Inscribed swords

Medieval sword with inscription. Around 1122 AD.

Researcher: M.S. van Hasselt, MA

Found in: Alphen a/d Rijn, 2002
Dating: approx. 1200 AD
Material: Steel with silver inlay.

A mysterious inscription decorated this medieval sword. Both sides contain strings of letters with a silver inlay. The hilt might be missing, but based on the typology of the letters the sword can be dated to have been used during the Crusades, around 1200 AD. De sword has been destroyed on purpose – the break clearly shows the hilt was bent over and over till the metal ripped. The sword was a prized possession and has been cleaned many times over. Before getting thrown into the Rhine. The sword is not unique in its kind, for multiple inscribed swords have been found in Europe.

The inscription has not been decrypted/translated yet, but the letter combinations can be compared with other swords to offer an interpretation. The combination MRTINIUSCS can be intepreted as Martinius Sanctus, Saint Maarten or Saint Mauritius. BENED might represent Benedicat, which is also found on a sword from Seewen, Swiss. OXO looks like the XOX found on the sword from the river Witham in England, which has been covered by the news extensively in 2015.

By taking this comparative approach we are able to learn more about the inscription and we might eventually get to a full translation. In 2014 an article was published by Marc van Hasselt in Madoc about this sword and its story.

Inscriptie Transcriptie 2