Spain’s Newly-Found Sword’s Secrets Revealed

A relic from a millennium past recently emerged in Spain: a sword found wedged in a stone, reminiscent of the legendary Excalibur of King Arthur. However, unlike Arthur’s tale of questing for the Holy Grail alongside his knightly brethren, this sword belonged to a Muslim wielder.

Unearthed three decades ago at an archaeological site in Valencia, the sword, dubbed ‘Excalibur’, has undergone restoration and analysis, revealing its secrets for the first time.

Measuring 18 inches (46 centimeters) with an ornate handle clasping the blade with bronze plates, ‘Excalibur’ bears resemblance to Visigoth swords, though its sedimentary context places it firmly in Islamic times. Its modest size and lack of a hand guard suggest it may have been wielded by a horseman during the Andalusian caliphal era.

This find marks the first appearance of an Islamic sword in Valencia, with only one similar sword discovered in the excavations of Madinat al-Zahra, the caliphal city of Abd al-Rahman III, in Córdoba. Uncovered in what was likely a domestic dwelling north of Valencia’s Roman-era central square, or forum, this discovery underscores the city’s rich tapestry of cultures.

Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula spanned over 600 years, following the reigns of the Byzantines, Visigoths, Romans, and Carthaginians. Known as Al-Andalus, this era shaped the region, contributing to its modern identity as Andalusia. Among its legacies, the Arabs gifted Spain iconic landmarks such as the Alhambra, alongside establishing prominent cities like Cordoba, Malaga, and Almeria.

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