Friday, August 17, 2012

Enchanted Swords On Display

Two swords bearing esoteric inscriptions are now on display at the Guildhall Museum in Boston, UK. They date from the 13th or 14th century and were discovered together at the bottom of the Witham River. So far the inscriptions have defied translation, though they may very well consist of magical formulas rather than words from any particular language. The use of such formulas was a common practice in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The famous phrase SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS, for example, does contain words that can be translated from Latin, but its function is more likely linked to that of the 5x5 magic square of Mars which its structure resembles.

Officials at the Guildhall say the best guess is that the weapons were dressed in such a fashion to endow them with special magical properties such as enabling their owners to vanquish any foe and endow their swords with the life force energy of their opponents.It is probable that the "magical" inscriptions were not visible when the swords were made and that only corrosion and decay of the outer surfaces over the centuries has now allowed their secrets to be revealed.

Mystery also surrounds their discovery close together at the bottom of the river near Bardney. One theory is that they may have been votive offerings to please the gods and so deliberately placed in the waters. At that time the Witham was the "motorway" of the day between Boston and Lincoln so the swords' owners may have been from this area and would certainly have been familiar with it. The swords are iron double-edged with a groove running down the greater part of the blade.

One has straight hand guard of circular section and a wheel pommel. The inscription on this one reads: '+SNEXORENEXORENEXOR ENE XOREIS+'.

The + probably represents the sign of the cross, as is commonly found on devices constructed by Christian magicians. The first part of the phrase, SNEXORENEXORENEXOR could be a gloss for SNEXORE NEXORE NEXOR, a reduction formula in which each subsequent word is shortened by a letter. ABRACADABRA can be written this way as a triangle in which each word loses one letter from the line above it. The reduction of the root word, in this case SNEXORE, served to concentrate its power and essence. The meaning of the keyword itself, though, could be just about anything, from poorly copied Greek or Hebrew from one of the old grimoires to a notariquon (or acronym) encoding some magical phrase or text.

It's too bad that I don't live in the UK, because it would be especially cool to check out these swords in person. Then I could probably feel their auras and get a better sense of what the spells cast upon them are supposed to do.

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Hypnovatos said...

How sad would it be if you went there, and... Did not feel a thing. Maybe the allure is better than reality ;)

Scott Stenwick said...

The swords are really old and they're been submerged in a river for centuries. That means any magical charge they once held could be long gone. Still, they're a fascinating piece of history whether or not this is the case.