Rocamadour’s famous sword in the rock is missing, theft suspected

The sword was made famous by an epic of French literature

The sword was embedded into the rock of a cliff in Rocamadour
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Police are investigating after the suspected theft of a mythical sword that was embedded in a cliff in the hill-top village of Rocamadour, south-central France. 

Durandal was the famed sword of Roland, the protagonist of La Chanson de Roland, an epic poem and the oldest surviving major work of French literature. 

The sword was embedded in a cliff face in Rocamadour (Lot) until it went missing on Saturday, June 22. 

“We will miss Durandal. She is part of Rocamadour. Rocamadour feels stripped of a part of herself, even if it is a legend, the destinies of our village and this sword are linked", the local mayor, Dominique Lenfant, told regional newspaper La Dépêche du midi

However, the sword, a popular sight among visitors to the Unesco World Heritage town, was the “umpteenth copy” of the original, Father Florent Millet, rector of the sanctuary of Rocamadour, told ActuLot, confirming there was no historical value to the replica. 

La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland), written in the 11th century, recounts the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in the year 778 during the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne. 

It describes how an angel brings the sword to Charlemagne, who passes it on to his nephew, Roland. 

The epic poem details how Roland stood his ground, holding off Saracen enemies and allowing many of his troops to escape back over the Pyrenees. He uses the sword to kill many men during the battle, then hides it beneath his body before he dies, so it will not be captured. 

Local legend in Rocamadour says that, according to 12th century monks, Roland actually threw his sword, rather than hid it, creating a crevice in the wall. 

Locals are stumped as to how the thieves managed to remove the sword, which was embedded into the cliff high above the ground and attached by a chain.