Mysterious Inscription of River Witham Sword

The River Witham knightly sword, was found in 1825 in the River Witham near Lincoln carries a mysterious inscription which has baffled historians for centuries. It’s believed the 13th century sword originally belonged to a medieval knight and it is likely of German origin. The blade bears an inlaid inscription reading +NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+. The weapon's length is 960 or 964 mm (38 in.) in length. The hilt of the weapon measures 165 mm or 6.5 inches. The blade itself is 815 mm in length.

According to the British Museum, the River Witham sword was forged in Germany, which was then the blade-making center of Europe. And pre-Christian Germanic tribesman inscribed runes onto their swords, axes and armor to "endow the items with magical powers," the Fyris Swords Project researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Waffen- und Kostümkunde (Weaponry and Costumes) in 2009.
The Mysterious River Witham Sword

So far it’s been suggested the inscription may be a battle-ready phrase in medieval Welsh, the first letters from a poem or even complete gibberish fabricated by an illiterate craftsman.

Is the message some kind of magical incantation, meant to empower the weapon's owner with mystical abilities during battle? Perhaps the inscription is a religious blessing, or maybe it's just the complicated signature of whoever forged the weapon.

It's possible that this ancient tradition was carried over to Christian times and that the inscriptions on the blades were therefore meant to "invoke God’s holy name and his grace to gain support and protection in battle," according to the researchers.


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