NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI
August 10, 2015 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Can you solve the code in the sword? (dailymail.co.uk) British Library appeals for help in cracking an enigmatic 'NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI' inscription on a mysterious medieval blade. Curator Julian Harrison writes a bit more on his blog.
posted by sidereal (133 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
COMEXONXFHQWHGADS
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:16 PM on August 10, 2015 [122 favorites]


you put the code into console mode and then it becomes a Thundering Longsword +2
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


But only if you add Select + Start. If you do Start + Select, it becomes a Cursed Thundering Longsword.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


CONSUMETH THINE OVAL-- Hey!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [53 favorites]


"That's a knife."
posted by crazylegs at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


"I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee."
posted by Fizz at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


I have an elegant solution, but there isn't enough space in the comment box to type it out.
posted by thelonius at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [28 favorites]


From the article:
So far it’s been suggested it may be a battle-ready phrase in medieval Welsh, the first letters from a poem or even complete gibberish fabricated by an illiterate craftsman.
- and -
The sword (pictured) weighs almost 3lbs (1.2kg) and measures 38 inches (96cm) in length. ‘If struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two,’ curator Julian Harrison said
So it could be the medieval equivalent of "exotic" tattoos in foreign languages for tough guys. "Dunno what it says, but it looks extra bad-ass now! All the best fighters have something written on their swords, now I do, too!"
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2015 [32 favorites]


"For a Goode Tyme, seekest thou Ethelred's systre, Ethelthel."
posted by briank at 1:25 PM on August 10, 2015 [23 favorites]


THIS IS NOT A TOY
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:26 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


new MeFi sockpuppet in 3, 2, 1...
posted by en forme de poire at 1:28 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


It was supposed to say NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVIUSE but the guy ran out of space.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


STICK 'EM WITH THE POINTY END
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


Smithsonian Magazine also has a write-up, with a link back to the British Museum's page on the sword, which notes a mix of styles and features that make it hard to attribute to any specific people. The Smithsonian write-up also links to the British Library blog's call for help to decypher the message, where there are some interesting ideas in the comments.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve "NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI."

He'd just say it.

That's what's carved in the sword.

Maybe he was dictating it.
posted by Naberius at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2015 [29 favorites]


I really like his work
posted by symbioid at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


"THIS IS THE ZODIAC SPEAKING".
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:33 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


It clearly means AQKBKPUJQETUQKBEIV. Hasn't anybody heard of ROT-13??
posted by clawsoon at 1:34 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


A bit early for a W, isn't it? Especially one that looks for all the world like an upside-down M.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:36 PM on August 10, 2015


Has anyone tried using the sword to inscribe the word into a floor tile?
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on August 10, 2015 [13 favorites]




"Property of Arglbargl the Awesome keep thine meathooks off"
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2015


If I was going up against the guy, I'd be distracted by the letters. "It says... wait... what?"

...and at that point my head would leave my neck.
posted by clawsoon at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


OFFICIALLY LICENSED REPLICA
posted by theodolite at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


"WHORE BOOT CARRIAGE"

It's the medieval equivalent of gibberish Chinese tattoos. Probably some poorly trained swordsmith who was forced to write something powerful and cool looking by a King or nobleman.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:41 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


if you look at it in the mirror it reads "I was cleaved by Steve" in Welsh.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:45 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


This reminds me of The Last Legion, a movie that should not have at all been a good movie, yet despite everything I still enjoyed it. Spoiler ending.
posted by linux at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2015


It's Latin for LOL BUTTS.
posted by eriko at 1:47 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure the Xs are hugs and the Os are kisses.

Source: I've watched a lot of Gossip Girl.
posted by bigendian at 1:47 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Newyddllyn dear,

(Kiss! Hug! Kiss!)
Come home when done ravaging Gaul.
Have dinner (Kiss! Hug!) ready.

Verily, Indeg


There I solved it! I wonder if Newyddllyn ever made it home to Indeg.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


Clearly it's an example of Old Murloc...
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI is how you write ETAOIN SHRDLU on a Welsh blacksmith's Linotype machine.
posted by sourcequench at 1:49 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


"You will find the holy grail in the castle ... AUUUUUGH."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:53 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


LOREM IPSUM NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI SIT AMET
posted by komara at 1:57 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


Fascinating footnote on the blog post, with the discovery of similar swords all over Europe from pretty much exactly the same time, with similarities in the letters that suggest the same person may have been writing all the inscriptions.

Sounds like it was the must-have killer accessory of 1203.
posted by clawsoon at 1:59 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's dangerous to go alone! Take this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:00 PM on August 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


NEW BOARDS OF CANADA LP NOVEMBER NINE
posted by davebush at 2:00 PM on August 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's YOLO in Welsh.
posted by srboisvert at 2:01 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Made me think of the Ulfberht swords, which were produced earlier but similar kind of "branding" effect of an inscription -- in that case it was speculated that because the original ones were made of much better quality steel, later makers copied the branding mark to trick buyers. I wonder if a similar thing could be happening here with the idea of the inscription being magical.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:03 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Two other (also undeciphered) swords from the same time period:

+BENEDOXOFTISSCSDRRISCDICECMTINIUSCSDNI+

+DIOXMTINIUSESDIOMTINIUSCSDICCCMTDICIIZISI+

I think you need these others to begin to decipher it.

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+
posted by vacapinta at 2:04 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


WARNING: This sword contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
posted by ckape at 2:07 PM on August 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI

Splitting into 3 words and applying a simplified two pass Python algorithm:

NDXOXC HWDRGH DXORVI

NDXOXC
HWDRGH
DXORVI

NOXOE
SWDRLH
PXOSVS

NONOE
SMARLL
PXASVS

NONE
SHALL
PASS

posted by Lanark at 2:08 PM on August 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


Not sure about the whole inscription, but I can tell from the part in the middle that it's one of those swords you got as a free prize in a box of Ox Chowder back in the 13th century. It's probably just a serial number.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:13 PM on August 10, 2015


NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI

You need to look at it from bottom to top, the way you would if the sword was pointed at you. It's actually a very elaborate pictogram. At the top there's a man sitting cross-legged on an egg in the top of a tree (NDXO), which contains a mad owl (XC), a hungry owl sitting on a broken egg (HWD), a grumpy owl wearing a pirate eyepatch sitting on another broken egg (RGHD), and then the rest of the tree (X), and also there's a woman kneeling below the tree doing yoga, or possibly looking for eggs (ORVI).
posted by oulipian at 2:16 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


‘If struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two’

THIS MACHINE KILLS MONARCHISTS
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [45 favorites]


That "R" in the middle is not an R. It looks nothing like the proper R near the end.
posted by vacapinta at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


GO GO GADGET SWORD
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2015


NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI:
OL RAIT
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 2:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


WARNING: This sword contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Did somebody throw it in the Animas river ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:21 PM on August 10, 2015


PROPERTY OF STEVE'S PAWN SHOP THIRD ALE HOUSE THEN LEFT "LOOK FOR OUR BALLS"
posted by oheso at 2:27 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I came in to post basically Filthy Light Thief's comment. I really love the idea that it was created by an illiterate blacksmith that had seen other swords with writing inscribed on them and thought that it looked super bad-ass.
posted by 256 at 2:29 PM on August 10, 2015


+5 HOLY AVENGER PROPERTY OF STEVE DO NOT TOUCH
posted by Sebmojo at 2:36 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hm. Looks like the ancient Welsh spelling of 'GET PWNED, N00B'.
posted by dazed_one at 2:39 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


VERILY CONSUME THINE OVALTINE
posted by bleep at 2:39 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


you guys

this is science

guys
posted by sidereal at 2:40 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


☪☮⚤✡i☯♰
posted by A dead Quaker at 2:40 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


YOUR HEAD IS BEING CLEAVED BY A GENUINE RODERICK SWORD ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES
posted by oheso at 2:41 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


CAUTION: POINTY SIDE OUT
posted by Itaxpica at 2:44 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


MADE IN CHINA
posted by Ratio at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hecho en Mexico.
posted by DanSachs at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


ETHICS IN SWORDSMANSHIP
posted by nubs at 2:51 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Straight Outta Llandudno-Gloch-Lluwellan-Llwichy-Llan
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:53 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


OF COURSE JON SNOW ISN'T DEAD SHEESH
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:55 PM on August 10, 2015


HAVE A NICE DAY
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:56 PM on August 10, 2015


If you hold it up to a mirror, it makes a lot more sense:

IVЯOXᗡH⅁ЯᗡWHƆXOXᗡИ
posted by Rangi at 2:57 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


SlashMaster™ When you want a sword as sharp as your wit
posted by aubilenon at 2:58 PM on August 10, 2015


This is no gift.

It is a curse.

I hope one day you will forgive me.
posted by yath at 3:01 PM on August 10, 2015


Made in China.
posted by ramix at 3:04 PM on August 10, 2015


its not mine.
posted by clavdivs at 3:06 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Uh, I'm pretty sure it says that the sword is for me and that I am the destined prince of the universe.
posted by curious nu at 3:06 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I dunno about the rest of it, but it says "chowder" right there in the middle.
posted by MsMolly at 3:11 PM on August 10, 2015


This place is not a place of honor.
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
Nothing valued is here.
This place is a message and part of a system of messages.
Pay attention to it!
Sending this message was important to us.
We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
posted by oheso at 3:12 PM on August 10, 2015 [31 favorites]


So, this sword with the enigmatic inscription, it vibrates?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:14 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh my god we are all huge fucking nerds

i mean i knew this all along but still the evidence is so stark
posted by poffin boffin at 3:16 PM on August 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


Let's play the name game!

NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI

NDXOX NDXOX BO-CHWDRGHDXORVI
BANANA FANNA FO-CHWDRGHDXORVI
FE FI MO-CHWDRGHDXORVI
NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI!
posted by idiopath at 3:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [25 favorites]


the evidence is so stark

So, you're suggesting WINTER IS COMING as a translation, then?
posted by nubs at 3:34 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Here's the previously for sandettie light vessel automatic's link, which is brilliant.

(But probably doesn't bring us much closer to cracking this sword thing.)
posted by jhc at 3:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I spent a bit more time looking at it, and now it seems obvious: WITNESS ME
posted by nubs at 3:38 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Surely this is a case for AskMetafilter?

PDGNHBOBVPNSNHANAOENCNANHPNCPND, etc.
posted by Rumple at 3:38 PM on August 10, 2015


Srap Tasmanr
posted by infinitewindow at 3:43 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I came in here to make a joke that I think Rumple has already made, but I'm confused, because I think the joke goes PNQEICSNTARTFVTSICEITPNSDNHEDNDNSENDDNENNIITSLNAMA.
posted by nat at 3:47 PM on August 10, 2015


"My Other Sword Is Lodged In The Ribcage Of Maurice Of Narbonne."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:50 PM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh. I was making a slightly different joke. In Latin. (But it's related!)

How hard would it be to run these sets of letters against a corpus of common phrases from well known texts in various languages at the time?
posted by nat at 3:51 PM on August 10, 2015


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS — EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE
posted by mosk at 4:18 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's the first letter of the first name of every man he killed with the sword?
posted by Chuffy at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, it's been a little while since I took Latin, but let me try:

WHOSOEVER TRANSLATHETH ME; HE SHALL BE THE RIGHTFUL KING OF ALL THE BRITONS.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


SLAYER OF THE BLACK BEAST OF ARRRRRGGGHHHH
posted by lumpenprole at 4:46 PM on August 10, 2015


OFFICIALLY LICENSED REPLICA

BODKIN-TOOTHED THOMAS: The fact that thou hast "replica" scribed upon thy blade, and that I've "+1 Greatsword of Mighty Cleaving" upon mine, should precipitate thine balls into shrinking, along with thine presence. Now... Fuck off!
posted by jason_steakums at 4:48 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Return postage guaranteed. If found drop in any mailbox.
posted by humanfont at 4:49 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I DEFENESTRATED THE BLACK IMPLICATOR OF THE NETHER-HELL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY SWORD
posted by Sebmojo at 4:51 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Has anyone looked into the possibility that this sword belonged to a fifth-dimensional imp?
posted by jason_steakums at 4:59 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Welcome to Jamaica, Have a Nice Day!"
posted by drezdn at 5:03 PM on August 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


HOLD OTHER END
posted by eriko at 5:24 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure it's just Swedish for SWORD. If you zoom in you can see the hex-bolt holding the hilt in place.
posted by rifflesby at 5:29 PM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I tried various ROT levels, as well as omitting letters like U and J from the alphabet but I didn't get anywhere.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:40 PM on August 10, 2015


"BRB, SPAMMING A BUNCH OF CRYPTO NERDS ON USENET ABOUT MY HALF-ARSED CIPHER!"
posted by comealongpole at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2015


Alternatively, "THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY"
posted by comealongpole at 5:47 PM on August 10, 2015


Pretty obviously Ramza Beoulve's sword.
Sword in hand, a warrior clutches stone to breast
In sword etched he his fading memories
In stone, his tempered skill
By sword attested, by stone revealed
Their tale can now be told.
posted by coolname at 5:47 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


THIS SIDE TOWARD ENEMY.
posted by eriko at 5:50 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


"HELLO, WORLD!"
posted by comealongpole at 5:59 PM on August 10, 2015


"YASD"
posted by comealongpole at 6:03 PM on August 10, 2015


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
posted by duffell at 6:11 PM on August 10, 2015


Is this a viral advertising campaign for Google Alphabet?
posted by symbioid at 6:15 PM on August 10, 2015


THIS BIN ONLY
SWORDS WITH INSCRIPTION ERRORS
ONLY 2 1 PIECE OF SILVER

posted by mmoncur at 6:36 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


> NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI

"Fuck me, I'm stumped."
"He's looking pretty angry out there, you know."
lloyd looked at ffoulkes.
"You've always been better at the alphabet than me," said lloyd.
"You're the expert. You can read whole words," said ffoulkes.
"WHERE ARE YOU?" bellowed a voice from the other side of the tent flap.
"It only counts if they're real words," hissed lloyd. He took a deep breath, picked up the sword as delicately as can be managed with a sharp shaft of steel as long as his arm.
ffoulkes reached behind him to push the tent flap to one side and followed him into the front room, where a grimy, burly beast of a man, with scars new and old across his face and neck, stood hunched over, a knot of orange hair scuffing the canvas overhead. ffoulkes set the sword down on the low table between them
"SO WHAT DOES MY SWORD SAY," he bellowed in a conversational way.
lloyd started, "Ah, this is a tricky message you've got on this sword of yours, I can really tell, you know this means rare craftsmanship..."
"It's certainly a fine sword you have, for sure," added ffoulkes.
"No doubt about that. None at all!"
lloyd exhaled. ffoulkes shifted his weight.
"AND? WHAT DOES IT SAY?"
"Right right. Well now. Right here..." lloyd used his finger to circle the first five letters, "That would be a church bit, 'Anno Domine twelve...' ah..."
"Ten?" ventured ffoulkes. They both looked at the massive man. His gaze was still on the sword, face relaxed a little and following lloyd's finger. It seemed a safe guess, so they ventured on.
"When would you say you'd gotten this," asked ffoulkes.
"AROUND LAST WINTER!"
lloyd stomped on ffoulkes' foot.
"Well, yes that can mean many things, you know. I've been told 1210 was a very auspicious year for swordsmaking. So auspicious, just putting that number on a sword makes a swordsman's aim better. Now, the second part is a bit easier, pretty self-explanatory, actually. It actually even says, 'This sword for luck in striking,' you can see how this works."
The fighter leaned in closer to study the CHWDRGH under lloyd's finger, then stood up again with a grunt. From behind the tent flap, ffoulkes yelped in surprise at the noise.
"Now," said lloyd, "I'm sorry, we haven't been standing on protocol, we've been so excited by this sword you brought us. You've spoken with my partner already, but I'm afraid we hadn't been introduced. Can I have your name please?"
"FLUELLEN!"
"Ah, proud to meet you, Fluellen. I'm ffoulkes, and my partner back there is lloyd--"
There was another yelp from behind the tent flap.
"--and this brings us now to the final bit on the sword, where it says, 'To be wielded by the riteous Fluellen'. The swordsmaker you hired for this certainly knew his stuff."
"HUH," bellowed the fighter.
"Have you got any questions about your sword?"
"FUNNY THING, WHY WOULD IT HAVE MY NAME?"
"Pardon?"
"KILLED A MAN FOR IT. LAST WINTER. HE PUT THIS MARK ON ME WITH IT." Fluellen pointed at a keloid on his forehead that formed a line across his eyebrow, bridge of his nose, and down one cheek.
ffoulkes stuck his head out from behind the tent flap. "Clearly the sword was meant for you!"
"Yes!" picked up lloyd. "This is not a sword you can simply go out and buy, it's only fit to be owned if you prove yourself worthy to wield it! The man you fought for it... he might not have really been a man."
"THAT'S A GOOD THING THEN?"
"Oh yes, yes. Very good."
"Quite excellent."
"Thank you for your visit, sir!"
posted by ardgedee at 6:37 PM on August 10, 2015 [23 favorites]


FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY
posted by notbuddha at 6:50 PM on August 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


I hate this "Google rebranding" stuff. Quit trying to make it happen, guys.
posted by maxwelton at 7:07 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO BOB THE FIGHTER
GUILDHALL LONDON
posted by eriko at 7:16 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, Frank. I know you've got a wicked bad head cold, but I really need to get this sword off of my workbench and move on to other work. Whatdya want me to write on there?

NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI!!!

Ghesundheit!
posted by MsMolly at 7:44 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


YOLO. HOLD MINE ALE.
posted by bendy at 8:23 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


SHIFT+ZZ WILL SAVE AND EXIT FROM VI
posted by b1tr0t at 8:29 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI.org and NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI.net are unregistered. NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI.com seems to be taken, though...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:31 PM on August 10, 2015




— What's your WIFI password?
— Here, I wrote it down on this sword.
posted by moonmilk at 9:19 PM on August 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


Is this another one of those iamamiwhoami art projects, only possibly involving time travel?

Pretty sure it actually says PROPERTY OF MACLEOD.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:20 PM on August 10, 2015


Before Emacs, NDXOXCHWDRGHDX was the second-most popular text editor.
posted by moonmilk at 9:21 PM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


HELLO SWEETIE
posted by flabdablet at 10:54 PM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


TWENTY SHILLINGS SAME AS IN TOWNE
posted by ilana at 1:26 AM on August 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I KNOWEST NOT HOW THESE WARRIORS WEDGEDEST CATS ON THEIR SWORDS, NOR WHY
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:47 AM on August 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


No but I think the religious ones identifying Latin abbreviations for gods and saints is most likely, as similar things appear in architecture and grave carvings and even embroidery, but I don't know about the XOX bits. The idea about it standing for the Trinity is at least plausible but you'd want some exterior evidence of some sort.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:54 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like the devotional mnemonic theory myself, with the movational demonic theory as a close second.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:10 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Klatuu...

Borada...
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:11 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Klatuu...
Borada...


...Squa Tront.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


WARRANTY VOIDE IF REMOVED
posted by crocomancer at 9:00 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


DISHWASHER SAFE
posted by Sys Rq at 9:03 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


"If you would like to upgrade this sword, it will cost 99 kroners for one level or 500 kroners for 6 levels."
posted by drezdn at 9:04 AM on August 11, 2015


nat: "Oh. I was making a slightly different joke. In Latin. (But it's related!)"

The existence of this phrase is why I love MetaFilter.
posted by scrump at 11:30 AM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


DO NOT TAUNT HAPPY FUN SWORD
posted by pyramid termite at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2015


So far it’s been suggested it may be a battle-ready phrase in medieval Welsh

Hell, gallai hyn fod yn yr iaith Gymraeg fodern. Felly, mae llawer o lythyrau rhyfedd gyda'i gilydd beth bynnag.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:47 PM on August 11, 2015


The item in question was found in the River Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and was presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln.

Pretty poor archaeological context, if you ask me. My money is on this being the result of a long forgotten hoax/joke/ritual from some eighteenth century secret society types. Take an old sword, write your club's secret motto on it, and now you and your drinking buddies feel like badasses while badmouthing the aristocracy.
posted by cosmologinaut at 1:52 PM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think these are the initial letters of the names of all the owner's children. The X ones are not Xerxes and Xanthippe, they're the ones that died before they could be baptised.
posted by Segundus at 3:13 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


TRVMP
posted by sallybrown at 7:09 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


THIS IS JUST TO SAY

I HAVE SLAUGHTERED
THE DRAGON
THAT WAS IN
YOUR CASTLE

AND WHICH
YOU WERE PROBABLY
SAVING
FOR A MORE NOTABLE HERO

FORGIVE ME
IT WAS GLORIOUS
SO FIERCE
AND SO SCALED
posted by Cantdosleepy at 5:34 AM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


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