British Library Asks for Help Deciphering Medieval Sword | CNET #libraries #museums #language


Image Credit: The British Library

A sword on display at the British Library has an 800-year-old mystery engraved on its blade. Dating back to between 1250 and 1330 AD, the sword was discovered in the east of England, in the River Witham near Lincoln, in the 19th century. The sword is a particularly fine double-edged steel weapon of English design. It was most likely forged in Germany and belonged to a wealthy man or a knight.

 

The hilt is cross-shaped, which is normal for swords from this period of the Middle Ages, and is heavy enough to have cloven a man’s head in twain if swung with sufficient strength.

But the sword, on loan to the library from the British Museum, does have a couple of highly unusual features. Down the centre of the blade, it has two grooves known as fullers, where most blades only have one. On one side, it also bears an inscription:

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

It’s not the presence of the inscription that has researchers nonplussed, but its content: Experts don’t know what the inscription means. READ MORE: British Library asks for help deciphering a medieval sword | CNET.

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