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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 12:51 pm    Post subject: Origin of Type XVI Sword identified.         Reply with quote

In this Spotlight article on the forum about Ewart Oakeshott's typology XVI:
http://myArmoury.com/feature_spotxvi.html
Chad Arnow shows some historic examples from England and Denmark of type XVI swords.


XVI.3 From the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen
"Found in Denmark, this sword is in excellent condition. The edge erosion is likely caused by wear and honing rather than corrosion. There is a four-letter inscription found inlaid in the fuller. Like our previous examples, this piece dates from the first half of the 14th century."

This sword is from Ordrup Mose (North of Copenhagen), where it was found near the bog-shore along with numerous horse-bones from many horses!! [and apparently nothing else].
It was originally thought to be from ~1200 AD [Danish 1970 article], but apparently Oakeshott placed it from ~1300-1350 AD

Was someone doing a pagan sacrifice involving horses and sword in the ~1300 AD out at the bog - seriously old school??

The inscription on the blade is a 5-letter combination [not 4-letter] - NNDIG - according the article. No clue as to what it means, but likely a magical abbreviation.
Actually when I look at the close-up picture in the book I see 6 letters in another order along the blade. WTF?!
NI.........N.........D..........I........U? [picture just cuts the last letter, so could be the G I guess]. Well it seems the close-standing NI was somehow missed. Anyways it still doesn't make any sense.

So here is a scan from Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark 1970. Rikke Behrend. “Vandfundne sværd fra middelalderen", page 100.
Sword inventory: Nationalmuseet nr. 16163.



 Attachment: 96.86 KB
Ordrup_sværd.png
Ordrup Mose Sword.
Source: Behrend (1970). Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark 1970.

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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2015 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This sword has a twin, found in Geertruidenberg in the Netherlands in 2005. In very poor condition, but has a much longer, elaborate inscription which includes multiple repetitions of DIEU ("god" in French).

http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl/wiki/Het_Zwaard
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
This sword has a twin, found in Geertruidenberg in the Netherlands in 2005. In very poor condition, but has a much longer, elaborate inscription which includes multiple repetitions of DIEU ("god" in French).

http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl/wiki/Het_Zwaard


So this Type XVI with a T1 pommel is pretty rare?
Or is it just that T1 pommels are fairly rare in general.

It does seem massive and must be for swordsmen really loving to pommel knock their opponents in this Fiore-style "ferir de pomo".
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WCgubznOlI [0.25-0.40]

Replicas:
Danish "Ildsmeden" makes a copy of this sword with grip of yew, bronze pommel and ~75 cm blade length.
He interestingly supply a date of 1375. Wonder where he has that info from.
Image: http://www.ildsmeden.dk/grafik/vare/vaaben/large/011.jpg

So does Del Tin (DT 5142):
Sword Length = 94 cm
Weight = 1,3 kg
This version have a steel pommel.
Source: http://www.deltin.net/5142.htm

Jason Dingledine's more free interpretation version:
Source: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_jd_xvi.html

Ildsmeden's pommel has a quadratic profile when seen from above [would that still be a T1 pommel?], whereas the Del Tin version looks more rectangular seen from above (Normal T1 pommel), though hard to see on the picture.
Dingledine's pommel is rectangular seen from above.

So what are the Oakeshott's info for this weapon? [pommel and size)


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Wed 10 Jun, 2015 6:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the Geertruidenberg sword, I have the following pommel measurements: "4 x 4 cm and 4 x 2 ½ cm". Source is either the link I posted or another article I think I have somewhere...

Oakeshott states there is another XVI identical hilt in Bern, inventory no. 840.6. I don't have any other picture or source on that one, maybe you can find something! Wink

It seems like these three are an unusual group of the type T pommel occurring with XVI blades and at an early date.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
For the Geertruidenberg sword, I have the following pommel measurements: "4 x 4 cm and 4 x 2 ½ cm". Source is either the link I posted or another article I think I have somewhere...

Oakeshott states there is another XVI identical hilt in Bern, inventory no. 840.6. I don't have any other picture or source on that one, maybe you can find something! Wink

It seems like these three are an unusual group of the type T pommel occurring with XVI blades and at an early date.


Yeah the Dutch article mentions the "Dating problem".
The Danish find was an old non-professional dig, so they used the letters on the sword for a dating to Late Middle Ages according to the Dutch article.


Source: http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl/wiki/Be...chrift.jpg

The dutch sword has an inscription that uses the same kind of letters as the Ordrup Sword [for instance the N's and the "G" that perhaps is a substitute for C according to Wegeli, see below]

Found the Oakeshott info and he does in fact report 6 letters on the Ordrup Mose Sword, but as + NINDIC + [also starting and ending with crosses] and then dates it to 1300-1330 AD based on Wegeli. [The sword at the end of chivalry, page 62].

This must be his source: Inschriften auf mittelalterlichen Schwertklingen von Rudolf Wegeli (1904).
Found it online: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0006/...mp;seite=1

His reading of the Ordrup Sword is on page 25 & 27 and he reads it as NNDIC [apparently DIC/DIG are very commonly seen].
"Die inschrift + NNDIC + ist in gelber Metallkomposition eingelegt" So that's a new info about the Ordrup Sword.
So he misses the closely set NI as well or just reads it as N for some learned reason??

Wegeli then gives us the info, that the sword is pictured in Worsaae, seite 164, n, 573!!
So "Nordiske oldsager i det Kongelige museum i Kjöbenhavn" Worsaee (1859).
Online here: https://archive.org/details/nordiskeoldsager00wors
Ordrup Sword on page 164, n. 573 [means it was found before 1859 !]
It's basically a picture book, so no real info.


Sadly the "Bernische Historische Museum" doesn't have a search function for the collection Worried so I can't find any picture about the Bern Sword.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Mon 08 Jun, 2015 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

So he misses the closely set NI as well or just reads it as N for some learned reason??

I am inclined to read it as NnDIC... it is common to see the same letter written in different ways within the same inscription, particularly "N" vs. "n" and "E" vs. "ϵ".
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 12:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

So he misses the closely set NI as well or just reads it as N for some learned reason??

I am inclined to read it as NnDIC... it is common to see the same letter written in different ways within the same inscription, particularly "N" vs. "n" and "E" vs. "ϵ".


I'll scan the picture tomorrow from Behrend (1970), so you can maybe see (or I'm seeing ghosts Laughing Out Loud ) you have an N with a crossbar through it and the just after it an I, then the second N is different without the crossbar through it.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2015 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I'll scan the picture tomorrow from Behrend (1970), so you can maybe see

Please do! I can already see all the features you mention though... ultimately it is subjective, to me it just seems closer to a form of "N".

A similar inscription with the same issue of interpretation is XIV.9, held in Zurich. Oakeshott states that Wegeli's illustration (fig. 44) is accurate, and acknowledges both "N" and "nI" as possible readings. Again, for this one I haven't come up with any better photos.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jun, 2015 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I'll scan the picture tomorrow from Behrend (1970), so you can maybe see

Please do! I can already see all the features you mention though... ultimately it is subjective, to me it just seems closer to a form of "N".

A similar inscription with the same issue of interpretation is XIV.9, held in Zurich. Oakeshott states that Wegeli's illustration (fig. 44) is accurate, and acknowledges both "N" and "nI" as possible readings. Again, for this one I haven't come up with any better photos.


So I'll throw out a wild hypothesis:
Im thinking that the possible NI could be a ligature! Used for an abbreviation/title.

Maybe the possible ligature "NI" is for "numerati" (Latin, numbered) then N and then followed by the DIC/DIG.

Less esoteric: Serienumber/Type N "DIC", maybe the sword maker (DIC).

More esoteric:
Maybe the number/rank of the wielder -> if he is within some kind of order, so by secret code he can identify himself to other members via his sword.

So what could DIC be: [Going wild here - don't even believe it myself, but fun if there is any kind of precedent that could make it possible].
DIC could be for "dicitur" ("said"), while perhaps DIG could be "digitur" ("Finger" - actually also toe).
Are those with DIC "readers of the bible" and those with DIG "finger-men" (warrior-monk, soldier?).

Member(rank): "N" dicitur/digitur. [N could be "Nobilis"].

Off course the sword could just start with NN instead, and so many abbreviations are possible. Doesn't even have to be in latin.



 Attachment: 215.53 KB
Ordrup_bogstaver.png
Letters on the Ordrup Mose Sword (picture not including the crosses before and after).
Source: Behrend (1970). Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark 1970.

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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jun, 2015 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the photo. Happy

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
perhaps DIG could be "digitur"

There is a precedent! There are several swords with inscriptions based on the latin psalm:
"Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum"
("Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle" in modern versions)

The first portion of the psalm appears on the pommel of the Reichsschwert/Sword of St. Maurice in Vienna in the following way:
BENEDICTVS · DOS · DES · QVI · DOCET · MANV

A more complete text appears on a sword from Paczkow in Poland, including the word "digitos":


A sword from Seewen in Switzerland includes "meus ad prelius" but not "digitos".


Alternatively, maybe DIG should be read as DIC, possibly as an abbreviation of "benedictus"?

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
the sword could just start with NN instead

I still think this is what we have here, based on comparison with other inscriptions that seem to unambiguously start with "Nn". Figure 38 in Wegeli for example, or the Cawood sword:


Potential meanings are endless of course... but maybe "N[omine] N[ostre]" as a contraction of "in nomine domini nostri Jesu Christi"?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2015 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark - you have an astounding knowledge on latin sword inscriptions!

I think that you are probably right that NN as N[omine] N[ostre]" (contraction of "in nomine domini nostri Jesu Christi") is probably the most likely explanation.

I'm amazed that the "DIG" hypothesis I just presented while brainstorming actually have a precedent!
The line - Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum - is from Psalm 144 (verse 1) in The Old Testament, where David sings a praise to God, who gives victory to Kings (verse 9-10) -> it's certainly martial.

Is there any length variation of the swords with abbreviations of "Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum" connected with age of the sword??
One could speculate that the oldest swords would have more full inscriptions and as the line gets more and more commonly used, then shorter and shorter abbreviations would be adequate to convey the message [I'm assuming that having inscriptions on the blade is not only for oneself, but also a message to other people seeing it - either they got the meaning or they don't (hence esoteric)].

[Off course it could also be just simply finances, as longer inscriptions would cost more, and perhaps potentially also weaken the sword?].

Furthermore having a special phrase on your sword could easily also be a way of stating a certain group-membership.
The martial-godly mix of the line fits, what a warrior monk would chose [Hospitaller or Templar].

With this sword in Denmark certainly makes Hospitaller much more likely as they were very powerful here.
The Danish Hospitallers had their seat on Zealand; Antvorskov, near Slagelse. [Called Johanitter-Ordenen in Danish]
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antvorskov

NB: Found this book where it is stated that Psalm 144, verse 1 was especially used by the Hospitallers (at least at a later time). Nobility, Faith and Masculinity: The Hospitaller Knights of Malta, c.1580-c.1700. By Emanuel Buttigieg [page 103]
Source: https://books.google.dk/books?id=DVqd_gb2tmMC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=psalm+144+hospitaller&source=bl&ots=MhTB8w5PeT&sig=cPcSE3W01-VAk3o6G4egRJvyD6w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBGoVChMIlIWeqZOFxgIVJadyCh1r5AAv#v=onepage&q=psalm%20144%20hospitaller&f=false

Apparently it is Psalm 143 in the Latin Vulgata (Clementina), but reckoned as Psalm 144 in bibles today.

Behrend gives infact NNDIG whereas Wegeli gives NNDIC [off course Behrend's pictures cuts of the last letter Mad].
If it's NNDIG is could be a splendid joke: NNDIG -> In the name of our Lord I give you my finger (of war). Laughing Out Loud
That would be very Danish.
The Roman index finger seems to have been used by early Germanic people as well presenting it to Roman Armies....

As for DIC being "benedictus" (blessed) its possible. [But then it should appear early on in the sentence]
I just find it interesting that so many of the swords (what I saw in Wegeli) seems to have a DIC/DIG variation later on in the text, so it's maybe more like as DIG could be digitur, then DIC should be something starting with “Dic...."?


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Wed 10 Jun, 2015 6:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2015 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Mark - you have an astounding knowledge on latin sword inscriptions!

I think that you are probably right that NN as N[omine] N[ostre]" (contraction of "in nomine domini nostri Jesu Christi") is probably the most likely explanation.

I'm amazed that the "DIG" hypothesis I just threw out that actually have a precedent!
The line - Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum - is from Psalm 144 (verse 1) in The Old Testament, where David sings a praise to God, who gives victory to Kings (verse 9-10) -> it's certainly martial.

Is there any length variation of the swords with abbreviations of "Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum" connected with age of the sword??
One could speculate that the oldest swords would have more full inscriptions and as the line gets more and more commonly used, then shorter and shorter abbreviations would be adequate to convey the message [I'm assuming that having inscriptions on the blade is not only for oneself, but also a message to other people seeing it - either they got the meaning or they don't (hence esoteric)].

[Off course it could also be just simply finances, as longer inscriptions would cost more, and perhaps potentially also weaken the sword?].

Furthermore having a special phrase on your sword could easily also be a way of stating a certain group-membership.
The martial-godly mix of the line fits, what a warrior monk would chose [Hospitaller or Templar].

With this sword in Denmark certainly makes Hospitaller much more likely as they were very powerful here.
The Danish Hospitallers had their seat on Zealand; Antvorskov, near Slagelse. [Called Johanitter-Ordenen in Danish]
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antvorskov

As for DIC being "benedictus" (blessed) its possible.
I'm just interesting that so many of the swords (what I saw in Wegeli) seems to have a DIC/DIG variation, so it's maybe more like as DIG could be digitur, then DIC should be something starting with “Dic...."?


Alternatively, NNDIC could stand for Nomine Nostri Dominus Iesu Cristos (In the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ) -- you have to remember that Latin only had 24 letters, missing J and U, which were written with I and V respectively. (Julius actually appears in Latin inscriptions as Ivlivs). Thus the "I" in NNDIC could actually represent a"J".
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2015 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:


Alternatively, NNDIC could stand for Nomine Nostri Dominus Iesu Cristos (In the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ) -- you have to remember that Latin only had 24 letters, missing J and U, which were written with I and V respectively. (Julius actually appears in Latin inscriptions as Ivlivs). Thus the "I" in NNDIC could actually represent a"J".


A very elegant and simple solution.
As for use of Ockham's razor, that would be best guess for the "NNDIC".

Only a bit worried, why change the established word order ?
"NDNIC" would be the normal for "(In) Nomine Domini Nostri Iesu Christi".
So the first N could in fact be a ligature for the "in nomine".

Because of the case system though, you can change word order without change of meaning [not qualified in latin to know if this in fact works in this case]:
So "in Nomine Nostri Domini Iesu Christi" as a possible NNDIC variant of the common NDNIC.


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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:
NNDIC could stand for Nomine Nostri Dominus Iesu Cristos

Thanks John, that does seem like the simplest explanation that wraps everything together.

John Hardy wrote:
Latin only had 24 letters, missing J and U, which were written with I and V

Good reminder! The letter "U" does appear as itself in some inscriptions however... this should be taken as a crossover between traditional latin and vernacular script? My earlier pics are a perfect example, we can see "DEVSMEVS" on the Paczkow sword, but a very clear 'NUSMEUS", "PRELIUS", etc. on the Seewen sword.

Also, on the Seewen sword, we see the letter "U" appearing in different ways, with the serif appearing on either left or right. I've read that the left-serif form is/can be a ligature of "IS", but in this case it seems like the reading could be "...RICIUS", possibly referring to St. Maurice. "MAURICIUS" (with "U" not "V") appears on a sword from Liuksiala, Finland mentioned by Oakeshott in the text for XI.9:


There is a lot happening in this particular inscription... With a little imagination, we can perhaps make out "PRELIUS" referring to the psalm again. "BENEDICAT" is clearly visible, but in particular the "C" has a curled lower end... so in the abbreviated form, "DIC" is at least as plausible as "DIG" I think. Finally, the inscription closes with the "Nn" combo.

Much of what I've posted in this thread is covered in the articles "Two incrusted medieval swords from Zbaszyn" by Marian Glosek and "Christian invocation inscriptions on sword blades" by Wagner et al. Niels, you seem to have a talent for digging up obscure sources... these articles might be a good place to start if you want to do more digging!
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
John Hardy wrote:
NNDIC could stand for Nomine Nostri Dominus Iesu Cristos

Thanks John, that does seem like the simplest explanation that wraps everything together.

John Hardy wrote:
Latin only had 24 letters, missing J and U, which were written with I and V

Good reminder! The letter "U" does appear as itself in some inscriptions however... this should be taken as a crossover between traditional latin and vernacular script? My earlier pics are a perfect example, we can see "DEVSMEVS" on the Paczkow sword, but a very clear 'NUSMEUS", "PRELIUS", etc. on the Seewen sword.

Also, on the Seewen sword, we see the letter "U" appearing in different ways, with the serif appearing on either left or right. I've read that the left-serif form is/can be a ligature of "IS", but in this case it seems like the reading could be "...RICIUS", possibly referring to St. Maurice. "MAURICIUS" (with "U" not "V") appears on a sword from Liuksiala, Finland mentioned by Oakeshott in the text for XI.9:


There is a lot happening in this particular inscription... With a little imagination, we can perhaps make out "PRELIUS" referring to the psalm again. "BENEDICAT" is clearly visible, but in particular the "C" has a curled lower end... so in the abbreviated form, "DIC" is at least as plausible as "DIG" I think. Finally, the inscription closes with the "Nn" combo.

Much of what I've posted in this thread is covered in the articles "Two incrusted medieval swords from Zbaszyn" by Marian Glosek and "Christian invocation inscriptions on sword blades" by Wagner et al. Niels, you seem to have a talent for digging up obscure sources... these articles might be a good place to start if you want to do more digging!


Yeah the letters I og U works as semi-vowels, so they can stand both for I/J and U/V depending on context.
Thanks for the article hint to Głosek & Makiewicz [really good one].
They refer to Wegeli - through Bruhn Hoffmeyer - that DIC stands for "Dominus Iesus Christus".

The NNDIC could then possibly be seen as the answer to a question: Nomine Nostri? Dominus Iesus Christus [here the full title in nominative, masculinum, singularis].
As Kings often used "royal plural" it could have this meaning: Our name? Lord Jesus Christ !
It still a bit weird though, but it also bugs me that the full sentence "in nomine nostri domini Iesu Christi" has reversed the more normal "..... domini nostri......".

As for the DIC/DIG: Are the DIG-examples really with a “G“ or just two variant ways of writing "C"'s as you have two different N's as well, and Mark you also show-cased the example above with different U's. Then again Wegeli and Oakeshott reports a DIE variant, so DIG for possibly "finger(s)" is totally feasible.

Funny that we use NN today for Latin "Nomen Nescio" ["I don't know the name"] and it ancient Rome the hypothetical defendant in Roman law cases was known as "Numerius Negidius" [one, who denies payment] while the plaintiff was "Aulus Agerius" [Aulus (name), that puts in motion]. Neither of these seems even remotely likely here Laughing Out Loud

Just to show caution that the text doesn't even have to be in Latin is this competing view on the inscription of the Pernik Sword in Bulgaria, where the inscription +IHININIhVILPIDHINIhVILPN+ for supposed Latin ­IH(ESUS). IN I(HESUS) N(OMINE). IH(ESUS) VI(RGO). L(AUS) P(ATRIS) I(HESUS) D(OMINI) H(RISTUS). IN IH(ESUS) VI(RGO). L(AUS) P(ATRIS) N(OSTRIS)­
could also be read in (Longobardic) Early West Germanic:" IH INI NI hVIL PIDH, INI hVIL PN", meaning "I do not await eternity, I am eternity", or literally "I inside not time wait, inside time am".
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pernik_sword
Article by Emilia Dentschewa: http://germanistik.gradina.net/wp-content/blo...chwert.pdf


Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--1ao8GKvr44/URDnPkj...-sword.jpg


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Thu 11 Jun, 2015 10:17 am; edited 3 times in total
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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Mark Lewis wrote:
John Hardy wrote:
NNDIC could stand for Nomine Nostri Dominus Iesu Cristos

Thanks John, that does seem like the simplest explanation that wraps everything together.

John Hardy wrote:
Latin only had 24 letters, missing J and U, which were written with I and V

Good reminder! The letter "U" does appear as itself in some inscriptions however... this should be taken as a crossover between traditional latin and vernacular script? My earlier pics are a perfect example, we can see "DEVSMEVS" on the Paczkow sword, but a very clear 'NUSMEUS", "PRELIUS", etc. on the Seewen sword.

Also, on the Seewen sword, we see the letter "U" appearing in different ways, with the serif appearing on either left or right. I've read that the left-serif form is/can be a ligature of "IS", but in this case it seems like the reading could be "...RICIUS", possibly referring to St. Maurice. "MAURICIUS" (with "U" not "V") appears on a sword from Liuksiala, Finland mentioned by Oakeshott in the text for XI.9:


There is a lot happening in this particular inscription... With a little imagination, we can perhaps make out "PRELIUS" referring to the psalm again. "BENEDICAT" is clearly visible, but in particular the "C" has a curled lower end... so in the abbreviated form, "DIC" is at least as plausible as "DIG" I think. Finally, the inscription closes with the "Nn" combo.

Much of what I've posted in this thread is covered in the articles "Two incrusted medieval swords from Zbaszyn" by Marian Glosek and "Christian invocation inscriptions on sword blades" by Wagner et al. Niels, you seem to have a talent for digging up obscure sources... these articles might be a good place to start if you want to do more digging!


Yeah the letters I og U works as semi-vowels, so they can stand both for I/J and U/V depending on context.
Thanks for the article hint to Głosek & Makiewicz [really good one].
They refer to Wegeli - through Bruhn Hoffmeyer - that DIC stands for "Dominus Iesus Christus".

The NNDIC could then possibly be seen as the answer to a question: Nomine Nostri? Dominus Iesus Christus [here the full title in nominative, masculinum, singularis].
As Kings often used "royal plural" it could have this meaning: Our name? Lord Jesus Christ !
It still a bit weird though, but it also bugs me that the full sentence "in nomine nostri domini Iesu Christi" has reversed the more normal "..... domini nostri......".

As for the DIC/DIG: Are the DIG-examples really with a “G“ or just two variant ways of writing "C"'s as you have two different N's as well, and Mark you also show-cased the example above with different U's. Then again Wegeli and Oakeshott reports a DIE variant, so DIG for possibly "finger(s)" is totally feasible.

Funny that we use NN today for Latin "Nomen Nescio" ["I don't know the name"] and it ancient Rome the hypothetical defendant in Roman law cases was known as "Numerius Negidius" [one, who denies payment] while the plaintiff was "Aulus Agerius" [Aulus (name), that puts in motion]. Neither of these seems even remotely likely here Laughing Out Loud

Just to show caution that the text doesn't even have to be in Latin is this competing view on the inscription of the Pernik Sword in Bulgaria, where the inscription +IHININIhVILPIDHINIhVILPN+ for supposed Latin ­IH(ESUS). IN I(HESUS) N(OMINE). IH(ESUS) VI(RGO). L(AUS) P(ATRIS) I(HESUS) D(OMINI) H(RISTUS). IN IH(ESUS) VI(RGO). L(AUS) P(ATRIS) N(OSTRIS)­
could also be read in (Longobardic) Early West Germanic:" IH INI NI hVIL PIDH, INI hVIL PN", meaning "I do not await eternity, I am eternity", or literally "I inside not time wait, inside time am".
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pernik_sword
Article by Emilia Dentschewa: http://germanistik.gradina.net/wp-content/blo...chwert.pdf


Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--1ao8GKvr44/URDnPkj...-sword.jpg


So... Adding that all together then, maybe the sword belonged to a bill collector for the medieval version of the mafia? And the inscription WAS in fact "N.N.DIG". Meaning "I give the finger to those who deny payment"....
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:

So... Adding that all together then, maybe the sword belonged to a bill collector for the medieval version of the mafia? And the inscription WAS in fact "N.N.DIG". Meaning "I give the finger to those who deny payment"....


Laughing Out Loud Yeah that is a really good one. [maybe rather "I give the finger to anyone, that tries to make me pay"]
Maybe a lawsuit gone wrong is why the owner got so upset, that he went into Ordrup bog and killed many horses (with the sword) and then pushed his sword into the bog afterwards.
Medieval Denmark was a mafia society controlled largely by the Zealandic Hvide family [noblemen, bishops and king-deciders].

Actually the Hospitaller Knights were tax collectors in Denmark!!
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
competing view on the inscription of the Pernik Sword in Bulgaria, where the inscription... could also be read in (Longobardic) Early West Germanic

For what it's worth, I am very skeptical of this. the inscription may be unique in content, but there is nothing about the form of the blade or style of writing that suggests to me that it is anything other than a 12th century-ish type XI. Dating it to the 8th century seems like a huge leap to me.

Here is an example found in the River Ljublanica in Slovenia that seems somewhat similar in style and content to me. Tomas Nabergoj dates it to around 1200.
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2015 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
competing view on the inscription of the Pernik Sword in Bulgaria, where the inscription... could also be read in (Longobardic) Early West Germanic

For what it's worth, I am very skeptical of this. the inscription may be unique in content, but there is nothing about the form of the blade or style of writing that suggests to me that it is anything other than a 12th century-ish type XI. Dating it to the 8th century seems like a huge leap to me.


Actually I fully agree. I added it primarily for the way you can get all kinds of meaningful sentences out of abbreviations!
So a 1200th century sword with an inscription written in Longobardic/Lombardic/Langobardic language is technically possible - > Gothic was still spoken in Crimea until 1700, whereas the Goths had their heyday in the 400's. [and until 700 AD in Spain].

So pockets of different Germanic dialects/languages could have survived around Europe for a long time. Some scholars think that some North Italian Germanic dialects are descendants of Longobardic called "Cimbrian" [though they call themselves Cimbrian speakers, DNA testing shows, they are not related with modern Danes from Himmerland - old Danish "Himbre-land"] and "Mocheno".

I think nobody will accept that the sword or the inscription is from 800 AD.

A possibly Danish solution to the letters [though I stress it as less likely than a Latin]
If you somewhat follow Nordic naming tradition with personal name - patronymic and nickname [though nickname is in Iceland most often between First name and patronymic] then vi have N (possibly ligature Ni) N DIG.
Nikles (medieval version for modern Niels and a very common name back then) Niklessøn (likely a family naming tradition) Dighær [cognate with Old Norse adjective Digr = Stout - so big, fat and strong].
So Old Danish: Nikles Niklessøn dighær.
Modern Danish: Niels Nielsen digre.
Translation: Niels son-of-Niels "the Stout".
[You had a Jomsviking called Búi digri in the Icelandic sources. Old Norse Búi is in Danish "Bue" or "Bo" meaning “dweller“ and an Orkney-Jarl Sigurðr digri].
What do we find on the Sword - a stout pommel fitting for a stout man ! Laughing Out Loud

St. Nikolaus was extremely popular in Denmark and according to Saxo Grammaticus King Erik Ejegod got his saintly bones as a gift (as well as part of the true cross) by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos in Constantinople while on the route to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. He died on Cyprus in 1103, but the relics were send back to Denmark. Erik Ejegod was followed by his brother as King - his name was Niels/Nikles.

That could be a simple ownership identifier on the sword written in Old Danish with latin letters.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Sun 21 Jun, 2015 5:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wegeli (1904) also gives notice to a special group of swords starting with NED, [where he includes includes another Danish sword later in the discussion].
Source (page 24): http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0006/...p;seite=30

The "Musee de St. Omer" sword has NED directly followed by EHEREMEDENI.
Pictures: http://moteur.musenor.com/application/moteur_...omAuteur=1
Wegeli has no clue about the meaning here, but noticed every second letter is an E [except the final I]. Quite weird, eh ?
( Laughing Out Loud )

NB: I see on the Musee de St Omer's page, that they read it as + NEDEHER+EWEDENI +
Wegeli seems to read the W as an up-turned M, as a 180 degree rotation also occurs with other letters.

A Danish sword from Enslev, near Randers, Jutland has no starting NED , but just + EMEDE + as is seen on the St. Omer sword. Three other swords starts with NED, but don't have the EMEDE.

Enslev Sword:
It's 95 cm total length, whereas the hilt is 10 cm.
Blade is 4,5 cm wide.
Only half of the cross-guard is preserved.
Iron Pommel.
Wide fuller.
No close up, so we have to trust the information from the National Museum and Wegeli.



 Attachment: 12.51 KB
Sværd_DMR-168110_800.jpg
Enslev sword with + EMEDE + inscription.
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DMR/168110

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