Durandal The Legendary Sword of Roland

The origin of Durandal has been shrouded in mystery over the centuries. Perhaps the best-known version of the Durandal legend is the one that states the sword belonged to the Trojan hero Hector, one of the greatest warriors of the Trojan War, and was given to the paladin Roland by one of the best-known enchanters, Maugris. Another version has it that it was Wayland the Smith, a mythical smith, who forged Durandal.

Pic Source: Vintage News
According to The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland), the sword was brought by an angel to Charlemagne who was at the vale of Moriane, and Charles then gave it to Roland. From the 12 legendary paladins in service of King Charlemagne, Roland was the most courageous. 

In that poem, the sword is said to contain within its golden hilt a tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Basil of Caesarea, hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, and to be the sharpest sword in all existence. Roland uses the sword to hold off a hundred thousand strong Muslim army long enough for Charlemagne's army to retreat into France.

And then, Roland attempted to destroy Durandal to prevent it from being captured by the attacking Saracens and created LaBreche de Roland in the Pyrenees in the process. However, Durandal proved indestructible, so he hid it beneath his body along with the oliphant, the horn used to alert Charlemagne.


Rocamadour, France
Pic Source: Wikipedia

Local folklore claims Durandal still exists, preserved in Rocamadour, France, embedded in a cliff wall. In the twelfth century, the monks of Rocamadour claimed that Roland threw the sword rather than hid it beneath himself.

Sources:
  • Mythological Swords by Rocky Pendergrass
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durendal
  • https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/03/03/legendary-swords-2/

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