround the courtyard but was stolen by Henry the Young King in 1183, as per Plantagenet Discoveries. But as far as the recent disappearance is concerned, there are no leads about who could have possibly stolen the iconic sword.

“We will miss Durandal. She is part of Rocamadour. Rocamadour feels stripped of a part of herself,” the town’s mayor, Dominique Lenfant, told local paper La Dépêche du midi. “Even if it is a legend, the destinies of our village and this sword are intertwined." But many others debate if the Durandal sword was merely a replica of the original sword or not. Father Florent Millet, the rector of the sanctuary at Rocamadour, stated that "the top tourist attraction was merely a worthless replica."


Father Millet told ActuLot that the sword that brought in crowds of tourists to the French village was merely an "umpteenth copy" of the original. Still, UNESCO declared Rocamadour as a World Heritage Town. According to The Independent, the sword was valuable enough for the locality that a town councilor and a security guard accompanied the sword during its return journey from an exhibition at Cluny Museum in 2011.

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