The sign of a sword

The sign of a sword

It is a sword stuck in the ground vertically like King Arthur's sword, nicknamed for this reason “Excalibur”. Discovered in 1994 in Valencia, Spain, in a pit in a house in the La Seu district, near the 13th-century cathedral, north of the ancient Roman forum, the center of ancient urban activity. It highlights the importance of Valencia as a cultural confluence point under Muslim rule in Spain, during the Al-Andalus era, a period when Andalusia was at the crossroads of European and Muslim civilizations.. It took more than thirty years for her to reveal her secret. A sword is always a myth. Symbol of strength, power, and chivalry. It illustrates the royal prerogative in matters of law and serves to administer justice, used during fundamental rituals such as dubbing and coronation.

Image of a function, it can also be that of a nation. The sword est the first of the tools that men exclusively made to kill each other, from the Bronze Age, around 1700 BCE, but well after spears and arrows, intended for hunting or distance combat. The analyzes ended up delivering their verdict and revealed that this sword could have belonged to a Muslim horseman from the time of Al-Andalus, testifying precisely to the Muslim period of the city, which then bore the name of Balansiya. Thanks to stratigraphy, the iron sword could be dated precisely. It was located in the sedimentary layers corresponding to the 10thcentury AD, that is to say the period when the city was under Muslim domination.

According to Ibn Sa'īd (Andalusian geographer, historian and poet of the 13th century), weapons, armor and military equipment of all kinds such as shields, swords, spears, quivers, arrows, saddles, bits, bridles, and other harnesses from the factories of Al-Andalus surpassed those of other countries in the world. An extension of the rider's body, and a spiritual as well as physical figure of his power, the sword resurfaces in a matrix of rust, piercing the centuries like the ghost object of a highly idealized period.

In fact, the benevolence that Al-Andalus allegedly showed towards religious minorities has been greatly embellished. They were constantly victims of discrimination and even persecution. I think of this Muslim rider who disappeared (in what fight?) leaving behind the symbol of his ephemeral prestige. In the Song of Roland, the hero on the verge of death evokes his love for his sword but he has not a word for his fiancée Aude who dies of grief at the news of the death of her beloved. What violence is the sword the name for? In the Quran, if the Prophet said: “I am the Prophet of the sword”, God himself says about the Prophet: ” We only sent you to be the mercy of both worlds » (Surah Al-Anbiya, verse 10). Centuries later, the discovered sword seems to ask us the same question. To what weapons do we still sacrifice human life? Our bloody conquests will end in the acidic dust of the soil, leaving behind the gnawed and charred debris of our defeats and our victories.

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