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Matthijs van Halteren




Location: Zeewolde, The Netherlands
Joined: 01 Apr 2010

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 12:29 am    Post subject: Swordblade find from Alphen aan de Rijn, The Netherlands         Reply with quote

I was in Archeon (an open air historical museum) in The Netherlands and they had opened a new museum there, an archeological musuem exhibiting various finds from the West of Holland dating Roman times to Middle Ages.
There I saw a blade they found in Alphen aan de Rijn dating 12th or beginning of 13th century, inlayed with a silver inscription.









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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 755

PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 4:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a geat looking piece. Thank you for posting the great pictures. Are there any more interesting pieces at the museum you would mind posting?
Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This looks great, thanks for sharing! Any ideas what the inscription translates to?
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Tim Lison




Location: Chicago, Illinois
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice. Very cool style of script. Thanks for posting it!
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Sean Poynter




Location: Chicago (NW suburbs), IL, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fantastic looking inscription! Thanks for posting and hopefully someone can translate Happy
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It seems like the best match, in terms of the appearance of the letters, in Records is from a Finnish sword, which Oakeshott believes to date from 1100-1125. See figure iii on page 39. The script is not a perfect match, but there are numerous stylistic similarities when you compare the two.
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Has anyone been able to read the inscription?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's start with an attempted transcription:

+BENEDOXOE?SSCSURRISʕDICECMTINIUSGSD?

I should mention that I am really not trained in doing this, so I may have made some errors. The first question mark is a character that I was uncertain about, and I have highlighted it in the first attachment. It seems to me that it, along with the "I" like character beside it, may form a capital "H", but I'm not sure. Another character, part way through, looks like it could be an "M" but I am not sure. I have circled it in red in the attachment below. It also could conceivably be some sort of "O". The "T" towards the end of the inscription has a swirl underneath it, which makes it appear like a "TC", but without more knowledge of paleography and Latin, I am unable to interpret it.

The very last character looks a bit like an "M", but if you look more closely, I think it's a "D" followed by an "N". The reason I say this is because if it is an "M", the first sloped line is unnaturally rounded looking when compared with the other sloped line. So my guess is that the terminating letters are "DN", but the photos give me the impression that there might have been other letters that are now illegible.



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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Aug, 2011 5:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig,

Thanks, it must have been hard to decipher ( literally) that script from the photos. Your response to my question leads us to more questions doesn't it? So we think we might have a 12th or maybe a 13th century sword blade with an inscription which might suggest a biblical origin ( benedictus? benediction? but maybe Benedict?)

I guess this will most likely be another one of those tantalizing mysteries!
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 30 Aug, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken,

If you look in Records of the Medieval Sword, there are several swords with inscriptions beginning with a cross potent like this one, and a benediction of some sort. Examples can be found in the inscription on page 39, XI.3 on page 55, and XI.9 on page 62. Oakshotte dates all of these swords between 1050-1120, although Peter Johnsson believes that XI.3 has a bit of a later date, closer to circa 1200, which is the date most arms curators would assign to XI.3.

The article from Geibig mentions that swords with a "non-ferrous cross-potent" like this one date from the mid 11th to early 13th century. It also mentions that long invocations tend to come from the end of the 12th and into the 13th C.

I'm wondering, in the case of this sword, if the text might actually be "BENEDICE", with the "BENED" being seperated from the "ICE" by a series of interrupting characters. Or perhaps not- I may have transcribed the text inaccurately and there might be another word beginning with "BENED" here. One of the things that makes me think the "BENED" is indeed interrupted, or at least abbreviated, is the fact that these characters are immediately followed by the sequence "OXO", which sometimes appears on other swords. I do not think it's certain that "OXO" has a meaning- it could be merely a series of symbols believed to have religious power and potency, like some of the characters and phrases found in medieval magical invocations.

At any rate, until someone comes along who is better informed than us, we will probably remain ignorant.
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Marc van Hasselt





Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 23 Jun, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. I work for Archeon as a historian and have been looking into the inscription on this blade. I hope to have a look at the other side (which apparently also has an inscription) soon.

To me, it reads as follows:

+BENEDOXOFLISSCSDRRISʕDICECONTINIUSCSDNI+

The transcription is, of course, more difficult. Underlined letters, or other additions to letters (the vertical line below the c, the curl below the t) indicate contractions or abbreviations. But most of the words would be abbreviated in an inscription, so it could even be that every letter indicates an entire word! I don't think that is the case here, but it is still difficult.

For instance, the last 6 letters; SCS DNI could mean Sanctus Domini or Sanctus Sanctus Domini or Sanctus Salvator Domini. XO probably stands for Christo, the IS contraction may stand for Iesus.

The first couple of words could read: BENED(ict)O CH(rist)O F(i)L(ius?) I(e)S(us) S(an)C(tu(S), but that doesn't make a lot of sense, I think. My latin is a bit rusty.
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jun, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no Latinate inscription decryption juices to add, but I must say that the inscription is both cleanly executed and beautiful, as well as nice and long (and conveniently begins after the break)
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Matthijs van Halteren




Location: Zeewolde, The Netherlands
Joined: 01 Apr 2010

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After 12 years the inscription on this blade is deciphered.
The inscription reads "BENED SCS MTINIUSCS" and is deciphered as "Benedictus Sanctus Martinus Sanctus".
It seems the letters on the blade were a abbreviation according to historians ans scientists.
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2014 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are there any rough dimensions of the blade? (height, width, thickness, etc...)
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Sword blade find from Alphen aan de Rijn, The Netherlands         Reply with quote


It's quite hard to read the Latin inscription on the blade. Maybe somebody at the museum knows how to read it.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Matthijs van Halteren




Location: Zeewolde, The Netherlands
Joined: 01 Apr 2010

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2014 3:14 am    Post subject: Re: Sword blade find from Alphen aan de Rijn, The Netherland         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:

It's quite hard to read the Latin inscription on the blade. Maybe somebody at the museum knows how to read it.


As I previously mentioned, it has been deciphered.. Happy
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: Saint Martin         Reply with quote

Makes sense. Saint Martin of Tours is known as the patron saint of soldiers.
Bon coeur et bon bras
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