A team of archaeologists has discovered an ancient clay tablet. They understand the script it is written in, and have transliterated it to the Latin alphabet, but they do not understand the language. They are not aware of any languages that were used in the area that have not been decoded, so they believe the message is enciphered in some way. This is what they have so far:


This tablet has been mentioned in some literature that is understood, but they did not know its text until this discovery. Based on the descriptions they have found, they believe this tablet contains some kind of prophecy.

What is the literal translation of the prophecy? What does it mean?

Surprisingly, this ancient script has a one-to-one correspondence with the Latin alphabet. The transliteration is exact. Thus, understanding the original script is not necessary.

The scribes who are believed to have encrypted this message are known to have frequently added extraneous information in their ciphers.

The part about the archaeologists and this being an ancient cipher are not relevant. I'll avoid things like that in future challenges. The final message, however, really is an ancient prophecy.

The hyphen and apostrophes have special significance and are not letters.

  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like it will be important to know which ancient script was used. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2023 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Hrm. Is there anything else I can get from the story other than "these seven words encipher a prophecy"? $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2023 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ Would you like to clarify whether the punctuation marks - and ' are meant to be thought of as symbols on the same footing as the letters, or as something visibly different in kind? (Obviously it's fine if the answer is "no, I wouldn't like to clarify that". But if it's meant to be obvious then that would be nice to know.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 15, 2023 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan I added another hint. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Dec 15, 2023 at 1:56


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