excalibur cosplay

So guys. I’m thinking of making a replica of Excalibur from Merlin, BUT the runes on the sword in the show (as far as I can tell) seem to translate to gibberish???? They do not spell out any English or Old English words. So, there are two options I have to choose from when it comes to engraving the runes on my sword. 

1) Simply keep the aesthetic and write the runes as they appear rather than make them translate to something.

These are the best two pictures of Excalibur’s inscriptions. They read like this:

This (as accurately as I possibly could) translates to:

Not only do both of these mean absolutely nothing in English, but they do not seem to correlate with any Old English words either. They do, however, both contain the word me in English and mé in Old English (which means me) suggesting that they did try to make it at least look like it said “Lift me up, cast me away” as it is supposed to. 

2) I could, instead, use properly translated words and runes that resemble the markings on the sword. 

These markings translate to:
ahefan mé ufeweard

As you can see, these runes have a similar, but not exact, variation of letters as the aesthetic runes on the sword in the show. I tried to find similar looking words in Old English so that it would still resemble the original runes but still have it read as “Lift me up, cast me away.”

ahefan means “heave up, lift up, raise” and ufeweard means “upward, ascending, upper, higher, up, later” 

áweorpan means “to throw, throw away, cast down, cast out, cast aside” and  forþweg means “an onward course, a going forth, departure journey, away”

ahefan is extremely close to the first six letters of the original runes “ahefem” and you can probably imagine my crushed dreams as I got to the second to last letter and realized that the word didn’t match the runes as I was trying to figure it out if they translated to anything. 

I find it strange that a show with typically accurate runes and outstanding uses of dead languages just wrote gibberish on one of their main props. More evidence that makes me truly believe it isn’t any actual words is the string of vowels towards the end of the second line of runes “asetememuneuiifon” and the cluster of constants at the end of the first “ahefemeupþiithstr”. Then there’s the double i’s. From what I’ve learnt about Old English so far, there seems to be little to no double letters, it being a very phonetic language. Furthermore, Anglo-Saxon runes are an alphabet, not a language, which means that each symbol is based on phonetics (example being that the symbol sigel is only associated with the s sound, not the letter, and can be applied to C’s that make the s sound), so it would make little sense for their to be two of the same symbol side by side. Additionally, they use the letters t and h as a pair as well as the letter þ which makes the th sound. It would be one thing if they did not use the letter þ, but the letter is acknowledged and leaves little reasoning as to why they would use the th combination instead of the Old English letter. 

Anywho, let me know what you think. I’m also thinking about getting a tattoo of the words one day and I’m definitely wary about getting the gibberish from the show permanently printed on my skin, rather than runes that actually translate to something. As for the prop, I’m on the line about which direction I should go so leave a comment or message me with what you think! Thanks! 


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