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

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.


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)