Shirin Azizeh Khanmohamadi deposited Durendal, translated: Islamic object genealogies in the chansons de geste in the group CLCS Mediterranean on MLA Commons 2 years, 9 months ago
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.