British Library needs your help deciphering inscription on 800-year-old sword

British Library Needs Your Help Deciphering Inscription On 800-Year-Old Sword

It's from the time of Magna Carta—around 800 years ago when inscribed swords were trendy in Medieval Europe.

And now the British Library needs your help sorting it out.

The double-edged sword was found in the River Witham in July, 1825. From there it eventually made its way to the British Museum.

On loan to the British Library, the sword could have easily chopped a man's head in half. But that's not quite where the public comes in.

The Library, via blog post, is requesting help with deciphering an inscription inlaid in gold wire on one side of the sword.

The inscription reads: NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI
Got that?

The sword is presently being displayed next to an illuminated manuscript showing French knights invading Normandy in 1203. The attackers appear to be holding swords similar to the one on display.

Professor Marc van Hasselt of Utrecht University provided additional historical context. He noted the sword's inscription appears similar in both content and style to others discovered across the European continent—suggesting the work of a single craftsman.

But that still doesn't account for what the inscription means.

What do you think it says?
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