The Unexplained: Can you crack the mysterious code?

The message is on a medieval sword.  It was discovered in a river in the 19th Century in Lincolnshire, 1825. (The British Museum)

Is the inscription on the double-edged sword religious, as indicated by the XO and ND—or is the inscription a battle cry? 

Here is your opportunity to crack a code—a code that no one has been able to crack—even the most learned historians are baffled.

The message is on a medieval sword.  It was discovered in a river in the 19th Century in Lincolnshire, 1825.  Found in the River Witham, the sword was crafted between 1250 and 1330.  It has a very sharply honed blade.  How many people did it kill, if any, and who were they?

Both edges of the blade are sharpened to the max, unusual, but not unheard of.  It has a distinctive cross-shaped hilt.  There are little hints that it was probably made in Germany.  Was it inscribed later, elsewhere?  Here are so many mysteries found in one lone artifact.

After it was discovered, the mysterious sword was given to The Royal Archaeological Institute by the Registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln, in the year of discovery, 1825.

It made its way to The British Museum.

Sara Marie Hogg

In years past, The British Library has appealed for help in cracking the 18-letter message.  What language is it?  The message is inscribed on the central groove and inlaid with gold wire.

The sword was loaned to The British Library by The British Museum for a few years to display with the Magna Carta exhibit:  Law, Liberty, and Legacy.   Near the sword is displayed an old illuminated text that depicts soldiers using similar swords.  It is an illustration of the French invasion of Normandy in 1203.

There are many who assumed that this double-edged sword is a Viking sword, but it has more characteristics of Medieval English design.  Is the inscription religious, as indicated by the XO and ND—or is the inscription a battle cry?  Most historians think that the language is old Welsh, but no one really knows.

The British Library was so overwhelmed by the offerings of amateur code-crackers with guesses and explanations, that they had to shut down further requests for help.  The mystery was not solved but confounded.

There are dozens of similar old swords floating around in the British Isles and Europe.  They also have cross-hilts and some even have inscriptions.  The Witham River Sword is perhaps the most distinctive.

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+     This is your code to crack.  There have been some educated guesses that the N is Nostrum Dominus, Our Lord, or Nomine Domini, Name of the Lord with XOX being the Holy Trinity.

No one really knows.

It is an unsolved mystery.

SMH

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Quite Curious, a collection of true stories about the bizarre and unexplained. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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