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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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PostPosted: Mon 12 Oct, 2015 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As for sword inscriptions on the Ordrup Sword it looks then very much like "Romanisch Majuskel".
Behrend (1970) has placed the sword around 1200 based on the letters used, whereas Oakeshott had it around 1300-1330 based on sword typology.

Studies from Rügen points to something really interesting historically.
The Island of Rügen (in modern North Germany) was a Danish Principality conquered by the Danes in 1168 from the slavic-speaking "Wends", which is described in detail by Saxo in his Gesta Danorum.
It was under nominal Danish rule from 1168-1325 and also part of the missionary territory of the Danish Bishop of Roskilde.
Locally it was initially lead by Slavic princes under vassalage of the Danish King.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_R%C3%BCgen

Their troops became an important part of the Danish Crusader fleets in Estonia and the most renowned Prince was possibly Vitslav I who fought at the Battle of Lyndanisse (Tallinn, Reval) in 1219 and also helped with the founding of Cistercians monastaries in Rügen. [The Cistercians were the leading Christian group in Denmark with the Knights Hospitaller probably in second place.]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitslav_I,_Prince_of_R%C3%BCgen

So in Rügen you used the "Romanische Majuskel" (epigraphic inscriptions) from the late 12th century (Denmark introducers these letters after the conquest).
The first use of the "Gotische Majuskel" is from around 1320.
Source: Joachim Zdrenka (2002). Die Inschriften des Landkreises Rügen, page XXIX.

Pretty interesting that the Danish period have "Romanische Majuskel" and just around when Rügen came under the Pomeranian Dukes it changes to "Gotische Majuskel". It is first at the 14th century you start to have German settlers, whereas before it was Wendish-Danish!! So the "new people" bring in a new epigraphic script!

So when dating swords it is important to know exactly where they were produced at this transition in use of epigraphic letters can vary from one European locality to the next!
The Ordrup sword can perhaps be from mid 14th century and still show "Romanische Majuskel" if the inscription was specifically ordered by a Dane, who wanted good old style letters (I assume the blade is German produced, but maybe fittings and inscription could have been done in Denmark).
Some places perhaps delayed the transition to the "Gotische Majuskel" more than others.
Middle/Upper? Rhine area: The innovators: Early 1200.
Bayern ~1270
Denmark ~13?? (could explain how old style letters ended up on the Ordrup Sword - an early 1300's sword).


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Mon 19 Oct, 2015 10:01 am; edited 2 times in total
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 12 Oct, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels, you have posted a huge amount of information! It will some time for me to process it all properly...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Just wanted to share this paleographic article find from "The elements of abbreviation in medieval Latin paleography" by ADRIANO CAPPELLI 1982, page 16-17.

Thank you for this reference, it looks very useful! I have been looking and comparing abbreviations in inscriptions on other objects and a comprehensive source should be helpful.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So since you actually have this S lying on the side in the sword inscriptions [is that from the Finnish sword?], it worth mentioning that it might not be an S at all; but Er-, Ter- when not final, and likely -ur, -tur when final.

Yes, it's the Finnish sword. I have never heard of this character before... coincidentally(?) Worley and Wagner suggest that the sequences ER, EHR, or ERT on some swords be interpreted as "honour" in German, mixed in with Latin words and abbreviations.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Furthermore you say the Padua sword has double-stroked H's like the Whitham sword (my picture shows single-stroked H's on the Whitham??

Looks like I may be in error on this one...In many photos the second H appears to have two strokes, but one may be a reflection off the ridge between the two fullers. I was sure that I had seen a closeup or illustration in the forum (from Peter Johnsson?) that clearly showed two strokes, but of course now I cannot find any such thing. Usually I am more careful than this... I will edit my other post to avoid spreading misinformation. Blush

Still, the swords I mention share an interesting series of commonalities... The Padua sword definitely shares the rare double-H with the Finnish sword, which Oakeshott first(?) compared to the Witham sword, which is physically similar to the Whittlesea sword, which can finally be linked back to the Padua sword through the shared extensive punctuation marks.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Even more the sentence you show also includes a greek "heta" in the second line. The purpose was likely be make a distinction between latin H and the greek long E/Æ sound

Another character I was not familiar with... my weaknesses are showing! I was assuming (and still think) that the illustration is showing F's with missing inlay. the inscription seems strictly repetitive to me... allowing for missing inlay, both sides repeat HEXFR three times and open/close with the "lazy S" character. There are several other swords with similar, strict repetitions like this that I've been intending to post about...

Possibly a better candidate for a "heta" character is one from Izjaslavl, Ukraine (Изяславля) which seems to read SNEX┍NEX┍NEX┍NS. Notice the strict repetition again, and opening/closing S's. Both swords (and others) include EX in the repeated sequence... possibly for "eterni Xristos"?


Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Example of a "Romanisch Majuskel" is the "Prüfening dedicatory inscription" from 1119

I had this one in my files already as a good, legible, dated example including many different abbreviations.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Found a picture of one of the other 4 sandstone reliefs from the St. Peters Church in Utrecht

The characters on this one are mostly quite simple and plain... interesting abbreviation in "cunctor[um]" with the OR combined and the abbreviation stroke through the leg of the R making it look like an X.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels, you have posted a huge amount of information! It will some time for me to process it all properly...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Just wanted to share this paleographic article find from "The elements of abbreviation in medieval Latin paleography" by ADRIANO CAPPELLI 1982, page 16-17.

Thank you for this reference, it looks very useful! I have been looking and comparing abbreviations in inscriptions on other objects and a comprehensive source should be helpful.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So since you actually have this S lying on the side in the sword inscriptions [is that from the Finnish sword?], it worth mentioning that it might not be an S at all; but Er-, Ter- when not final, and likely -ur, -tur when final.

Yes, it's the Finnish sword. I have never heard of this character before... coincidentally(?) Worley and Wagner suggest that the sequences ER, EHR, or ERT on some swords be interpreted as "honour" in German, mixed in with Latin words and abbreviations.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Furthermore you say the Padua sword has double-stroked H's like the Whitham sword (my picture shows single-stroked H's on the Whitham??

Looks like I may be in error on this one...In many photos the second H appears to have two strokes, but one may be a reflection off the ridge between the two fullers. I was sure that I had seen a closeup or illustration in the forum (from Peter Johnsson?) that clearly showed two strokes, but of course now I cannot find any such thing. Usually I am more careful than this... I will edit my other post to avoid spreading misinformation. Blush

Still, the swords I mention share an interesting series of commonalities... The Padua sword definitely shares the rare double-H with the Finnish sword, which Oakeshott first(?) compared to the Witham sword, which is physically similar to the Whittlesea sword, which can finally be linked back to the Padua sword through the shared extensive punctuation marks.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Even more the sentence you show also includes a greek "heta" in the second line. The purpose was likely be make a distinction between latin H and the greek long E/Æ sound

Another character I was not familiar with... my weaknesses are showing! I was assuming (and still think) that the illustration is showing F's with missing inlay. the inscription seems strictly repetitive to me... allowing for missing inlay, both sides repeat HEXFR three times and open/close with the "lazy S" character. There are several other swords with similar, strict repetitions like this that I've been intending to post about...

Possibly a better candidate for a "heta" character is one from Izjaslavl, Ukraine (Изяславля) which seems to read SNEX┍NEX┍NEX┍NS. Notice the strict repetition again, and opening/closing S's. Both swords (and others) include EX in the repeated sequence... possibly for "eterni Xristos"?


Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Example of a "Romanisch Majuskel" is the "Prüfening dedicatory inscription" from 1119

I had this one in my files already as a good, legible, dated example including many different abbreviations.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Found a picture of one of the other 4 sandstone reliefs from the St. Peters Church in Utrecht

The characters on this one are mostly quite simple and plain... interesting abbreviation in "cunctor[um]" with the OR combined and the abbreviation stroke through the leg of the R making it look like an X.


Interesting about the "Ehre" (Danish: Ære, English: Honour).

On the Finnish sword we have the lying-down S as possible initial Er/Ter followed by "the double-stroke H".
It gets even worse. I don't even think it is clearcut an H after seeing the variation of A's in the "Gotische Majuskel" from early 1300's.
See: Eva Frodl-Kraft: "Die mittelalterlichen Glasgemälde in Niederösterreich" 1. Teil. page LIII.
Source: https://books.google.dk/books?id=a_mILujSTvwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
H is after all a fairly strange letter to have so much occurring, but as an A it would perhaps work better.
The Finnish sword doesn't seem to be written with common "Romanische Majuskel" and a lot of strange things is going on.

Lying-down S followed by double-stroked H: Could be Era or Ter(r)a, or just Ehre (if it is a H signifying the greek eta vowel sound?). So many possibilities!
Then you have the EX as on the Izjaslavl sword. I think you are on to something there: "eterni Xristos" is possible but quite a lot of E-words can be applied here I think.
The use of a greek letter "heta" certainly makes more sense in an orthodox setting, or could be an early version of the мягкий знак Ь, ь. (/Merkisnak/). Hold your hats, since this sign is for the front "yer" or front "er" (Er again!!!!).
In modern slavic languages it has lost its individual sound and just indicates palatalization of the preceding consonant.

I would agree that the repetition of the letters on the Finnish sword makes for a partly preserved F the far most likely scenario, but fun to look at other possibilities!

Also you are right that the ligature looking "ORx" on the sandstone relief is pretty interesting.

Here is the Capelli article, page 17 (1899): "The sixth sign is somewhat similar to the fifth. It also resembles an arabic 2, but with an oblique line through the tail. Almost always on the line and at the end of the word, most commonly it is used to indicate the syllable -rum. Note that since the oblique line is also a sign of truncation, this sign can further stand for any final syllable that begins with an r."
Thus giving what you correctly wrote as "cunctor[um]".
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2015 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



So the Finnish Sword has a lot of repetition, but not totally:
Three S's are all lying down. All 6 H's (A's?) are double-stroked.
We have three F's and the 2 possible incomplete ones (could also be greek Gamma's) and 1 "strange letter" (heightened small letter near the end of the first line), between an F and the lying down S (which in final occurrence could be -ur/-tur).
Then we have 5 E's and then a C that might be an incomplete E.

1st line:
+ SHEXFRHEX(F/G)RHEXF?S+
So clearly a repetition of three occurring EX:
+SH - EX - FRH - EX - (F/G)RH - EX - F?S+ (the ? is definitely not an R).

2nd line:
+SHEXFRH(C/E)X(F/heta)RHEX....
Repetition also clear here: + SH - EX - FRH (C/E)X - (F/heta)RH - EX - ? ends without a + so maybe incomplete??

Both lines begin with "lying-down S" and "double-stroked H".
Both lines seems to have three recurring EX's [where the "C" should be an E] and two recurring FRH (though the second one is questionable in each line).
The F?S ending in line one is unique, but the second line is likely incomplete as no + ends it.

So with the SH as a possible "Ter-/Er- A" meaning, we can't really get any further if we can't make sense of the rest.
"FRH" could thus also be "FRA". But FR surely could be an Abbreviation for "Frater" = brother (Fitting FRA even more), which would make sense in a crusader context as Finland in that time period.
So some word with E preceding X, which must stand for "Christus" (using the greek X letter).

Have to think about this..... Laughing Out Loud

Having fun here: FRH EX
Fratrem electum Christi = ["Chosen brother of Christ"] or some variants to this idea.
Maybe a bit far out, but cool text if you are a self-aware crusader knight, he sees himself as brother-in-arms with Christ himself fighting the pagans.
Someone need to check my latin here if it is correct.....

More "title like": Frater elector Christi ["Brother-elect" of Christ]. Templars were brothers and had "electors".


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Wed 21 Oct, 2015 8:57 am; edited 2 times in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2015 3:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To continue with the Swedish swords:

Karlstad sword:
Both sides of the sword have identical inscriptions:
+ERTISSDXCNERTISSDX+

The third and twelfth letter us interpreted as a T (both time preceding the "IS letter").
"The T is sickle-shaped with a double stem. The letter forms are to be classified as late Romanic/ early Gothic, 12th-13th centuries, due to the typical forms of T".
So this type of T should then be typical of a transition phase between Romanische and Frühe Gotische Majuskel?

This T-letter doesn't have to be a T , but could be something else as the authors recognize (an IC ligature).
So again big discussion can be made whether the fourth letter in this case is the ligature IS or a U!

Their alternative guess I actually really like (here "T" is IC and "IS" is U):
Ericus D(u)x C Nericus D(u)x - "Duke Erik, Duke of Närke". [Närke is spelled Neeric (1165-81) on old Swedish!].
Here the middle "C" as a "chrismon" (symbol of Christ), where "X" or "P" also was used.
The authors don't think this reading likely.

The (N)ERTIS is interpreted by the authors as perhaps: “N(OMEN) E(TERNUM) R(EGIS) T(RINI) I(ESU)S", but can also be the German words Eret (honour) and Neret (protect). The authors seems to prefer this explation.

With the SDX as a fixed combination of “SANCTUS DOMINUS XRISTUS" and furthermore the IS ligature could possibly for "Iesus" the following reading is proposed by the authors “Venerate Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ, protect Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ” can be done from this interpretation.
+ER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus C NER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus+

The authors gets to one primary conclusion, that swords very likely show a mixture of German and Latin words!
It certainly doesn't make it easier.


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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2015 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
With the SDX as a fixed combination of “SANCTUS DOMINUS XRISTUS" and furthermore the IS ligature could possibly for "Iesus" the following reading is proposed by the authors “Venerate Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ, protect Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ” can be done from this interpretation.
+ER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus C NER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus+

The evidence for their interpretation of ISSDX is very strong I think... from their paper and other sources, I know of at least nine swords that include this sequence, including the one Marc has been working on. The most complete writings of the sequence read ISScSDX, so the inclusion of "sanctus" seems unambiguous. Other variations are recognizable as contractions or mis-spellings of this longer sequence.

I will respond to the your earlier posts as soon as I have time, I have another question for you re. the repetitive inscriptions.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Oct, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A fascinating possibility about the Karlstad sword is that both readings could be correct at the same time, which would be some feat to achieve; but possible thanks to ambiguous letters on the sword (U or IS, IC or T).
Reading A) +ERICUS DuX C NERICUS DuX+ -> "Erik Jarl", Närke Jarl"
Reading B) +ER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus C NER(e)T IesuS Sanctus Dominus Xristus+ -> "Venerate Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ, protect Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ".

The "Dux" is very likely just a translation of the Scandinavian title Jarl (English: Earl). In medieval Swedish "Jerl".

So perhaps an Erik was Jarl (Dux) of Neeric (modern Närke) as the district was called in the 1100's.

Could very well be a member of Bjälboätten (House of Bjälbo), which is very prominent in Sweden in the 1100-1300's and almost got a monopoly on Swedish Earls, before they themselves became Swedish Kings and abolished the title in 1308.

The earliest known family member of the House of Bjälbo is Folke "the fat", who becomes Jarl in ~1100 under King Inge I Stenkilsson den äldre (the Old). The King was seated in nearby Östergötland (and a Christian - he burned the pagan Temple in Uppsala in 1087).
Folke was paternal grandfather of Birger "the smiling" ("Brosa"), who was the leading Swedish Jarl from 1174-1202 and called interestingly enough for "Dux Sweorum"! He was the most powerful man in Östergötland and also owned estates in Närke! He was a great donator to the Cistercian monastery of Risaberga in Närke. So Närke was part of the core territory.

The nephew of Birger Brosa was known as Birger Magnusson "Jarl" as he became the leading Earl of Sweden (1248-1266)and also using the latin title "Dux Sweorum".

One of Birger Jarls' sons "Valdemar Birgersson" was made King of Sweden in 1250-1275, just to be succeeded by his younger brother Magnus III Birgersson "Ladulås" ("Barnlock" or a corruption of Ladislaus) as King 1275-1290.
Magnus' son Birger Magnusson was King from 1290-1318.

So an extremely powerful family.
So it is not unlikely that at some point a member of the Bjälbo family had an "Erik", who was Jarl (Dux) of Närke during the 12th/13th century where the sword is tentatively dated, but it seems possible if not even likely in my opinion.
This Erik could also be from another family, without changing the the possibility of an Erik Jarl.

As they were also devout (fanatic?) Christian - the “Venerate Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ, protect Jesus, the Holy Lord Christ” seems very fitting for them as well.
So I'll go for this double meaning!


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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 19 Oct, 2015 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

On the Finnish sword we have the lying-down S as possible initial Er/Ter followed by "the double-stroke H".
It gets even worse. I don't even think it is clearcut an H after seeing the variation of A's in the "Gotische Majuskel" from early 1300's.

That date seems a bit too late for direct comparison... my understanding is that this particular Finnish sword is part of the older finds that led Oakeshott to (over?)enthusiastically revise his dating of many swords to much earlier dates.

From your comparisons with other material, could the "double H" instead be a "double N"? In the paleographic table, Worley & Wagner show two examples of N's with almost horizontal double bars. Here is another example I found, with a fragment of a "benedictus" type inscription:



This example also comes from Ukraine, in or near Kiev (article was in Ukrainian or Russian and I couldn't make out any other details.)

Interpreting the "H" as "N" would bring the Finnish sword into closer harmony with the Izjaslavl sword, as well as two additional members of this little family. Another sword from the River Witham, published in Oakeshott's Records as miscellaneous #23, bears the inscription: +SNEXORENEXORENEXORENEXOREIS+. The sword is a short type XI, shown below at right:



This inscription is apparently duplicated on a Dutch sword found in the Meuse, coincidentally described on the same page I first linked describing the twin of the Ordrup Moor sword! The incomplete inscription reportedly reads ...NEXORENEXORENEXORENEXORENS+. I haven't found any other source or photo of this one.
http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl/wiki/Het_Zwaard

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

I think you are on to something there: "eterni Xristos" is possible but quite a lot of E-words can be applied here I think.

Most definitely there are many words that we can mix and match to create a short incantation based on the assumption that X=Xristos. With the extended sequence NEXORE on the other swords, we can speculate a little further... perhaps "nomen eterni Xristos omnipotens rege"? [the name of eternal Christ, the almighty king] I also welcome corrections to my Latin...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

I would agree that the repetition of the letters on the Finnish sword makes for a partly preserved F the far most likely scenario, but fun to look at other possibilities!

Another slight possibility is that the F's are in fact incomplete/misread E's... again this would lead to a closer parallel with the Witham sword in particular, which specifically alternates curved ϵ's with straight E's.

I hope to be able to clarify some of these questions re. the Finnish sword soon... as I mentioned, later this month I'll be able to access a few new sources, and in particular should be able to spend some time with Leppaaho's book. I don't read much Finnish, but hopefully I should be able to get more detail than that single illustration!
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Oct, 2015 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mārce! (Latin vocative...)
You sold me on the H as in fact some kind of N.
What is interesting is their 2009 article have two examples of "double-barred-H + N" together (not double-barred-H occurring in its own without a following N). So what is going on here?

So I'll throw out a wild guess that perhaps HN together is a nasalized N [the old germanic -ing sound as seen inEnglish /Ing-lish/] which in modern phonology has the letter ŋ.
[Exists as its own letter in the older futhark - the IngvaR/YngvaR runes in Scandinavian or Proto-Germanic Ingwaz].

So H without the following N could be a "long N" as we would write as NN.

Your Ukrainian examples +BE/double-stroked-H/EDIC.... makes it VERY likely that the reading must be Benedictus. Here it really looks like a single N (but local pronounciation could have been /Bennedictus/).

I would be really nice to have a better look at the Finnish sword, that even if some inlay was missing an X-ray for instance should give a better indication of what some of the letters really look like! Hope your Finnish book have better pictures than your current one. Curved ϵ's alternating with straight E's are a definite possibility of convention as the changes between uses in N's and C (G's?).

Your guess for NEXORE as "Nomen Eterni Xristos Omnipotens RegE (or REge)" ["The name of eternal Christ, the almighty king"] is really cool.

As I'm not even close to being a latin expert: You have .........., Omnipotens Rege.
If the meaning as a full title "All-powerful King", then shouldn't both words be in Nominative singularis masculinum?
So "........Christus, Omnipotens Rex".
"Rege" is Ablative Singularis of Rex - which I can't get to fit. [Omnipotens is an adjective that modifies Rex]

The Swords has NEXORE: I would think that the -ORE ending would be the Omnipotens Rex Eternus (Medieval variant of Classical latin written Aeternus -> "Allmighty and eternal King"). Hence you avoid having the last RE for one word.
Omnipotens and aeternus are adjectives, which must follow the case of the noun - here in nominative singularis masculinum (Rex).

EDIT:
Another possible variant:
Omnipotens Rex Eterni
Here Eterni would be in the singularis masculinum genitive case.
"The Allmighy King of Eternity"
I found some Latin Medieval inscriptions with Omnipotens Rex Eternae/Eterne, where Eternae seems to be singularis femininum genitive case, though I'm at a loss why it's the case?

So perhaps two half lines NEX-ORE could be explored.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Wed 21 Oct, 2015 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Your guess for NEXORE as "Nomen Eterni Xristos Omnipotens RegE (or REge)" ["The name of eternal Christ, the almighty king"] is really cool.

I cannot claim all the credit here, parts of the sequence have certainly been suggested before... possibly this material has not all been assembled in once place before, at least not in an English publication.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
You have .........., Omnipotens Rege.
If the meaning as a full title "All-powerful King", then shouldn't both words be in Nominative singularis masculinum?
So "........Christus, Omnipotens Rex".

The poor grammar is all mine however, thanks for the correction! I am only just beginning to learn a little Latin...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I would think that the -ORE ending would be the Omnipotens Rex Eternus
EDIT:
Another possible variant:
Omnipotens Rex Eterni

This makes sense to me also... another possible interpretion of the full sequence (again, partially taken from published interpretations) is something like Nomen Eius Christos, Omnipotens Rex Eterni meaning "his name is Christ, the almighty king of eternity". I thought the R could alternatively stand for "redemptor", and E for "excelsus".

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I found some Latin Medieval inscriptions with Omnipotens Rex Eternae/Eterne

I would certainly be interested to see these.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
What is interesting is their 2009 article have two examples of "double-barred-H + N" together (not double-barred-H occurring in its own without a following N). So what is going on here?

I must point out that in fact the letters are not adjacent in the inscriptions, the table is merely showing that each inscription includes the two variant letter forms.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Oct, 2015 5:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Your guess for NEXORE as "Nomen Eterni Xristos Omnipotens RegE (or REge)" ["The name of eternal Christ, the almighty king"] is really cool.

I cannot claim all the credit here, parts of the sequence have certainly been suggested before... possibly this material has not all been assembled in once place before, at least not in an English publication.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
You have .........., Omnipotens Rege.
If the meaning as a full title "All-powerful King", then shouldn't both words be in Nominative singularis masculinum?
So "........Christus, Omnipotens Rex".

The poor grammar is all mine however, thanks for the correction! I am only just beginning to learn a little Latin...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I would think that the -ORE ending would be the Omnipotens Rex Eternus
EDIT:
Another possible variant:
Omnipotens Rex Eterni

This makes sense to me also... another possible interpretation of the full sequence (again, partially taken from published interpretations) is something like Nomen Eius Christos, Omnipotens Rex Eterni meaning "his name is Christ, the almighty king of eternity". I thought the R could alternatively stand for "redemptor", and E for "excelsus".

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I found some Latin Medieval inscriptions with Omnipotens Rex Eternae/Eterne

I would certainly be interested to see these.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
What is interesting is their 2009 article have two examples of "double-barred-H + N" together (not double-barred-H occurring in its own without a following N). So what is going on here?

I must point out that in fact the letters are not adjacent in the inscriptions, the table is merely showing that each inscription includes the two variant letter forms.


Here is an example from the net:
Book of Hours (HM 1143 - XV century), but I think you have some 1300 versions of Book of Hours as well.
"Domine deus omnipotens rex eterne glorie, qui eum sanctis [sic] esse beatum qui viam peccatorum spernens.."
Source (ff 187-194): http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/digitalscriptori...M1143.html

The Pistoia fragments of the Lucca musical codex (Italian Ars Nova early 1400's):
Source of "Omnipotens Rex Eterne": https://books.google.dk/books?id=LctU2kDjh1YC&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=%22Omnipotens+Rex+Eterne%22&source=bl&ots=KCJaPdk-zs&sig=roxJ2cqcLbMe_b2OYcU4wVvpR8k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAWoVChMIsZHHh43byAIV5BByCh1LJwK-#v=onepage&q=%22Omnipotens%20Rex%20Eterne%22&f=false

Thanks for correcting me on the HN - so this is an example on the sword of having both H and N as N variants.
Probably this is the case of using letter variations within the sentence (and not anything phonetically then)!
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
They also reports that "GICELIN type swords" were also found in Denmark, Finland and Poland [unclear if it is based on the Schwietering article in the “Zeitschrift für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde” Vol 7 (1915-17), Fig. 1-9].
Really! I would like to see them........


Found out that Zeitschrift für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde”, Vol. 7 (1915-17) is actually available online and so the Schwietering article is here:
Source: https://archive.org/stream/ZeitschriftFuerHistorischeWaffenkunde07#page/n197/mode/2up
The sword from Nationalmuseet is d). Here we get the inventory number D 7955 and the inscription:
+ INNO(middle dot)MINIE DOMIN(middle dot). The dot is spaced in between the letters.
So clearly an In Nomin(i?)e Domin(i?) inscription. [Why Nominie instead of Nomine I don't know]

All volumes of the "Zeitschift....". here:
Source: https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Zeitschrift+fuer+historische+Waffenkunde%22

The Danish sword was found at Odsherred on Sjælland (Zealand).
No length given?
Pommel: 5 cm
Width of blade: 4,3 cm
Length of Grip: 10,2 cm
Length of cross-guard: 23,7 cm
So Oakeshott Type XI ?? - long narrow blade.
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2016 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To end with the last of the Swedish swords in the 2009 article by Wagner et al. - the second Fyris sword UMF/B 74.

This sword the authors classify as an Oakeshott type XI or XIa and it has a very long inscription on one side and a much shorter on the other:

Obverse:
SCSDXCEROXMATRCIIISSCSDXCERNISSCSDXMTOERISC

Reverse:
T T (or T A T A)

The first SCS is clearly "Sanctus" - they inform us about that "the letters SCS is marked with an abbreviation stroke", but it only shows up on the two later SCS clusters in the inscription as a sub-linear dash under the C alone.
The SCS cluster often occurs with a supralinear dash over the C (or with a dash through the middle of the C) as can sometimes be seen on inscriptions.

DX the author interpret as "Dominus Xhristos" (using the greek letter X instead of C for Christus).

So SCSDX is clearly "Holy Lord Christ".

The line has in fact 4 X's so that is a lot of "Xhristos/Christus" in one sentence - so I do wonder if the X could be used as a "Chrismon" and "spacing" between sentences? [With the above mentioned Karlstad sword the C there if used as a Christmon actually separated two different lines].
This hypothesis of mine can be immediately discarded as we 3 times have the combination SCSDX

SCSDXCEROXMATRCIIISSCSDXCERNISSCSDXMTOERISC

That still leaves distinct letter combinations in between this repetition, though.

A) CEROXMATRIIIS
B) CERNIS
C) MTOERISC

ad A)
This one have the problem that the letters CER are only partly preserved (especially the first two can be interpreted otherwise).
The O2 looking letters they interpret as an M.
The three I's after each other looks unusual. The first two being normals I's and the third letters they interpret as the ligature IS. This ligature they later notes can be used to indicate "Iesus" (it can also be interpreted as an U)
So the interpretation of the letters are still somewhat tentative.

We see also that on the first two occasions the SCS DX is followed by a C.
Maybe this C following the X is then a "Chrismon" used to separate line or just XC stands for Christos/Christus?

Then I get these lines, that actually now starts to show some structure!!
SCS DX
C(hrismon)
EROXMATRIIIS
SCSDX
C(hrismon)
ERNIS
SCSDX
MTOERISC

The authors speculate that the ER could be German "Ehre" as in the Karlstad sword (just here in the singular), which I wholeheartedly agrees with is likely.
1) ER + OMATRIIIS
2) ER + NIS
3) MTO + ER + ISC

First line:
Ehre first.
The the following O is really odd here. The authors comes with the suggestion of an Invocative O.
MATRIIIS (or MATRIIU) is probably a name of some sorts if it follows "Ehre".
The authors speculate and find MATRICIUS, MAVRICIUS, MARTINIUS
Names in Scandinavia can easily be spelled with a double I - like Fris/Friis or Ris/Riis so maybe that is what we see here.
The final IS/U ligature could perhaps symbolize a -us/-ius ending.

NB: Have to throw in a wild guess.
ERO could alternatively be Latin [= "I will be", first person singular futurum of Sum (= "am")].
- then MATRIIIS is no name, but have another meaning.
MATRIS is singular genitive of MATER. (so I just take the three I's as emphasize or the Trinity for this option?)

It gets really interesting: ERO X(= Christus) MATRIS -> "I will be Mother of Christ" or something like that at it is unknown in which case Christ appears in, but most likely Christus.
"I will be the Mother of Christ" is likely not meant as the wielder of the sword Razz (that would be something), but words of the Virgin Mary put on the sword.

Second line:
ER-N-IS -> "Ehre nomen Iesus", perhaps. -> "Honour the name of Jesus".
- here the C before ER is omitted as just a "Chrismon".

Another wild guess, where you incorporate the C and read it in latin:
CERNIS is in fact also latin:
"You see/discern/separate" [second person singular present of "cerno"]
CERNIS SCS DX -> CERNIS Sanctus Dominus Christus -> "You see the Holy Lord Christ".

Third line:
Here is it important to note that the MTO is a combination of letters - O2 cluster - smaller C with a T-like structure above it - O with a supralinear dash over it. So this could be some kind of abbreviation.
Have to think more about this one.....
The ER + ISC ending seems to me as "Ehre Iesus Christus" -> "Honour Jesus Christ"


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Sun 14 Feb, 2016 7:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2016 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After reading the article by
Worley & Wagner (2013)
How to make swords talk: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding medieval swords and their inscriptions.
Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 55(2): 113-132

Source: http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/digitalAssets/19...ptions.pdf
there is the following statement I think is spot on when it comes to researching most sword inscriptions:

"The point as regards sword inscriptions is that while some of the letter combinations on sword
blades are clearly abbreviated forms of Latin words, such as the “SCSDX” combination, other
combinations cannot be understood so easily. Neither can they be equated with vernacular
languages that would be appropriate. So, seeing as how magical practices would seem to have
permeated medieval life it would appear appropriate to attempt to understand sword inscriptions
along those lines
. However, while this is almost certainly a valuable addition to the
sword inscription interpreters’ toolbox it comes at a heavy price. In short, it means that it is
possible that parts of the inscriptions will never be fully understood. Some letters for example
may be offhand one letter abbreviations of whole words from any number of different
sources from psalms to long forgotten names. These are intermingled with other letters that
are purposely meant to be nonsense and thus un-interpretable
".
Source (page 119-120): http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/digitalAssets/19...ptions.pdf

If the text on a sword is intelligible it is in my opinion done ON PURPOSE!
The message gives (magical/divine) power to the sword and wielder and is a secret (actually Rune means secret so obfuscating of inscriptions on weapons can have a long history from the Iron Age!), that is not meant to be deciphered by others. If the also mix between different languages it gets even harder!
So when scholars assumes misspellings on sword inscriptions, when trying to fit a meaning to the letters, they could in fact miss an important point.

Hypothesis:
Some sword inscriptions are perhaps deliberately created this way, NOT because people couldn't read or spell correctly, but maybe because they actually COULD and thus it was extremely necessary to obfuscate the text!
If a sword's inscription was meant to be seen and read, then the text would be legible and we do find some swords where it is the case
.

NB: I neither state that this obfuscation is the case for all abbreviated sword inscriptions.
The Ordrup Sword possibly had a fairly straightforward NNDIC = IN NOMINE NOSTRI DOMINI IESUS CHRISTUS, that would be somewhat obvious to most readers of Latin (though normally the order is Nomine Domini Nostri, so perhaps some obfuscation going on or simply that NNDIC looks aesthetically better than NDNIC?).

So trying to decipher an obscure sword inscription is probably more like code breaking, where you don't presume spelling errors. If someone uses a "book cipher" then it is impossible to crack the code without knowing the book.
If we are lucky that they uses initial letters for each word in correct order from for instance a Christian prayer, we might get lucky in finding a match, but if they used one initial letter to refer to a whole psalm, then the list of letters will likely be impossible to decipher.

So if we find CDPOCCT we might get lucky and equate it with "Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae". But it could be also written CRIDEPROPTCRCETR and with many other possible variants as well.
It's easy if you know what you mean yourself when you put it on the sword, but makes it close to impossible for others!
What is important is that you yourself have the "Apostles creed" on your sword, when going into the world the spread the good news (eu-aggelion).

What if the writer of the sword wrote CPA..... and he meant:
1) C indicating the entire Apostles Creed
2) P indicated the entire Pater Noster
3) A Indicates the Ave Maria.
That would be impossible to crack and even if we by chance actually made the right assumption it would be impossible to prove or disprove.
Even if we was able to resurrect the guy from the dead and ask him, he could perhaps still lie to keep the magical line a secret so you would also have to invent mind-reading.

So our best attempt is to find clusters of letters to appear again and again like DIC, NED, SCS DX etc that seem to have a standard (non-secret) meaning.
Then we at least have a framework for trying to decipher the letters incurring in between.
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb, 2016 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Niels,
I agree that some inscriptions are likely to be completely or partially impossible to interpret - either as a result of deliberately concealed meanings or obscure abbreviation schemes. A "code-breaking" approach based on comparing inscriptions on swords and other objects for shared or repetitive elements seems like the best approach to me.

Based on the number of common elements we can already see, I think there is hope that many inscriptions do not fall into the "book cypher" category. Many of the longest and complex inscriptions do seem to include fragments of words, and share many common sequences - even if the meaning is not clear. Inscriptions involving only a few characters are the most likely to be impossible to interpret since there is so little information to work with... what does LNL mean? ATA? FPF? All real examples... coincidentally, all are palindromes - perhaps the most likely category to be associated with obscure magical phrases?

The SDX sequence is quite distinctive though even it seems to occur in several variations: ISScSDX, ISSDX, ISDX, ISScSD, etc. There is no consistent system of abbreviation.

Regarding the possible sequences EROXMATRIS and CERNISScSDX, I am not quite sure what to think but have a couple observations. Both overlap another sequence SCSDXCER which occurs twice in the inscription... so either the apparent words ero and cernis are coincidental or we are seeing a sophisticated multi-level system of sequences and abbreviations! CERNIS is also overlapping some of the letters of ISScSDX which fit the reading Iesus Sanctus Dominus Christos so nicely...

Similarities can be found on another inscription mentioned in the paper, on sword W1830 in Berlin. This one includes CE..NISROX, followed by an apparent name MTINIUS. The illustration suggests the missing letter is not an R, so possibly not a match for cernis, but illustrations can be unreliable. ROX occurs without the preceding E, so not ero? But it is directly followed in both inscriptions by the personal reference to Martin(?) and Mother/Mary(?) - so seemingly a similar "grammatical" construction. ROXMR appears also on the Whittlesea Mere sword... MR (and MA) was definitely in use as an abbreviation for Mater/Maria (which does not guarantee that's what it is here of course).
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2016 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Hi Niels,
I agree that some inscriptions are likely to be completely or partially impossible to interpret - either as a result of deliberately concealed meanings or obscure abbreviation schemes. A "code-breaking" approach based on comparing inscriptions on swords and other objects for shared or repetitive elements seems like the best approach to me.

Based on the number of common elements we can already see, I think there is hope that many inscriptions do not fall into the "book cypher" category. Many of the longest and complex inscriptions do seem to include fragments of words, and share many common sequences - even if the meaning is not clear. Inscriptions involving only a few characters are the most likely to be impossible to interpret since there is so little information to work with... what does LNL mean? ATA? FPF? All real examples... coincidentally, all are palindromes - perhaps the most likely category to be associated with obscure magical phrases?


Yeah the palindromic seems to be of a magical nature and they might not actually mean anything.
Abracadabra is off course a very famous palindrome and clearly still today associated by magic.
Described already in Roman times by Quintus Sammonicus Serenus in his "De medicina praecepta" (~200 AD) the formular written in a triangle with diminishing number of letters going down in the triangle would cure against Malaria.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abracadabra
For Romans and Europeans later on, they probably had no idea (and maybe not even cared about) what the sentence meant. It was the palindromic nature that made these words powerful. The more exotic sounding, perhaps the better?
So you can expect a ton a nonsense palindromes on amulets and other items that wards off "evils".
It would be interesting to see how popular palindromes are different eras and places - do we find other examples of LNL, AFA, FPF??

Semordnilap's are another thing to look for. That is a word or a sentence that makes for two different words or sentences when spelled each way.
One famous is ROMA, which backwards is AMOR.
A typical Protestant way during the Reformation of proving that the Catholic Church based in Rome is Anti-love - well basically Anti-Christian.

Another way is to have a repetition of a letter or letters, that indicates perhaps an emphasize or is a way to draw secret focus to numbers?
We have the Lindholmen Wand Amulet from Scania (modern Sweden) from the Iron Age.

ek erilaR sa(=i)wilagaR hateka : | aaaaaaaaRRRnnn-b- muttt : alu :

First line until the : I (the) Eril Sa(i)wilagaR (is) called: [this is simple and non-obscure]
though it could also be "ek erilaR sa WilagaR hateka -> I (the) Eril "the Cunning" (is) called.
Second line :...: then the next clearly is obscure and magical 8 a's followed by 3'R's and 3 n's ending with a b then mu and 3 t's.
Third :..: The ending with the "alu" is also clearly magical (but not obscure) and seen on many iron age rune inscriptions.
It probably means to "sanctify" the text and object on which the text is written.
As english "ale" and Danish "øl" likely is derived from "alu" then it is likely to suppose that ale was poured over the object in question in a libation sacrifice/ritual.

So it is clear here we need some kind of cypher to decode the meaning in the second line!
Scandinavians loved "games" like this - also in poetry with the use of kennings and heiti. The secret (= rune) was only for them "in-the know".

At Nydam you have you an arrow with LUA as the inscription:
That really seems like this is Alu and is intentionally obscured that way! We find another one at Nydam with just LA and another non-obscured with ALU.
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2016 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
It would be interesting to see how popular palindromes are different eras and places - do we find other examples of LNL, AFA, FPF??

The sample size is pretty small...

I know of maybe one other example of ATA, from an old illustration, but a modern source reports the letters completely differently (with no illustration or photo).

There may be a small group related to the FPF inscription... I have examples of FEF and FKEKF. "F" could stand for filius or a million other things...

There is a small group of inscriptions like NON and NEN, which seem to generally be from eastern Europe. Some use reversed И's for better symmetry.

Maybe the biggest group is OSO and SOS... Oakeshott mentions these a few times I think.

There are also longer palindromes, like SININIS and some other related(?) inscriptions that start/end with "SI". Several examples have appeared at auction recently, but I worry about their authenticity...
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Feb, 2016 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
It would be interesting to see how popular palindromes are different eras and places - do we find other examples of LNL, AFA, FPF??

The sample size is pretty small...

I know of maybe one other example of ATA, from an old illustration, but a modern source reports the letters completely differently (with no illustration or photo).

There may be a small group related to the FPF inscription... I have examples of FEF and FKEKF. "F" could stand for filius or a million other things...

There is a small group of inscriptions like NON and NEN, which seem to generally be from eastern Europe. Some use reversed И's for better symmetry.

Maybe the biggest group is OSO and SOS... Oakeshott mentions these a few times I think.

There are also longer palindromes, like SININIS and some other related(?) inscriptions that start/end with "SI". Several examples have appeared at auction recently, but I worry about their authenticity...


Good examples Mark.
The eastern European NON and NEN with reversed И's enforces the idea they indeed are palindromes!

As for speculating the problems is that we don't even know in what language they are supposed to be in.
Abacadabra could be from aramaic but it's not even certain and anyhow most of the users of it probably did so because it was exotic sounding.

I have here a famous Iron Age example from Denmark written in Greek!

A grave from around 300 AD was found at Årslev Kirke on Fyn
You found a skeleton, gold, silver and bronze jewelry, a gold coin and a crystal ball - 3cm in diameter - on which clearly was inscribed: ΑΒΛAΘANAΛBA


Source: http://natmus.dk/historisk-viden/temaer/genst...stalkugle/

Here it doesn't create a palindrome, but it is part of a group of inscriptions called Abraxas-stone or Abraxas-papyri after the megas archōn (great archon = ruler) of the 365 ouranoi (= spheres) in the cosmology associated with Basilides. So Abraxas is the "princeps" (latin = the first) of the 365 archons of the 365 spheres.
Basilides was an early gnostic Christian in Alexandria, who was teaching from 117-138 AD.
His gnostic followers actually survived in Egypt into the 4th Century.

Abraxas:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraxas
Basilides:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilides

The whole line is found on a metal plate in the Karlsruhe Museum:
АВРАΣАΞ (Abraxas)
ΑΒΛΑΝΑΘ
ΑΝΑΛΒΑ (the last two lines are palindromic around the center Theta).

In numerology АВРАΣАΞ gives the number 365 and the 7 letters in his name will correspond to the 7 planets !!
Α = 1, Β = 2, Ρ = 100, Α = 1, Σ = 200, Α = 1, Ξ = 60

The "Ablanathanalba" companion-inscription to Abraxas is a palindrome (theta = th), which possibly could be from Aramaic "Thou art our father".

So a Gnostic Basilidian Christian inscription ended up on a crystal ball in a (likely) Danish female grave from 300 AD!!
Whether the wearer was gnostic or the crystal ball was to protect against disease (as palindromes often did for Romans), the skeleton did not show any obvious diseases when examined!
I think it likely that a Germanic Vǫlva had some exotic stuff to enhance her magical abilities - possibly combined with some hellenistic cosmological thinking?
Ancient writers reported that (male) Gallic Druids could read and write latin and greek.
Maybe (female) Scandinavian Vǫlur could as well?
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I have here a famous Iron Age example from Denmark written in Greek!

A grave from around 300 AD was found at Årslev Kirke on Fyn
You found a skeleton, gold, silver and bronze jewelry, a gold coin and a crystal ball - 3cm in diameter - on which clearly was inscribed: ΑΒΛAΘANAΛBA

Wow! I have never seen any artifact quite like that before... Thanks for sharing!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
As for speculating the problems is that we don't even know in what language they are supposed to be in.

That's a good point, it is clear that exotic "magical" words were in use in both ancient and medieval times, and the sources of the words would likely be obscure... Words and characters adopted from Greek can easily lead to "odd" spellings in Latin, like how "Christ" in Latin documents is often abbreviated XPS, from the Greek Chi-Rho letters. Cabalistic protective charms with Hebrew meanings were in use by the 13th century, which seems at odds with the overall anti-Semitism of the times... "AGLA" for atah gibor le-olam Adonai being particularly common.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
The three I's after each other looks unusual. The first two being normals I's and the third letters they interpret as the ligature IS. This ligature they later notes can be used to indicate "Iesus" (it can also be interpreted as an U)
So the interpretation of the letters are still somewhat tentative.

I finally came across an example of this confusing letter form on something other than a sword... The word studii appears on the original seal of the University of Prague, dated to 1348. No ligatures or abbreviations are intended here, the second "i" is written with a different form for apparently aesthetic reasons.

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I have here a famous Iron Age example from Denmark written in Greek!

A grave from around 300 AD was found at Årslev Kirke on Fyn
You found a skeleton, gold, silver and bronze jewelry, a gold coin and a crystal ball - 3cm in diameter - on which clearly was inscribed: ΑΒΛAΘANAΛBA

Wow! I have never seen any artifact quite like that before... Thanks for sharing!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
As for speculating the problems is that we don't even know in what language they are supposed to be in.

That's a good point, it is clear that exotic "magical" words were in use in both ancient and medieval times, and the sources of the words would likely be obscure... Words and characters adopted from Greek can easily lead to "odd" spellings in Latin, like how "Christ" in Latin documents is often abbreviated XPS, from the Greek Chi-Rho letters. Cabalistic protective charms with Hebrew meanings were in use by the 13th century, which seems at odds with the overall anti-Semitism of the times... "AGLA" for atah gibor le-olam Adonai being particularly common.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
The three I's after each other looks unusual. The first two being normals I's and the third letters they interpret as the ligature IS. This ligature they later notes can be used to indicate "Iesus" (it can also be interpreted as an U)
So the interpretation of the letters are still somewhat tentative.

I finally came across an example of this confusing letter form on something other than a sword... The word studii appears on the original seal of the University of Prague, dated to 1348. No ligatures or abbreviations are intended here, the second "i" is written with a different form for apparently aesthetic reasons.



You are welcome. It is a most remarkable find.
What people often forget was how incredible sophisticated the ancient world was when it came to Astrology and Numerology.
This was the period of Mystery Religions and the sophistication level of text, numbers and planetary movements was regarded as important as the gods would communicate from above to below through hidden numbers in texts and planetary motions.
Even early Christianity had mysteries, and especially among the Gnostic Christians.
Those in the know could decode the will of the Gods. That knowledge was "Solis Sacerdotibus", only for the initiated into the mysteries. These were under heavy penalties never to be revealed, so we only have the one story preserved that do reveal something:
Apuleius "Metamorphoses" (called "Asinus aureus" = The Golden Ass by Augustine), which is also the only completely preserved classical Roman novel in Latin.

The protagonist Lucius is initiated to the hellenistic Mystery religion of Isis (different from the Ancient Egyptian Isis religion):

"Then that most generous of men took my arm and led me to the doors of the vast temple, and when he had opened them according to the ritual prescribed, and then performed the morning sacrifice, he brought from the inner sanctuary various books written in characters strange to me. Some shaped like creatures represented compressed expressions of profound concepts, in others the tops and tails of letters were knotted, coiled, interwoven like vine-tendrils to hide their meaning from profane and ignorant eyes. From these books he read aloud for me the details of what was needed for my initiation.
At once I set about acquiring those things myself or procuring them zealously through friends, while sparing no expense.

Then the high-priest escorted by a band of devotees led me to the nearest baths, saying the occasion required it. When I had bathed according to the custom, he asked favour of the gods, and purified me by a ritual cleansing, sprinkling me with water. Then in the early afternoon he led me to the shrine again, and placed me at the Goddess’ feet. He gave me certain orders too sacred for open utterance then, with all the company as witnesses, commanded me to curb my desire for food for the ten days following, to eat of no creature, and drink no wine.

I duly observed all this with reverence and restraint, and now came the evening destined for my appearance before the Goddess. The sun was setting, bringing twilight on, when suddenly a crowd flowed towards me, to honour me with sundry gifts, in accord with the ancient and sacred rite. All the uninitiated were ordered to depart, I was dressed in a new-made robe of linen and the high-priest, taking me by the arm, led me into the sanctuary’s innermost recess.

And now, diligent reader, you are no doubt keen to know what was said next, and what was done. I’d tell you, if to tell you, were allowed; if you were allowed to hear then you might know, but ears and tongue would sin equally, the latter for its profane indiscretion, the former for their unbridled curiosity. Oh, I shall speak, since your desire to hear may be a matter of deep religious longing, and I would not torment you with further anguish, but I shall speak only of what can be revealed to the minds of the uninitiated without need for subsequent atonement, things which though you have heard them, you may well not understand. So listen, and believe in what is true. I reached the very gates of death and, treading Proserpine’s threshold, yet passed through all the elements and returned. I have seen the sun at midnight shining brightly. I have entered the presence of the gods below and the presence of the gods above, and I have paid due reverence before them.
"
Source: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/TheGoldenAssXI.htm

We first read that the books are written in a way, so they can't be understood by profane & ignorant eyes (those un-initiated).
Then we have a ritual cleansing by water followed by a 10 day fasting period.
When that is finished at sunset he is dressed in new clothes (giving him essentially a new identity) and is taken by the high-priest by be shown the holiest of the sanctuary (to learn the secrets there).
Then Apuleius informs the reader that he is not allowed to say anything about this to a non-initated, but dares in the end to give a metaphorical explanation to what he saw, and here he is really daring (likely they would kill a person, that revealed their religious mysteries to non-initiated).

He reaches very close to the gates of death (actually on Proserpine's threshold - sounds really close). Then he passes through all the elements (crossing fire, air, earth and water and quintessence ?) and returned. He then sees the sun at midnight shining brightly (!) and have entered the presence of both the Gods below (Chtonian) and the Gods above (Celestial) and he pays (!) reverence before them.

In the Mystery religions it mostly took years to become initiated and it seems Christianity originally also had mysteries with being baptized the most important initiation.

Clement of Alexandria (~150-215 AD) - "Exhortation" chapter 12:
"Sail past the song; it works death. Exert your will only, and you have overcome ruin; bound to the wood of the cross, you shall be freed from destruction: the word of God will be your pilot, and the Holy Spirit will bring you to anchor in the haven of heaven. Then shall you see my God, and be initiated into the sacred mysteries, and come to the fruition of those things which are laid up in heaven reserved for me, which ear has not heard, nor have they entered into the heart of any."

"be initiated into the sacred mysteries" - well can't be much clearer when God is your pilot and the Holy Spirit bring you to anchor in heaven!
later Clement follows:
"Haste, Tiresias; believe, and you will see. Christ, by whom the eyes of the blind recover sight, will shed on you a light brighter than the sun; night will flee from you, fire will fear, death will be gone; you, old man, who saw not Thebes, shall see the heavens. O truly sacred mysteries! O stainless light! My way is lighted with torches, and I survey the heavens and God; I become holy while I am initiated. The Lord is the hierophant, and seals while illuminating him who is initiated, and presents to the Father him who believes, to be kept safe for ever. Such are the reveries of my mysteries. If it is your wish, be also initiated; and you shall join the choir along with angels around the unbegotten and indestructible and the only true God, the Word of God, raising the hymn with us. This Jesus, who is eternal, the one great High Priest of the one God, and of His Father, prays for and exhorts men."

Important for all mystery religions. Before initiation you are "blind" and with initiation you can now "see" as light has banished darkness.
"Truly sacred mysteries" quote!
So Tiresias is basically "called" to be initiated into the mysteries by Clement and then he will join the choir along with the angels around God. Jesus is the High Priest of the God.
Lucius is in Apuleius' book lead to the inner sanctuary of Isis by a High Priest.

Quotes from Clement of Alexandria - Exhortation are from this source:
Link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0208.htm

The point is that the sacred numerology and astrology in this mysteries was only learned AFTER initiation and really mostly kept secret!

About the Studii is can be correct latin of the meaning is "study of X".
Studii is genitive singular of "studium".
Its a bit hard to read upside down: You have the full text?
It is very interesting that yet here again, two different choices letters for the same letter are chosen right after each other. Again aesthetic consideration seems to be the primary reason.

About anti-semitism: Depends of what you put in the word. Christians was not against Jews, because they spoke a semitic language, but because they rejected Christ and one Jew was believed to be cursed by God to be the "wandering Jew" until Jesus return.
Thus God chose of "New People" (Christians) as his chosen one and made a new pact with them (New Testament) making the old pact with the Jews obsolete (off course modern Jews disagree on this).
As they had once been the chosen people of God, Hebrew was still highly regarded as a language where you could decode God's secret messages. Newton worked to find the secrets of the Temple of Solomon and said this of Solomon: "In the knowledge of this philosophy, God made Solomon the greatest philosopher in the world".
Source: http://phoenixmasonry.org/newtons_temple_of_solomon.htm
So the Christian world was actually highly "pro-semitic" from the Reformation forward. Luther & Melanchthon translated from Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) to create the German Bible.
So those Jews - that lived BEFORE their descendants rejected Christ - were highly regarded. Those that rejected Christ and THEIR descendants were cursed. You could make their life hard, but in fact you weren't allowed to kill them. You could kill heretics, but you had to mission among people of other religions. [Reality just shows that theology is not always followed to the letter].
It thus makes sense that many hebrew and aramaic word (either correct attributed as such, or just thought to be) were used in Christian magic as these words had the "Power of God".
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