According to the French version, its "gold pommel" held some kind of a "holy relic". In the Middle High German adaptation (Konrad der Pfaffe's Rolandslied) the sword is called Mulagir, touted to be the "best seax (type of sword) in all of France", described as having a carbuncle shining on its pommel, and forged by a smith named Madelger in Regensburg.
Dorothy L. Sayers, a translator of The Song of Roland suggests the sword means "Death brand" (See #Similarly named swords below). Belgian scholar Rita Lejeune gave the meaning "Moorish sword," but Arabist James A. Bellamy proposed the Arabic etymology māriq ʾalyas meaning "valiant piercer".
^Rolandslied vv. 1585–8; Thomas, J. W. (translator) (1994), Priest Konrad's Song of Roland / translated and with an introduction by, Columbia, S.C.: Camden House
^Lejeune, Rita (1950), "Les noms d'épées dans la Chanson de Roland", Mélanges de linguistique et de littérature Romances, offerts à Mario Roques: 163, cited (and given in English) by Bellamy 1987, p. 274, note 34