THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

03 August 2015

Help Us Decipher This Inscription

Last week (3 August) we blogged about the medieval sword on display in the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition. We have been thrilled by the number of enthusiastic comments and suggestions we have received about this sword. Due to the phenomenal range of suggestions, it’s unlikely that we will be able to decipher the mysterious inscription before Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy closes on 1 September — indeed, it could be a mystery that may never be solved! — but we would like to offer huge thanks for all your thoughts and ideas, which have come from all corners of the globe.

The message board on this blog post has now closed, but we encourage you to continue sharing ideas about what the code might mean on Twitter. Please follow our Medieval Manuscripts Blog and @BLMedieval Twitter feed for more news and views from the team.

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Visitors to Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy may have noticed that we have one or two objects on display, in addition to the many manuscripts and documents telling Magna Carta's 800-year-old story. One of those objects is a double-edged sword, found in the first section of the exhibition, on loan to the British Library from our friends at the British Museum. The item in question was found in the River Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and was presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. It weighs 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) and measures 964 mm (38 in.) in length and 165 mm (6½ in.) across the hilt; if struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two. 

BM-Sword

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A double-edged sword, 13th century, possibly of German manufacture but discovered in England in the 19th century (British Museum 1858,1116.5): image courtesy of the British Museum

An intriguing feature of this sword is an as yet indecipherable inscription, found along one of its edges and inlaid in gold wire. It has been speculated that this is a religious invocation, since the language is unknown. Here's what the inscription seems to read:

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

 

BM-Sword detail

Detail of the inscription of the sword

At our exhibition this sword is displayed alongside a 14th-century manuscript of the Grandes chroniques de France, open at a page showing the French invasion of Normandy in 1203. The men-at-arms in that manuscript are wielding swords very similar to the one with the strange inscription.

Royal_ms_16_g_vi_f365v

The French invasion of Normandy in a manuscript of the Grandes chroniques de France (British Library Royal MS 16 G VI, f. 365v, detail)

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, is on display at the British Library until 1 September 2015, see our exhibition website for ticketing details. All the items can also be seen on our Learning site, and in the catalogue, edited by Claire Breay and Julian Harrison, that accompanies the exhibition (now on special offer at £15).

 

Postscript (7 August, updated 10 August)

Thank you to everyone who has read and shared this blogpost, and for those who have left their enthusiastic comments and suggestions. We're very grateful for your assistance in helping us to decipher this mysterious inscription. We have received several pages of comments -- to view them all, please use the forward/backward button at the foot of this post. Please note that comments on this post have now closed. 

The following note has been kindly added by Marc van Hasselt (Utrecht University, Hastatus Heritage Consultancy).

 

The River Witham Sword in its European Context

Inscribed swords were all the rage in Europe around the year 1200. Dozens of them have been found, from England to Poland, from Sweden to France. While researching a specific sword-blade found in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, I found around a dozen other swords which had striking similarities. One of those swords was the River Witham sword, making it part of a large international family. Using the excellent research by Thomas Wagner and John Worley, an image of a hugely successful medieval workshop was created, making ‘magical’ swords for the elite. The swords themselves are of a high quality, but what most catches the eye are the inscriptions. Both their mysterious contents and the similarities in the lettering are striking. A sword from Sweden might use the same slightly curved X as the River Witham sword. A sword currently in Berlin has an I-S contraction also used on a sword found in the Netherlands. These similarities go so far as to suggest the same hand in making the inscriptions. However, their contents are still a mystery, regardless of their origins.

There is some debate on the language used in the inscriptions. But looking at the other European finds, it seems most likely that this language is Latin. This makes sense in the context of 13th-century Europe, as Latin was the international language of choice (like English is today). To elaborate, let's compare the River Witham sword to the sword from Alphen: both start with some sort of invocation. On the River Witham sword, it is NDXOX, possibly standing for Nostrum Dominus (our Lord) or Nomine Domini (name of the Lord) followed by XOX. On the sword from Alphen, the starting letters read BENEDOXO. Quite likely, this reads as Benedicat (A blessing), followed by OXO. Perhaps these letter combinations – XOX and OXO – refer to the Holy Trinity. On the sword from Alphen, one letter combination is then repeated three times: MTINIUSCS, which I interpret as Martinius Sanctus – Saint Martin. Perhaps a saint is being invoked on the River Witham sword as well?

By putting together pieces of the puzzle from all over Europe, we might come a little bit closer to solving the mystery. And even if we cannot decipher the inscriptions completely, they might bring us a little closer to understanding our ancestors.

Further reading:

http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/digitalAssets/203/203037_3medieval-christian-invocation-inscriptions-on-sword-blades.pdf

http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/digitalAssets/196/196842_how-to-make-swords-talk---an-interdisciplinary-approach-to-understanding-medieval-swords-and-their-inscriptions.pdf

Inscription on the Sword from Alphen:

+BENEDOXOFTISSCSDRRISCDICECMTINIUSCSDNI+

+DIOXMTINIUSESDIOMTINIUSCSDICCCMTDICIIZISI+

Comments

The whole thing is encrypted in a simple substitution cipher, using letter X as a word separator.
After a little bit of work, we find the clear text as follows: +WE A LIBERTIE ARMY+
A couple of remarks:
1) This spelling for liberty is unusual, but has been used in the distant past.
2) The first word could be "he" and the last could be "arms". All are equally possible.

I am curious to know if the inscription on the Witham sword of Germanic origin could be a combination of Christianic and Germanic prayer, or worship.

I am very impressed by the explanation Marc van Hasselt gave, both on the Alphen sword and this Witham sword.

Christian and Latin abbreviations seam clear, leaving the characters WDN yet to be deciphered. That is, if indeed the strange R is in fact a strange N.

And the sword is believed to be from Germanic origin.

Could this part WDN then refer to the Germanic "god" Wodan ?

Wodan, the "god" of life and death...

In addition, I really would like to see a picture of the reverse side as well...

Kind regards, Frank

The inscription appears to be a mixture of (abbreviated) Middle Dutch and Latin. It could read something like "Take up this cross (i.e. the sword) or the Cross of Christ, because either bear this cross or abandon (it)!"

The X is a pictogram for both the Cross (Latin CruX) of Christ and the (cross-shaped) sword.

N = Nem or Neme ("Take up") [imperative singular of Middle Dutch "nemen"]
D = Dit ("This")
X = Cruce ("Cross", i.e. the Sword)
O = Of ("Or")
XCH = Cruce Christi ("the Cross of Christ")
W = Want ("Because")
DRGH = Draagh or Draegh ("Bear") [imperative singular of Middle Dutch "draghen"]
DXO = Dit Cruce Of ("This Cross Or")
RUI = Relinque ("Abandon (it)") [Relinque = imperative sing. of Latin relinquere]

Mary de Laat

X's are spaces

leaving

ND O CHWDNCHD ORVI

Where ND O ORVI stands for

dominus noster omnipotens orbi

which is

Lord our God, Ruler of the world

Where

CHWDRGHD

could be the German word for

Schwertträgende = swordcarrying? But than medieval spelling like (s)CHW(erd)DR(ä)GH(en)D(e)

Bit funny to see Latin and German together, so still a longshot....

So in total it could mean:

Lord our God, swordcarrying Ruler of the world

(after inspiration of Peter Buitendijk)

The characters in the middle are more widely spaced than those at the beginning. At the end of the line, however, spacing is much narrower, suggesting that the blacksmith was trying to make up for the lost space in the middle. If so, he wanted to include all 18 characters in the available space.

There are examples of similar inscriptions elsewhere in Europe.
In Denmark an inscription on a sword reads NDIC
A sword found in Stevensweert (Netherlands) reads ‘NEXORENEXORENEXORENEXORENS+’
In a sword found in Berg the inscription is in French :’ +RG DIEU NS DXG DIEU NS DIEU N+.
The partial translation that is given for DIEU NS is ‘Dieu notre seigneur’ or ‘Sauveur’. The most probable meanin is Sauveur because an inscription found on a sword in Gacilly (France) points in this direction. ‘SNenO NEXORE D Ne ROE.. S’
The translation that is given here is
SNEnO / Salvatoris Nomine nostri Omnipotensis : Au nom de notre Sauveur Tout-Puissant.
NeXORE / Nomine Christi Omnipotensis Redemptaris Eterni : Au nom du Christ Tout-Puissant Redempteur Eternel.
D / Domini : Seigneur.
Ne / Nomine : Au nom de.
ROE? ? S : Il peut s'agir d'un nom de famille, d'un prénom ou de la suite de l'invocation: Redemptoris Omnipotensis Eterni.
Entre le E et le S, l'espace peut être comblé par 2 caractères.

So in all these inscriptions the interpretations point to ‘God, Christ, our Saviour’. This is quite understandable when you think of the situations in which swords are used. The texte on the first ‘Dutch’ sword is just a repetion of Nomine Christi Omnipotens Redemptoris Eterni.
The same ‘Saviour’ aspect is probably behind the inscription on this particular sword.
X stands for Christ
ND: Nomine Domine
R: propably redemptor/saviour (Rex?)
O: omnipotent
Etc…?
See: http://www.lagacillypatrimoine.com/index.php/article-epee.html
http://wiki.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl/Het_Zwaard

The acronym for Destro is DS. I worked at a Fiat dealership for 24 years and it was DS (right) and SN (left), and GD for right steering and GS for left steering.

A 'palindromic acronym', as mentioned by "Saralva I". The 'W' is really an 'M' and the strange letter is simply an 'U', upside down like the 'M'. As Saralva said, also the 'V I' is an 'N' like the first letter (first, when we read as everyone has done till now). I read: N DXOXCH MDU CHDXO R VI, is N DXOXCH MDU CHDXO R N. The group befor MDU mirrors the group after, the only strange one is an R instead of an X. So that means ReX, I think. No doubt the group N DXO CH is a Christian invocation. We now only need a king "MDU".

Or, of course, a king UDM.

In the archives of the Archaeologic Institute in Novosibirsk, Russia, there's a sword (found by Vyacheslav Molodin) with other abbreviated inscriptions. Not quite the same as on this one, but the similarity of the letter "O" with some kinda curve on the left inside struck me.

Further reading: http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/features/f0013-could-rare-sword-have-belonged-to-ivan-the-terrible/

So, King William, as in "UlilliaM"? Cf. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Lion

Once again, to be clear. A ''palindromic acronym' ("Saralva I"). I read: NDXO X CH MDU CH DXO R VI = NDXO X CH MDU CH DXO R N. I understand the NDXO CH as being the same Christian evocation as CH DXO N. We are then left with the letters X, MDU, R. I read those van right to left: R and X make ReX, U and M make UilliaM, the D is an extra Dominus, no doubt to point to the view that kingship is given from God.

Has anyone considered the inscription to be a mnemonic aid to recalling a prayer or invocation? Each letter on the sword being the first letter of a word or phrase. The first N, either a form of "noster" - our, or "nomine" - in the name of. The second, D, "dominus" or one of many forms of Deus.

Nomen
Dei
Christos
Omnia
Chrstia
Caelis
Hic
Warantus
Deus
Regia
Gratia
Hic
Dixus
Christos
Omnia
Regia
Vobiscum
Isti

Not very good, but meaning approximately:
Name of Eternal Christ our Lord.
To the promised glory of God our heavenly Christian Kingdom.
Let these words of Christ our King be with all.

Honestly said maybe your interpretation is wrong. I've been fencing with swords for quite some time now. And this looks like your average typical simple one handed sword. Judging by the wear and tear, it has been used accordingly.
This is a practical weapon, not a show weapon. It will probably have been sheeted in its scabbard for most of its life. There comes also that the inscription is not in a practical place. Decoration on the blade doesn't make a lot of sense. And to make matters worse, to read the inscription, you would have to hold the sword in the Wrong hand!
I'd say this is a practical number. Like a serial number. X's are probably Chi's separating parts of the sword.
Some of these might designate an Ora, place of origin. Or a chronogram inside the text. But I think it is just a plain serial number.
I don't know much about ancient languages, but I know a lot about using swords. They are tools, only the rare few are ceremonial. Study this sword, as you would study the inscription on a screwdriver.

First excuses for my terrible english and for being a layman. I know nothing about latin, and little few of history at that time. But I do like puzzles. All what has been written above gave the direction in thoughts what the inscription could mean. Reading: twelved century, maltese cross and scicilie the connection was made to the catharian people. They had their own religion based on christianity. And they went to England too. So maybe the summary is:
ND nomini domini (in the name of the lord)
XOX (holy trinity)
CH can be reffering to christiana homines (the way they profess their religion) ???
WDR Maybe is de W a double VV referring to . venerable DR (Dominus regina/us (christ or virgin mary ?)
About CH DX Orvi , in latin related languages the v pronounse as b. So with some free interpretation we can read orbi (the earth) .
So maybe the inscription can be read in the way of good power from heaven, the reincarnation of christ and pure believe of people on earth itself. It's a lot to trust on! A gnostic version before the catholic religion destroyed it. "As above, so below.",just as in hermeticism.

Could it be Anglo-Saxon runes? Like the Seax of Beagnoth.

Because of the crescent moon i believe the sword belonged to someone who fought in a religious war.

Because of the cross I'm thinking of Knights of the Teutonic Order, or the Livonian Brothers of the Sword or the Order of Christ (founded after the fall of the Knights Templar).

I was also wondering if the last characters (vi) could actually refer to the number 6. Maybe it was part of a name r... The 6th.

The text as given reads +NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

Given some uncertainties of script (the W, N/R, C/G, V/U) and (contrary to some comments) some unusual details of abbreviation, I read this as a bi-lingual (Greek and Latin) blessing, combining masculine and feminine denominators/ separators (as previously suggested) as follows:

+ NDX O XC H MDRC H DX ORVI +

1. There is a semi-palindromic element: i) + as 'inclusio'; ii) O four letters in each way, iii) and H seven letters in; iv) with the central most challenging letters as (in my reading) (inverted) MDRC.

2. Depending on the final reading, the text is basically Latin ("acronyms"/ mnemonics and nomina sacra) with ? masculine and feminine Greek articles to differentiate 'gender', and the surrounding signs of the Cross.

3. The quite beautifully written Greek (not Maltese, and not Latin; all arms of equal length) cross at beginning and end (with pleasing serifs), acting as an inclusio, indicates that there is a blessing on this sword. This detail supports a bi-lingual reading: a Greek opening and closing signum. - The blessing indicates the divine ownership of the sword, requiring that no one 'messes' with it improperly. No one has noted that both crosses, at beginning and end, have little 'wing' marks between the two arms of the cross (to R, in the first, and to L, in the final one). I do not know what these signify; but they are certainly deliberately balanced.

4. ND could in theory be nostri domini or noster dominus, but the usual order (contrary to previous suggestions) is DN. I therefore read NDX: noster dux (our Captain/ leader - i.e. my owner) [is] O ( = Greek def. masc. article) XC, where (as in all icons) these two letters are the first and final letters of the name of Christ in capital letters: XPICTOC - Christos. Thus: 'Our Captain is Christ'... DX is written with first and last letters because this was not a regular usage; though others could attempt some form of translation with 'Our Lord ...' All suggestions of OXO or XOX referring to the Trinity are without foundation.

5. The central section is the trickiest, as everyone recognises. I take H, next, to be the corresponding *feminine* denominator (Greek again, as the first O) to indicate the second and parallel 'owner' of the sword: Mater Dei Regina Coeli/ orum. That this is so is suggested by the further bracketing of the four central initials within a second capital Greek H (f. def. art.)- perhaps as a further protective, sanctifying device. Her protection is ? central. Thus: '[and] the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven'. The fluidity of the capitalistion , the variable script, and the real uncertainty about the place and existence of a W, both at this time, and in either Latin or Greek, therefore suggests an inverted M. Before and after each H, there are six letters.

6. DX is then repeated. So far: 'Our ( = 'my') Captain is Christ [and the] Mother of God, Queen of Heaven'. Now the inscription returns to define the nature of Christ's 'leadership/ captaincy': he is DX ORVI - Leader, Captain, Commander, Guide, General. Grammatically, the Latin *should* read ORBIS, but the sense of an imperfect command of Latin on the part of the engraver goes hand-in-hand with the fluidity of script - [Christ] is 'Commander of the [whole] world.'

Problem: if we read ORVI/ ORBI (V & R being routinely variable in pronunciation - cf. Spanish) in this way, we destroy the symmetry of the two 'O's 4 letters in as separate modifiers. However, I do not see any other way of giving coherent sense to the RVI at the end. (We would ??have to guess or fantasise about a King (R), with a name not given, King [unknown] the VIth?) But that wd in turn destroy the blessing and dedication of the sword to and by Christ and the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. The language is all entirely possible and consonant with the religious thought of the 13th century.

7. In sum, this is indeed a knight's sword, as previously assumed. It is inscribed to let it be known that this person is fighting for the armies of Christ and [the Virgin] Mary; its owner, Leader and Lord/ Commander [Jesus] Christ, with Mary, Queen of Heaven, have given it their blessing. Anyone who finds this sword, or defeats the knight in battle, should know to whom - ultimately - the sword belongs, even if it is thrown away either because the knight has fled, or because he has been captured and his sword thrown away to demonstrate that he (and the Christian soldiers) have been defeated.

The sword, originally dedicated to and given the blessing of - ultimately - God (as inscribed: Jesus and Mary), may now be the evidence that in one battle, this Christian army was defeated, and their power broken. Contrary again to a previous idea, this is very specifically a Christian knight's sword.

Someone like Prof Helen Castor of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, would be well able to assess and advance the work so far done on this sword. While at first a bi-lingual script might seem unlikely, it is in fact not at all so, given the linguistic, religious and military arts of the 13th century, and the mixed relations between North and South, East and West Christendom.

I am just going to confuse things a little bit more (I'm a historian, it's sort of what we do); just as the W might actually be an inverted M, so the R/N (10th letter) might be an inverted I-S contraction. This letter does jump out as being different from the rest - it doesn't look like the N (1st letter) or the R near the end. And we do see contractions like it on, for instance, the sword from Alphen. Food for thought.

In a more general sense, the inscription might have been a mystery even in the time when the sword was made - it adds to its 'magic', in a way. Perhaps only the craftsman who made it and the person who it was made for truly knew what it meant. Perhaps that is also why many of these swords were 'put to rest' in a river - it's dangerous to have such magical objects just lying around, after all.

As an aside, I have studied Historical European Martial Arts myself and while a sword is certainly a tool, it is also a symbol. They can have both a practical and ceremonial use, one does not exclude the other.

I think this should be read backwards, from right to left. The X's are then used to seperate words. Thus it reads:
IURO (I swear by oath)

DICNDWHC:
The C's could be G's. the N is strange and could be an upside down U, likewise the W could be an M:
DIGUDMIC or other alternatives
(Dignissimo? Dignos?

O DN (O Domines Noster, O, Our Lord)

The second word could be a verb meaning something like 'serve'., 'follow'' etc:
I swear by oath to... O, Our Lord.

I solved the code
I have to say it was easier (15 minutes) than getting any response from BL.
Anyway here is the answer and explanation.

The CODE is;

OBJECTIVE OF THE SERVANT OF GOD I

or

I AM OBJECTIVE OF THE SERVANT OF GOD

If we break down the letters in to smaller pieces and assume that all the X’s are SPACE then I come to the next words.

ND (should be NOD) NOD = Objective
O = Of
CHW (should be CHWAS) = Servant
GHD (should be GOHD) = GOD
ORVI (should be ORI) = Of I


When you translate Welsh into English the outcome is not the same.
I translated Welsh into German and Dutch, with only these two languages you can re-translate into English.

This makes me believe that the sword was indeed produced in either the region Germany or Holland and the words are
therefore non translatable directly from Welsh to English.


This all fits in perfectly with the current exhibition at BL.
MAGNA CARTA

To be more precise
The Knights Templars

There were Templars with Welsh origin who also spread into the German region.

It makes sense that some words were lost in translation. Not everyone had an internet connection , word and google back in these days. So a typo in a word or phonetic write down could have been the case.

Good example from that period is the name from the black knight.
He looked Moorish and that is where the name Maurice came from or in German Mauritz.

The sword comes from the 13th century which is the period of the Templars.
It is German and it is a so called; Medieval German Sword with round Pommel

The Teutonic Order followed the lead of the Templars and Hospitallers by creating a system of provinces.

Membership of this mostly German-speaking order was composed of various, distinct classes: knights, priests, and other brothers.

Though the Templars got lands in Germany as early as the year 1130, their acquisitions were not large in that country till the thirteenth century.

I am trying to get the name of the blacksmith and the owner of the sword.

The place where the sword was found , Lincolnshire, was one of the last strongholds of the Templars.

So I am now investigating all known knights with Welsh background who went to German and came back to Lincolnshire.

The text as given reads +NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

Given some uncertainties of script (the W, N/R, C/G, V/U) and (contrary to some comments) some unusual details of abbreviation, I read this as a bi-lingual (Greek and Latin) blessing, combining masculine and feminine denominators/ separators (as previously suggested) as follows:

+ NDX O XC H MDRC H DX ORVI +

1. There is a semi-palindromic element: i) + as 'inclusio'; ii) O four letters in each way, iii) and H seven letters in; iv) with the central most challenging letters as (in my reading) (inverted) MDRC.

2. Depending on the final reading, the text is basically Latin ("acronyms"/ mnemonics and nomina sacra) with ? masculine and feminine Greek articles to differentiate 'gender', and the surrounding signs of the Cross.

3. The quite beautifully written Greek (not Maltese, and not Latin; all arms of equal length) cross at beginning and end (with pleasing serifs), acting as an inclusio, indicates that there is a blessing on this sword. This detail supports a bi-lingual reading: a Greek opening and closing signum. - The blessing indicates the divine ownership of the sword, requiring that no one 'messes' with it improperly. No one has noted that both crosses, at beginning and end, have little 'wing' marks between the two arms of the cross (to R, in the first, and to L, in the final one). I do not know what these signify; but they are certainly deliberately balanced.

4. ND could in theory be nostri domini or noster dominus, but the usual order (contrary to previous suggestions) is DN. I therefore read NDX: noster dux (our Captain/ leader - i.e. my owner) [is] O ( = Greek def. masc. article) XC, where (as in all icons) these two letters are the first and final letters of the name of Christ in capital letters: XPICTOC - Christos. Thus: 'Our Captain is Christ'... DX is written with first and last letters because this was not a regular usage; though others could attempt some form of translation with 'Our Lord ...' All suggestions of OXO or XOX referring to the Trinity are without foundation.

5. The central section is the trickiest, as everyone recognises. I take H, next, to be the corresponding *feminine* denominator (Greek again, as the first O) to indicate the second and parallel 'owner' of the sword: Mater Dei Regina Coeli/ orum. That this is so is suggested by the further bracketing of the four central initials within a second capital Greek H (f. def. art.)- perhaps as a further protective, sanctifying device. Her protection is ? central. Thus: '[and] the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven'. The fluidity of the capitalistion , the variable script, and the real uncertainty about the place and existence of a W, both at this time, and in either Latin or Greek, therefore suggests an inverted M. Before and after each H, there are six letters.

6. DX is then repeated. So far: 'Our ( = 'my') Captain is Christ [and the] Mother of God, Queen of Heaven'. Now the inscription returns to define the nature of Christ's 'leadership/ captaincy': he is DX ORVI - Leader, Captain, Commander, Guide, General. Grammatically, the Latin *should* read ORBIS, but the sense of an imperfect command of Latin on the part of the engraver goes hand-in-hand with the fluidity of script - [Christ] is 'Commander of the [whole] world.'

Problem: if we read ORVI/ ORBI (V & R being routinely variable in pronunciation - cf. Spanish) in this way, we destroy the symmetry of the two 'O's 4 letters in as separate modifiers. However, I do not see any other way of giving coherent sense to the RVI at the end. (We would ??have to guess or fantasise about a King (R), with a name not given, King [unknown] the VIth?) But that wd in turn destroy the blessing and dedication of the sword to and by Christ and the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. The language is all entirely possible and consonant with the religious thought of the 13th century.

7. In sum, this is indeed a knight's sword, as previously assumed. It is inscribed to let it be known that this person is fighting for the armies of Christ and [the Virgin] Mary; its owner, Leader and Lord/ Commander [Jesus] Christ, with Mary, Queen of Heaven, have given it their blessing. Anyone who finds this sword, or defeats the knight in battle, should know to whom - ultimately - the sword belongs, even if it is thrown away either because the knight has fled, or because he has been captured and his sword thrown away to demonstrate that he (and the Christian soldiers) have been defeated.

The sword, originally dedicated to and given the blessing of - ultimately - God (as inscribed: Jesus and Mary), may now be the evidence that in one battle, this Christian army was defeated, and their power broken. Contrary again to a previous idea, this is very specifically a Christian knight's sword.

Someone like Prof Helen Castor of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, would be well able to assess and advance the work so far done on this sword. While at first a bi-lingual script might seem unlikely, it is in fact not at all so, given the linguistic, religious and military arts of the 13th century, and the mixed relations between North and South, East and West Christendom.

William the Conqueror???
http://www.historyinanhour.com/2012/09/09/william-the-conqueror-summary/

Latin abbreviations:
http://classics.case.edu/asgle/bookshelf/abbreviations-in-latin-inscriptions/

N = nobilis = noble
D = domini = lord/leader
X = Christ/thousands/millions
O = omnia = (of) all
X = Christ/thousands/millions
C = caesar = emperor/heir to the throne
H = hominum = people / hereditatium = inheritance
W = William????
D = domini = lord/leader
N (?) = nostram = our('s)
G = ?
H = hominum = people / hereditatium = inheritance
D = domini = lord/leader
X = Christ/thousands/millions
O = omnia = (of) all
R = rex = king
V = vir = man
I = invictus = invincible/undefeatable

Using two (highly speculative) methods, I came up with the following:

Method 1: ('Right', 'Hood' and '16th' - in that order - are the only words I could decipher. Everything else is structured around those three words. Punctuation added for the sake of convenience.)

Option A) RIGHT HERE, HOOD. REIGNED AS DAVID UNTIL 16TH
Meaning: Buried here is Hood - presumably the original inspiration for the fabled Robin Hood. He 'ruled' as David/Dabid (i.e. 8th Earl of Huntingdon - commonly associated with Robin Hood) until the 16th. The Earl died on 17th June, therefore the 16th would have been the last time he 'reigned' for a full day.

Option B) RIGHT AND TRUE, HOOD REIGNED UNTIL 16TH
Meaning: Roughly the same, but instead of specifying his burial location, it names his virtues. Doesn't connect 'Hood' to the Earl.

Option C) [RIGHT AND TRUE or RIGHT HERE], HOOD, SON OF DAVID, THE 16TH
Meaning: First bit as above. The rest is a bit sketchy. It proposes that 'Hood' was John, the son of the above-mentioned David. John was the 9th Earl of Huntingdon and 7th Earl of Chester - 9+7=16.

Method 2: (Inscription is divided into three segments as below)

Part i: NOMINE DOMINI (Short for, 'In the Name of The Lord')
Part ii: FROM CALEDONIA, [The] HONOURABLE DAVID, RULER [of] HUNTINGDON (Latin: Ex Caledonia Honorabilis Dabid* Rex Huntingdon) (*Dabid being Welsh, not Latin)
Part iii: 16TH (same date as in method 1)

If this is correct, then the sword would have been made after his death, either as a grave marker or a tribute. This last fact could possibly be confirmed by examining the state of the sword. If it does not appear to have been used in battle, then it would indicate that it was merely plunged into the ground or thrown out to sea shortly after being manufactured. Then again, 600-or-so years under water and another 200 in a museum may render any such investigation inconclusive.

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