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British Library Wants Your Help Solving An 800-Year-Old Mystery

sword.png

Do you like really difficult word games? The sort of crosswords that turn mortal men into gibbering wrecks, nibbling at a blunt pencil? Then the British Library has a task for you.

Admist the cases of their Magna Carta exhibit sits a double-edged sword, made in the 13th century, most probably from Germany. Discovere in the River Witham near Lincoln in 1825, it's an impressive blade - 964 mm long and some 1.2kg in heft.

The mystery that surrounds the sword relates to an inscription inlaid in gold wire that runs the length of the blade.

Blade

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

As of yet, no one has come forward with a suggestion for exactly what the inscription says. Marc van Hasselt, a researcher from Utrecht University, is confident it's written in Latin - similar to a host of swords he's dug up around Europe.

He believes the message starts with an incantation: "...NDXOX, possibly standing for Nostrum Dominus (our Lord) or Nomine Domini (name of the Lord) followed by XOX" - which he believes could be a reference to the Christian trinity. 

"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."

We like to think that were you to insert the sword into a very particular stone and read the incantation written on the blade, it would awaken a force the likes of which the Earth has never seen.

Knowing our luck, it probably reads "KEVIN IS DA BEST LOL".

(Via: British Library)

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