• The transfer of Saracen arms into Frankish ownership is a leitmotif of
    many chansons de geste, but one whose significance for translatio imperii has yet to be
    elucidated. In this essay, I focus on the Chanson d’Aspremont, a twelfth-century epic
    set in Calabria that narrates the pre-history of Durendal, Roland’s sword of Song of
    Roland fame, as an object inherited by Roland from its former royal Muslim owner.
    Drawing on cultural history and a number of object-translation models derived from
    material and spolia studies, I read the sword’s symbolic transfer as evidence of Norman
    desire for and appropriation of former Fatimid imperium in Sicily.