Mythical Sword’s Disappearance Brings Mystery to French Village

As legend has it, a sword from God given to Roland, an 8th century military leader under Charlemagne, was so powerful that Roland’s last mission was to destroy it.

When the blade, called Durandal, proved indestructible, Roland threw it as far as he could, and it sailed over 100 miles before slicing through the side of a rock face in the medieval French village of Rocamadour.

That sword, as the story goes, sat wedged in the stone for nearly 1,300 years, and it became a landmark and tourist attraction in Rocamadour, a small village in southwestern France, about 110 miles east of Bordeaux. So residents and officials there were stunned to discover late last month that the blade had vanished, according to La Dépêche du Midi, a French newspaper.

An officer with France’s national police force in Cahors, a town 30 miles southwest of Rocamadour, said that the sword disappeared sometime after nightfall on June 21, and that the authorities opened an investigation after a passerby reported the next morning that it was missing.

The officer, who declined to give his name, emphasized that the sword is “a copy,” but acknowledged that it had symbolic significance.

He referred further questions to the office of the prosecutor of the republic in Cahors, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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