British Museum is asking for help to decipher an inscription

The British Museum is asking for help to decipher an inscription on a medieval sword.



I can't help with that, but it seems to me that Inscribed Sword should be a minor virtue.

This is not really a topic to actively involve a games forum in.

The inscription you quote is from the sword of Alphen aan den Rijn, and is reasonably well explained by Marc van Hasselt of Utrecht University as an invocation - among others of Saint Martin. You link the article ... CAD590a51e referring to that explanation.

The River Witham sword presented by the British Museum on ... sword.aspx has a shorter inscription, +NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+ . It is likely also an invocation, but consists completely of unusual shorthands and symbols that may not even be letters. Attempting to read it requires at least rare expertise of obscure worldly paleography of the time.

Trying to explain its meaning just from Latin is like trying to explain Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo just from English.


Here's a reading just for fun, made over breakfast.

We have to decipher +NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+. We take that apart into +NDXOX-CHWDRGHD-XORVI+, and assume NDXOX and XORVI to be generic parts of an invocation, just like similar parts of the inscriptions on the Alphen sword.

This leaves CHWDRGHD, which doesn't really look like weird Latin shorthand. The River Witham blade is supposed to be German - so we look for medieval German saints which might fit CHWDRGHD. It would be great, if there were a single German saint with some relation to swords or sword manufacture, wouldn't it?

Now have a look at .

Lorsch Abbey is known for having manufactured weapons, and suspected to be a source of Ulfberht-swords. See ... -1.2188338 on Ulfberht-swords for this:

(sorry, German medieval history needs to resort to German sometimes)

So Chrodegang would be just great. It doesn't look very much like CHWDRGHD?

Then we just take one of the many other ways to write his name. We look at has a similar list)

And we look closely at the R in CHWDRGHD: it does not resemble the R in XORVI at all. It is rather a full sized n minuscule, and might also mean an E.

So CHWDnGHD = Chuodegad = Chrodegang of Metz, saint-founder of weapon-manufacturing Lorsch, where Ulfberht-swords may have been made?