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The ScriPt and its Problems

ThetravellerthroughSu,'edenwilloftenhaveobserved'setLlpbyway-sides,atrlver rather
stones with inscriptions in a curious'
crossings or on open greens' stancling and churches of
tamous rune-stones' Visitors to tht
g"at museums
angular, script - the and
Denmark and Norway *,ii;;;.
;arked similar ,ronJr, -o.. or less mag.ilicent
portable.artefacts ancl gra{fti using this alphabet'
highly carved, n,]d tht" n;;"i; quite freely
perhaps it is less well known that inicribed objects with related scripts occur
ancl-even farther afield'
throughout north-western Europe
the time of Imperial Rome' on
utg-'"lg' o.f the Mi<ldle Ages to
goes back beyond
ufttn i1 unllsf ielationship with it' lived
the {ringes of the 'ftt
"nJ Franks' !risians' Teutons' Angles' Saxons' Jutes and
tribes - Goths, Va'dat','lltl"ta" the name given to the
Scandinavians. All these spoke
Germanic languages' Germanic is
Germany' Austria and
the High ct'i'on of s.uthern
ancestor of such modern;;;;t';"'
Denmark and their settlements
provinces of the Low Jt"t"tt" of Norway' Sweden'
America' Germanic had
guages) of England, Iu*lotd Scotland and English-speaking in rts
and pronunciation which are reflected
distinctive characteristict of ""ttt""ing peoples probably had some degree of racial
descenclants. rn. c.r*nni.-rp.ot
to regard them as Germanic (as well as
identity, so it is possible, *ith tonltlilenc.e'
Germanic-speaking), th"t is how I shall write of them henceforth'
ItisctlmmonlysaidthattlreGernranicnationswereilliterateuntiltheybecanre taught
the rear'ir.rg of christian Rome, and
christia', u'til the ch;r;;';r;.,ght to them substantially
as to sin ..p.n1. But tl.ris, though
them how to read and write as .iell "nd
each letter of which was called
mode of writing, ,rl,f-, "iirr*.iive
alphabet called runic,
know that;;; used ro record early stages of Gothic, Danish,
a rune. Germanta,
ancl various tribal tongues of central
Norwegian, English, F.;i.i;", Frankish
Germanic languages without lerving eny evi-
and they may also h"ut supplitd other
grounds tftt t"tftttl are clated
dence surviving,iff
"a"y"ij'i"th"tological ;Lt-i:: :.'tt'
Middle Aget arrd into early modcrn
rn our sense of the word' The Old
Runes were not designed for writrng.
and writing kno'nvt] to
pret', used of a,., fnu" the earliest form of reading
""'' letters. Runic script was designed
for inscribing,
the Germanic p.rpl.r;;;;.j
at first on wood, and it had appropriate

A selection of r.nerc|ants'labels crcrlated in Bergen. hach gives thc orvner's name, llncl tlleY ere
intended to be tiecl to or stlrck into the goocls bought.

knife, at
Germanic men would carrv,a :n:::,T'l^fr;:';\::;'J:,T.:ii h:,Ui:1"::
anvwhe re'
"'' 1''",1',*Tt: *:H.lT::";- much imple r th n th e ch it into
yn s
ana ri s ti

the skin, cutting
cow, prepa.ns "nJ rt..t.hing
n,il: :n:ilT I'intj.oaorbird's salts and galls
from quill' manufacturing ink from metallic
pieces, making a pen of the word) a text'
und then writing (in our sense
or from lampbrack ,,-',".6 *i,t-, g,,*r, Joulcl t::"-:'t-O'l'" irnpractical
a runic message
True, there was a limit to the length 'ut'
present-problems of storage
*ig'' und thJy would
to compose a whole b;';;^t;; *t" ideal' lf you made an error
sirnple messag"t
and cataloguing. But for sending 'hty runes in the new
tut.the mistake and cut the correct
in copying, you could 'i;;i;;h;"t serve as kindling'
surface. When you tlaa nni'n"a
with the message' the stick could
survive from very earry j:o- England, for
No such runic twrgs ";; k;.*, to of
twelfth-century Bergen
wood perishes easily 't -()" t""ft''
But fromghe excavations
of wood with runes on them' Some
tht';;;;;;;;t numbers f f
in western Norwav 'lut'
Some' however' are quite extensrve
casual graffiti *i'f.' upp'of i"ttly ta'ual .tT-tn'
your ship. For arms and equipfirent
greeting and his .*". irr". [i"g *ould like to have Ore'
a spear from,the ?eightee
n ells of iron that I sent you by Johan
[here a passage is lost]
ask, you shall have i" *u'n ollr
true friendship' :uT ""d.f:lt":t::
-"-, it.t their earliest state'
ir.,.irir.rg i,.r *oni, the letter forms'
Since runes *.r. a.r,gnlJio. were made up of
eschew curves, which are hard
to cut in such gr"iny material' Letters
rningle with the grain and be hard
distinct from it. HorironJrt ,,rot.r, which would
(a few had two) of full
most runes had " si,-,gl vertical
distinguish, were avorded. Thus
;.t ;h; wi th ",,u -b " u r't o p n g' i-' 1:::':ii::

runes were or il l1;f ffi$TX?# .:'l ff
both sides. A small number in some letter forms' so it is not
were variations
examples of the scrrpt show there alphabet' Fig' 1 is a
possible to give f""t'n for tle Germanic runic
" """a"'i
1.2 345 67 891011121314151617181920212223
ll\rll\/\llltt'vt/\ t
r N F FR .XPH I., I,Y.Y' T T fl IOI.X
e m I ! o d
f u P a r kg w h n i ii P z s t b
rune-row or futhark' .The-correspondenctt
t"1tl'l<lTil letter\ 3re onlv
Fig. 1 The Germanc j' p"tp""n* the th-'s'ound as in English
aooroxirrate. s"u"t"r itfr"""tion' Rune
'yi-'tt-oi'",'"J uowel in tnt ttg'nn ui i Rune 15 originally gave voiced
'ihlnk'. Rune 13,,; i' ";';;;;rtain
il;"r-, tr-,i' a*"riptd1o po1"t"lit'1,::'"::lo distinguished in
consonant z, but quite #;; " as rug: /'/ as in'sing" and ng as in
both sounds we represent
transcripts as R. Rune y' as in
;G;"1 ;' t"t rz' is to be taken as ionsonantal
'finger'. In .u,-,,. tt"""ij;'h"

The alphabet has twenty-four letters, and is arranged in a peculiar order which, from the
values of its first six letters, is known as the futhark I write it here from left to right, but
in early times texts could be written from right to left equally well. They could even be
boustrophedolx, that is, with alternate lines in opposite directions. Even in left-to-right
texts an individual letter could be reversed, apparently at whim, and occasionally a
letter might be inverted. Note that there is no distinction between capital and lower-case
letters, and that in Continental and Scandin.rvian texts runes are commonly
transliterated into bold type.
I give approximate Roman equivalents for the Germanic runes though it is important
to remember that the sounds of early Germanic did not coincide with those of modern
English. Indeed, it is obvious from a quick survey of the futhark that the letters present a
different set of pronunciation contrasts from the Roman alphabet as used with modern
English. Runic has, for example, a specific letter for the spirant sounds which we give by
the digraph tb. khad vowels which Irrepresent above conventionally as I and e (nos. 11
and 19), but there is also a letter (no. 13) which gave some sort of vowel sound in the
neighbourhood of i, e (what exactly it was is disputed) and which I represent here as i.
Runic could distinguish between the consonant group 17 + g (no. 10 * no. 7) as in English
'ungrateful', and the nasal stop (no. 22) which we also represent as ng in 'sing'.
Some of the runic forms are obviously related to letters of the Roman alphabet, as r, i,
b. Others could well be adaptations of Roman letters, as f, u (Roman V inverted), k
(Roman C), h, s, t, I (Roman L inverted). But other runes, g, w, i, p, for instance, bear
little resemblance to Roman forms with the same sound value.
and when runes were invented we do not know. The obvious similarities with
the Roman alphabet brought early scholars to the belief that the script appeared first
among Germanic peoples within or close to the Roman Empire, with the implication
that runes were an adaptation of the more prestigious alphabet for barbarian purposes.
Early finds of rune-inscribed objects in eastern Europe, at Pietroassa in Rumania,
Dahmsdorf in central Germany and Kowel in Russia, suggested that runes may have
been invented in that general area, perhaps by Goths on the Danube frontier or beside
the Vistula. To support an eastern European origin, theorists have pointed to the
similarity of occasional runes to letters of one or other of the Greek alphabets, as b to
beta, s to sigma. ln the 1920s yet another hypothesis was put forward, based on the
resemblance between the early futhark and the characters used in inscriptior-rs in the
Alpine valleys of southern Switzerland and northern Italy. The invention of runes is then
ascribed to Romanised Germani from that area. More recently the influential Danish
scholar, Erik Moltke, argued patriotically that runes were the creation of one o{ the
Germanic tribes of Denmark, perhaps of southern Jutland where Scandinavia was
nearest to Rome. It is certainly a fact that many of the earliest inscriptions known come
from this general area, and continued discovery of early runic texts in various regions of
Denmark make this the most attractive theory so far published. For all that, the matter
still remains unproven.
Our earliest inscriptions in runes date perhaps from the late second century AD.
Already they show mastery of the script and some variety of technique recording it.
They are on metal as well as on wood. So mature are they that probably a century or so of
runic history lies behind them. This would bring the invention of the runic alphabet
back to near the beginning of the Christian era, which is as close as we can get at present.


'wherever and whenever they were created, runes soon spread over the Germanic
world. By 500 ao they are found in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, with
in Germany, Poland, Russia and Hungary. They record different Germanic languages,
and are .ut, sta-p.d, ir-rlaid or impressed on metal, bone, wood and stone'
These early inscriptions are difficult to interpret, indeed sometimes difficult
identify as runic at all. They are usually quite short, often fewer than a dozen
Because there is no standard individual letters are sometimes hard to identify'
It is not always clear which way round an inscription (or a single letter of it) is to be
unknown. There is
taken. Language will be archaic, and may contait] words otherwise
the problem of content' If we
ofren no division into individual words. Moreover there is
have to
find a text written on a brooch, buckle, ring, spear-$ead, scabbard or plane, we
ask ourselves: what sort of thing would an early speaker of Germanic think appropriate
to write on such an object? And we have no evidence, apsrt from the inscriptions
themselves, to help us to a reply. In some cases the answer is fairly clearlv
a personal
name - of owner, maker, giver or something of the sort - and it is worth remembering
if it is not a
that personal names are still the mosr comrlon single element of graffiti. But
personal name, what is it?
A comparable example fron-r modern times, not entirely frivolous, stresses the diffi-
culty. some bath-mats have 'bathmat' embroidered on them: some door-mats
,welcome,. Faced with rhese two examples (and with little else surviving of twentieth-
to what sort of text to
century English) a scholar of the distant future might be baffled as
of floor-covering from our age. would it be a verb or a noun?
expect written on a piece
or definition? would it be a word in everyday use or (as I
would it give a command a
division is
think welcome is) a rather formal or old-fasl.rioned one. Since no word
(bath mdt, wel(l) come)? And if the
signalled, is it one word (bathmat, welcome) or two
laiter, what is the relationship the two elements of each legend? Today we
meanings survive
know perfectly well what the two texts mean, but would a clue to their
in two thousand years' time?
too often asked
This sort of question has always to be asked of earlv inscriptions, and
in vain. lor rnstance, on a massive gold neck-ring which formed part of a great treasure

hoard discovered at Pietroassa, Rumania, in 1837, is the runic text gutaniowihailag'

can make a good glress at parts of this. The first sequence, gutani, clearly contains the
native tribal name whereby the Goths were known (compare the Latin form Gutones)'
The last sequence, hailag, is cognate with our word 'holy" though probably here
meaning somethirrg like 'inviolate'. But what is the connection between these two
elements? lfhat do the lelers in between signify? And what implications has all this for
the sense of the text as a whole? There can be no certain answer, only a balance of
probabilities. one plausible translation is 'the property of the Gothic people, sacred,
inuiolate', but, plausible though it is, there is no guarantee it is right. If it is' it puts the
Pretroassa treasure lnto the context of a religion of which we otherwise know
Because of this sort of di{1iculty, different scholars put forward widely differing
interpretations of an inscription, and this has led D. M.'$ililson to state what he calls the
First Law of Runo-dynamics: 'that for every inscription there shall be as many interpret-
ations as there are scholars working on it.' There is enough truth in the statement to
make runologists uncomfortable.
The problem raises a question. why were runes invented? what did the Germanic

whose views are now rather outdated. might seem to confirm the theory. the etymology of the word 'rune' (Old English rzr which means 'secret. their political and commercial life so limited. the first connected with protectior-r and the second with fertiiity. working in an oral culture. Moreover. and the monulnents record several orher letter groups that look equally significant. that runic legends have. with magic. The human memory. Stephens. a rnagical or religious set of characters. Rurnania. Some early objects have on them the group alu. that they had n<r need of a script for keeping records.hacl supernatural powers or were able to control or release such . 1867-8). drawn before it was cut in pieces and its runes damaged. others laukaR. in origin at any rate. by virtue of their script. These sequences. The Old-nortbern runic monuments of Scandinauia and England (London. was adequate. mystery') has been held to connect the script with the occult. asserting ownership. From this type o{ evidence has developed the attitude that runes were essentially. Therefore the only use for such a script as runes was for religious. asserted that the social structure of the Germanic nations was so simple.the men who were trained to use the alphabet . From volume 2 of G. magical properties. peoples need them for? To this there are two types of answer. ritual or magical purposes. and that the rune-masters . with that significant last sequence 'holy'. Copenhagen. sending messages. Such an inscription as gutaniowihailag.The inscribed neck-ring from Pietroassa. l-rave been read as magical words converting the objects they adorn into amulets. or doing other practical things. Sorne scholars.

. if small.:....".tu'nJ 'nchanged in their pu""gt through time< came to be given the character.Inscriptionsonperishablemateriaiswillhaveperished' bone' are likely to h"ut b"t" the more torn"tonplutt texts' those on wood and and these subiect even if Inscrtpttons o" n""-o"tiout -tt"l" particularly '-'ot'. common sense and practicality a lamentable this' lndeed it is and runes have been taken up into realms of superstition "nl i"n'u'. ""J tftt" is no geographical spread of the exiansion and estimare does not .il.orsimply..rJ. incidentaliy. .tot know Ren6 many inscriptions he .ttot'"nt metals' silver ..qttu'niuntt in it' We do not know how the rune-master standing of those *fto *ttt expert 'What wa's his relationship to his or in what t"t'-*-tt' he was employed' trained.'. but rexts on these to be melted down for their bullion use of runes' lnscriptlons be untypical of the general wealthy groups rn society and may onstonen.t ..'we do not know how themselves we know was the general was an with the script among the people'' nor what was "..'it" as a modern upon runes the status of a gibberish in Roman trtutlot"' gut that*would not confer -tI?li1ti*_masrers little or norhing. aftrads ..andifeach have been made' between 100 and year' there would cut only ten inscription"s. ' "pptu"J' . of some Nazi supporte"'"tT.... and are ite" diag"o'tic' The small &-rune' variant fo.uiue *ell.'u.r.t"" of early t"nic legendt which are comprehensible enough forms of various Germanic languages' to give a unrque tn"gf" ir"o the archaic Runeswereusedformanycenturiesandinmanylands.e know about eighty of them..12 powersbytheiruseofrunes.. Deroiez has put this aspecr of our tenrunoiogistsworkingatanyonetimeinthewholeoftheGermanicworld.'o*-o"i'l'o. auy-to-oui f"'oo"''.i."'ot'td'titt *"tl' Wtio '. ones are' but his way of knowinfwhat the correct of course speculative.000 t. some 40.ltmustnotbesupposedthat and space' Local .ttt"it''Vhatisclearisthattheresurvivestomoderntimes early years' Nor can we be sure we corpus of the only a tiny fragment of the totai runic considering thescriptduringthesett.ou.J""ra ..Inthefictionoflatemediaevalscandinaviatheemploy.n'.'. and especially g... t.. "l1t figures are \(.i. it ap- in modern rimes were magical...ld.-.1u:::]:'?i'"*"no*' into the tendency to flee from reason... u"t'ing o'i"nkno*n selves'and'an instrument to tune lnto them as'a mirror to' tnt tngit t'f our own wisdom'.:t9.o.r'"0":1. Recently the Belgian runologist If.' today' to define the value of runes for divination possible {or a modern *'i"t. in his lifetime. the runes became a commonplace' This belief"that ment of runes for magical formulr (iust as. worKlng ln early centuries of runic use we are important.ious metal obiects materials will belong to the value.'n"#r--trded pealed to the Teutonrc -.."'ri:'niffI::i"{:t::ii}ff:tl."ttt"""ty readable' lnscriptions on precious they can be seen are liable 'ht.. if thty *i"hi iJ p'nd"t wizard would be likely to write his magtc script they had' for tt. Derolez's 500 ao...rr..u': ':-:^o..o... tt orgtr of ..r. nonsen- approach to runes is outdated and In the view of many scholars this general the view that the Germantc runoiogists now take sical. text?Didhecomposeithimself. Most distinguisheJ Sc"ndinauiin peoplesusedrunesastheywouldhavedoneanyotherscript(hadtheyknownanyother)' or course' if they wanted to cut a religious for practical. pr..intorunesthetextgivenhimbythe how busy he was with runes' how man who ..'. Of runic' the only a charm word' they would use magical text. he suggests' there were only ignorance inro context.t:ii.

Ireland and the Western Isles. In fiIl new linguistic Scandinavia. Germany about 60. are the work of travelling Norsemen. and there is a scatter of runes elsewhere. in attenuated usage and often with anti- quarian intent. runes con- tinued well into the Middle Ages and even. despite the difficulties this raised in representing some sounds' The forms of many of the Norse runes changed considerably. Because of this preponderance of Scandinavian texts. Outside Scandinavia. and the futhark increased to twenty-eight or more runes. superseded by Roman. it is common for people to rhink of runes as essentially Nordic. into modern times. 13 full height. Newly-found inscribed stones turn up there at frequent intervals. for there is plenty of other evidence for the states of language and the social circum- stances they record. When we think of runes. and there are also runic texts from Greenland and the Faroes. ln Scandinavia and its colonies.r English ones. We must recognise a range of related scripts. The total number of know'h runic inscriptions is probably in the region of 5.000 inscriptions.. probably in the eleventh century. such as the 30 or so rune-stones in the Isle of Man. some 70 inscribed obiects. Shetlands. Outside these northern regions. we must not picture a single script or a single language. In areas settled by the Anglo-saxons and Frisians new letters were invented to ij. and the inscriptions of the Orkneys.000. for they record material for which there is otherwise little or no evidence. These later runes are of comparatively little interest. used widely for different languages and purposes. In consequence. in contrast. the great majority of them in Sweden as anyone who has traversed the rune-stone- srrewn landscape of Uppland will realise. In the north it developed to l'. and local differences developed in different regions of Scandinavia. runic inscriptions are compara- rivelv rare. in addition to several issues of coins with runic legends. Anglo-Saxon England has. . but in different ways. then. by the Viking Age the Scandinavian rune-row looked quite different from the contemporary Anglo-Saxon one. epigraphical runes afe relatively early. It is the early inscriptions that are of supreme importance to both linguist and social historian. in the west it has a double one. Norway has over 1. In F. particularly as some of the inscriptions outside Scandinavia. on the other hand. Eastern and northern h has a single cross-bar ['1 . needs. Iceland has about 60.. Frisia 16 or so. in Germany and the Low Countries rather sooner. all from comparatively late times. even if you cannot understand a word of either language. rune-masters reduced the number of characters from twenty-four to sixteen.ngland the script died out. in the south and west to l. and Viking inscriptions can be distinguished at sight fron. and Denmark some 700.

ach rune had a namc that r.&1..nglish J.**So' i K.r.'tiu. we believe thcsc rune-natnes L.''lt !"tr *..t-. whe' rvritten . withrune-nanres. 'L't' 'f . showing :r variery of { !r1"" runic forms and rune-names' tTl td' I H'r 5 e.relocalversionoftheirnames'TheNorse rllne-namesarepreserveclfronlslightlvlater'andatatimeu'henonlysixteenofthe list of names lrorrl do not have I complete letters survivccl in use t'-t St'l'-tdinouia' so \Le the othe r Germanic peoples' but those of rhilt region.1* I $f t.' 'Fa .t page of ' thtu not rec.mostcorrespondnrore orlessn'ithtl-recquiv:rlentArrglo-SaxonOneslandthesepresur.lo|-.".y t.n'tt'.-.jia Nn.'rt-'.. fk: pe ild $*e b* ...Bothmean'mone.rrr ( in MS l-..v{- l*11'-s! kE t$l # fur.r. No natnes .x* dr. i.f c.. ."ntt"'O*' uf tht ninth Errglishrut-ticcharact.propertv''Tl-rcl-rune(no'11) 'ice '' The'v are supportecl had the olcl F..Tl'refirstt.ccounts uf tit tt'ipt began' Fronl centurv and after' u'ith drarvings of the territories there :rre .withthevalue/.v.f .rcled until comparativelv existed from early r. 2 Rune-names and Futharks also a meanir-rgful word..' are knou'n {ro'fu sotne links the lette rs of the Gothic inventecl for u'riti'g tl-re scripturcs in' have ^loft"f.. { t.n. lll' Occasionally English and Norse runes have similar name bv the Gothic letter name *L l"u' : +r- ik {. P. *{ s J' .lwithtl. ff.r.TheNorsenameis/e.' of .* ei&* 4'..ll..OfthesixteenN<lrserune-namestlratsurvive.urse "" Anglo-S*o' E'ngland and related late. Sy O*t".hadinoldEnglish rhenarnefcoh. both with the se nse "".vgobackttla (()mmOn C('rlllillli( P'l\t' Usuallythename<lfarunebeganwiththes<lundtlratrunerepresented'Totirkea coupleofexamples.r. 4a \-' f. St lohn't ollcgr' '?'t*" l.

The Norse name for this character is unknown.'gift' 8. Rune 3 of rhe futhark.'giant. Old Norse kaun. Here the deviser of the rune-names had to do the best he could. "dagaz.'riding.ri/c. is Ing. 'tmannaz. " fehu.'year. "raido.'need. carriage' 6.rmc. Here the forrl descends from a common Germanic name which acquired vanant meanings as applied in the different languages. is a borrowir-rg from Norse into north-west English). necessity.'hereditary land.'ntan' 27. no Germanic word starts with the combination rg (rune no. though there will be gaps and uncertainties.'?wllcl <>x' 3.'joy' 9. other scholars may have individual variants for some of the narnes and forms.'goblin'.r. " ehwaz. Thev argue that the names of rhe runes. but in England this means 'wilcl ox'.are closely linked to the pagan religion of . 'harl' 10.forms. the English and Norse names are completely different. of course.'water' 22. one or other of these may be the direct d. "hagalaz. ?" algiz. The following table reconstructs Germanic forms (which.scenJrnt ot the Ccrmanic n.'god' 5. wealth' 2.'sun' 17. "ansuz. "gebo. fruitful part of the year' 13. "wunjo. "lsa-. "ilruz.'torch'. "r(h)uazf"eihwa4'yew-tree' 14. in Norse the name is pzrs which rneans 'giant. i Old English cen.'day' Imaginative runologists view this list with delight. "jera-. in Norwegiirn .'ulcer' 7. " berkanan. For instance. "trwazf "teiwae. which may represenr rhe Ger- manic. 1. cattle. 2) is called zr in both cultures. 'money. thurse. the name of a god or perhap6 a hero of Germanic antiquity. " laguz. On this evidence we may tentatively suggest a list of Germanic rune-names and values.'the god Ing' 23. The z-rune (no. ?"perp-.22). "sor. "-ingwaz. 'horse' 20. The old English. "'naudiz. ?" fturisaz. monster' 4.slag' and in lcelandic 'drizzle'. but quite differenr meanings allotted to rhem. rneaning quite unclear 15. also uncleirr 15.'the god Tiw'(whose name survives in'Tuesday') 18. "obila-f"obdld-. are nor directly preserved anywhere).a magical or cult script as rhey think . demon' (a novu' obsolete dialect word. with the value pf th. has the English name porn (rnodern English 'thorn'). A couple of runes represented sounds that never occurred at the beginnings of words in the Germanic tongues.'ice' 72. extremity' | |. Rarely. possession' 24. 'birch-twig' '19. and to indicate this uncertaintv I follow cornmon scholarly convention and ilsterisk reconstructed forms. monster.

a reflection of the well-recorded belief that a good king could promote the well-being of his people and in particular the fertility of . full of human pleasures'. The name of the z-rune. and the last eight runes form the two words wi(h) and bailag. It seems to refer to a leader called Hathuwulf. is used on fertility amulets implying vegetable fertility (it is related to our modern word 'leek'). which describes a deserted Roman town. A tenth-century gloss to the Latin service book called the Durham Ritual uses both m.r r. The intermediary o-rune may then be read as its rune-name '. in the Anglo-saxon poem calledThe Rr.The firsr two words are clear enough. 'water'1 but some would prefer to'. and to tell something of the nature of its earliest society and thought.'. Instead of writing mon. Unimaginative runologists . for example. opala-. but also its full name. This sort of approach is a good game for those who like it. of man/beast and field. that the Germanic peoples depended on. usually according to recognised patterns called'sound laws'. 'hereditary possession. to be taken as its rune-nam e.. and I account myself one find more prosaic importance - in these names. holy and inviolate'.nJ animals in his realm. To help them on rheir way. so they expect them to record key concepts or features of the Germanic world picture. The a. .. . It is clear that rune and name were thought to be intimately connected. bur what did he give? Apparently the object of the sentence is represented by theT-rune. If you wished. whose name this is..'many a mead-hall. difficult for a modern reader to make sense of. mondreamo fuil.rop. the scribe puts the zr-rune.. No-one knows why this happens or indeed can forecast when a sound-change will take place. but part of Denmark in the Middle Ages).). to save himself writing the first name in full every time.and d-runes for the words 'man' and 'day'. human being.and /-rune together define the two types of fertility.a fruitful year. so the whole rext becomes 'hereditary possession of the Goths. fertility' and so'prosperity'..know' . to write the word 'man'. The inscription of this stone is a long and confused one. if English and some Norse wrirten traditions are to be trusted. Modern English spelling is so out of date that it often records a pronunciation that has long since died out. A significant secrion of rhe inscription reads hapuwolAfRgAfi. it was quicker simply to draw the m-rune. the modern . in the rather cryptic Anglo-Saxon poem called Solomon and Saturn.-jera-. For instance. who brought prosperity to a locality . 'holy. It is hard to detect clear epigraphical examples of this practice. though it can usually be explained once it has done so. they give some of rhe runes symbolic or extended meanings. the writer somerimes puts SALO followed by the z-rune. 'Hathuwulf gave'. the Germanic Another effect of the close link between rune and rune-name involves the phenomenon known as 'sound-change'. which is to be divided into its separare words as hafuwolAfR gAf j. Hence a rune could be used to express not only its appropriate sound value.laguz the word "'laukazo a word which. The standard ways of pronouncing individual words are liable to change. Blekinge (now Sweden. No language remains fixed in pronuncietion ou.('man. receives the symbolic addition 'male strength. To go a stage further. A less clear case is that of the Pietroassa gold neck-ring with its legend gutaniowihailag. literally 'wild ox'.inviolate. The name of the /-rune is. bur a classic one is on a seventh-century rune-srone at Stentoften..roly yana. Manuscript texts shgw many examples of this sort of thing. The first six letters are generally accepted as meaning . l'or instance. as we have seen.of the Goths. virility'. the poet laments the decay of meodoheall monig.

was lost and the initial vou. fronted.4 inthefuthark (which thus became afuthork). In a North Se:r littoral region from which English and Frisian were to spring. since thirt vowel remained in certain contexts. A case in point is the rune-name " jera-. The sour. And the matter wi1s even rlore complicated. that of the twelfth rune of rhe futhark. The old a-rune form survived. Following the principle I have just mentionecl. and in England therc were further additrons to fit new souncl developnrents. this time fron'r Anglo-Saxon England. 4 came ro be used for o in Scandinavia. nasalised and then rounded. ''fara. A rune to represent the sound a was srill needed. in primitive Norse. In Englarrd ancl Frisia the rune-masters responded to another group of sound-changes in a way that rnakes it easy to identify Angio-Frisian inscriptions. Henceforward rune no.vas devised. one to give the new fronted vowel ze. [r'r the name "ansuz the -/7. ro modern English y-). . These new runes have been found only in England and Frisia. Clearly if some such sound-change affected the beginning of a rune-name. This principle. you will remember.This originally had the valuef. hence the name'Anglo-Frisian runes'. "dnsuz. Gradually. The original a-rune hacl now to be replaced by three. so rhar the ultirnate result in Old English was the name os. i:. and the rune-name became ''dra.7 came to be pronounced further fon'"'ard in the mouth until it reacl-red a position somewhere between a and e (something like the vowel pronoi. Here the name of rune 23 ("opila.shows by its spelling that the pronunciation once began rvith a A sound which has been Iost in more recent times. 600 eo. initial l. bur a new letter I was irrvented for the name. Some time c.'ash-tree'.rd-change involved is called /-mutation. the two diverged in Germanic) became oepil or apel depending on date and dialect. In n-rost English inscriptions containing rulne 23. The rune-name retairred its position at no. i. the character represents this fronted vowel. This sound was conven- tionally represented in Anglo-Saron manuscripts by re. but with a new. The name of the old d-rune. value re ancl a name.e spoken of the Germanic futhark as rhough we knorv it from the . there occurred a ser of souncl- changes which resulted in a sub-clialect called North Sea Germanic. the I of the second syllable affected the initial vowel of the name. Let us take another case.(equivalent. is fairlv consistently followed through in the history of the use of the script. and given the nan're ac. the old a-rune should have takcn the value o. this rune form (or rather it later development of it) lost the value f and took that of a: it is usually transcribed A at this period to distinguish it from the earlier a-rune (no. The Anglo-Frisian rune-masters produced their own solution. for in otl"rer contexts the vowel . causing it to be pronounced further forward in the mouth until it became a sound nearer e than o. 'year'. For a time the early Scandinavian languages had two d-runes. thilt as the initial sound of the rune-name ch:uged.el lengthened. and then to somerhing like rjss. Hitl'rerto I har. standard Old Norse rlr. 'oak-tree'. however. Some of these changes affected the runes.?sc. developed to /ss with a nasalised initial vowel. Since name and rune were closely linked. ancl one to represent thc old a where that sound was retained.rnced in the modern southern English'hat'). one to give the nen' rounded and nasalised vowel (frorn "-ans-).1). so did the phonetic value of the rune. The Germanic name became. In those areas the fitthctrk rvas expanded to twenty-six characters. but this is not what happened. it might also affect the sound that rune represented. with the initial vowel pronounced with rounded lips.was lost in that language. And a new rune for a r.

depending perhaps on the care with which the rune-master worked or the materials he worked in or the size of his . from a variety of dates.(3)Brezaand(4)Charnay. Many variants are minor and probablv non-significant. the last rune is lost behind the suspension lobp. and since it is followed by a curious christmas tree-like sign that has no known alphabetical meaning (? therefore magical) and also by the palindrome sueus. 1. that is. so the rune-master left out the last four letters. but otherwise the Kylver futhark corresponds pretty well to the reconstructed one of he. The first letter is damaged. France. It has lost its final runes. the f. f'he Charnarl iune-master did not complete hi. a one-sided thin gold disc usually used as a jewel and dateable c. by then there is already some of the diversity of form I rernarke d on in chapter 1. The leters run frorn left to right. but some runes. . The final example is on the back of a sixth-century brooch from a grave-field at charnay.2 Schematiseddrawingsofthefzlharksoi(1)Kvlver. and the last two are in the o.s. Presumably it was not meanr to be on gqeneral view. There was no room ro complete the futhark. The hrst futbarks we have date from the fifth cenrury. for comparison with Kylver. there is no means of dating it precisely.(2)Vadstena. These futharks show some of the variants that were to develop in the rune forns. and pairs of points divide the twenty-four letters into three groups of eight. earliest runic times. provenances and objects. ori. Here the letters read from right to left. 14. complete. 6srergotland. Kylver has occasion:rl retrograde forms.(\FFR. The futbark of Vadstena. and the l:rst letters of hts futhark are losi.thark's purpose may have been to sumrlon up some sort of rune magic. and the letier order is disrurbed'at runes nos. is on a bracteate. sweden.XPH+lilIlXiiBr[t Fig. The Breza. ' f'\h1 R. This is not so. Though it is clearly early in form. a and b certainly and others{ f1 flfqD(. 450 .der d o rather than o d. in fig.550 au. Jugoslavia. futhark. D6p. sa6r-re-et-Loire.r.R.""mpl. -or. The Breza carver omitted b. X F l-l+ i Xt.XPI-J+ \LgYtf B f1 f1 f"l ' f \FiR)\f N+tNI Xyrtfl n i ^r \ FIt]. The earliest exarnple is on a stone slab that formecl part of a grave chamber at Kylver on the Swedish island of Gotland. example is cut in a piece of marble that once formed part of a church structure. There are half a dozen or more early fgtharks! rlore or less carefully . though its appearirnce on the front of the bracteare rs right-to-left. also meaningless (? therefore magical). perhaps to keep the corpse in the grave frorn getting out. bur it was apparentlv d. 13.rr.l. are retrograde. Vadstena is shown here in left-to-right form. 2 I give three .

12) and ng (no. On Kylver. But Anglo-Saxon England also created new runes to meet new needs. though clearly related. The prongs of the z-rune (no. L4) the fonr futharks have four differe nt. Kylver has what was probably the original. all but three are of full height.7g-rune full height they extended the staves of the small square instead of adding a vertical stave. r'(Kylver. In Frisia. Charnay).fc.for they produce shapes that look significantly different. in continental Germania. there developed the futhork.continued in use in Scandinavia untii c. forms. but occasionally four (and in some cases even more). 6).letters. and was to remain the most common. but Breza has turned it round to ^. for p (no. but with the characteristic double-barred b-form.r i (no. j (no.XPN+ I x ! h l I lllt4l ll *-J f upor gw h n J rpxs 1. Breza and Charnay have rare variants on the general theme.(frg. The excepti8ns are k (no. Vadstena and Charnay. or whether there is a significant distinction between mirror image forms such as 1 and 1. was the only one in use in the more southerly parts of the mainland.and . form [ . 13). but s p a c e d Roman berween single inverted commas. The s-rune (no.'. 15) can be turned up (Vadstena) or down (Kylver). Of the twenty-four characters in the reconstructed Germanic futhark. and ultimately + . but the various staves that formed this rather odd sh:rpe were juggled about to produce . ng was a small square variously placed.. Other variants are more important. and with one full-length stem Y. while Charnay has a double-ended shape.22).7 t8 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 29 31 ^ I I BXNIXRh{N'II\TXAX m c k Fig. and to give the . 3 The Anglo-Saxon futhork Note that in transcribing English runes it is customary to use. with its two new Anglo-Frisian forms. 1). This futhark . and more particularly in Anglo-Saxon England. t (Vadstena). to which was later added a stave to make it '1. I am thinking here of such variations as whether a letter had a triangular or a rounded bow. This marks the distinction between English . A closely related one. Germanic jwas probabJy . There then developed variants like ^. as used in inscriptions. 18) rounded bows to keep the distinction). I and 1. The Anglo-Saxon seems that rune-masters became disturbed at this irregularity and experimented with these characters to try to fit them better into the general runic pattern. For instance. The Anglo-Saxon rune-masters used the double- barred D-rune. and then again to give a letter of full height. not bold type. is: L23 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 72 13 14 15 16 t\tv\r'I V r\F Ft\I. k is .700 eo.. V:rdstena adapts this by turning the outer staves inwards so that the shape approximates to b (and in consequence has to give b (no.the so-called older futhark . 16) has mostly three staves.

while '4'is the common transcrip- tion for I. 7 . In early times runes 6 and 7 had served for both front and back allophones. They arose because of developments in the pro_ nunciationof thestopconsonants kfc. and no. No.i. adapted or simply discarded in a development rhar was to be completed by the ninth century. these stop consonants became pronounced at the front of the mouth.g.und not found in modern English but something like French a. The name is ear.grave. gar.. The rune 'y' (no. Nor were they kept rigorously . name cen) and the g-rune (no. The first twenty-six runes are the twenty-four of the futbark plus the two new Anglo- Frisian ones.parr.f".r. euite different is what happened to the older futhark in Scandinavia. with a strictly local distributiol in the north and north-west of Anglo-saxon England. name unknown. There is also the new symbol'i' used for.. so did it affect some words containing the vowel z. o. No. possibly . letters are simplified. traditionally called the Danish (or common) runes. yr.never intended for carving.nrrt. Dum- fries and Galloway. a/c perhaps like the sound of modern cb-.. which seems to mean . This vowel was fronted to a s. 27) is rhe resulr of r-muration. As early as rhe sevenrh century there are signs of change in rhe runes there. perhaps meanln€l 'bow'. This created the so-called younger futhark which was ro continue in use through the viking Age. Thereafter follow newly invented runes that occur in Eneland and are presumably local innovations. 'spear') were invented for the back sounds. In Old English manuscriprs this sound was given by y. as well as a few others known only from early manuscript accounts of the script and probabll. In back uo*. ub4rkhn o Fig. and a new rune was devised for it and given the n"-.and g-.beforel. and not an obviously. pronounced in the middle of the mouth and with lips rounded. 30. 29.ful on.fnrinstan. The c-rune (no. But in fact one ought to speak of the younger futharks. and the Swedo-Norwegian (or short-twig) runes. The geographical narnes are'. 700 en some norrhern rune-masters decided the sounds were distinctive enough to have different symbols. gyfu) were restricted to the front values. Thus the English rune-masters expanded tlteir futhork unril it contained thirty-one distinct characters used in inscriptions.31. forms from one futhark could penetrate tie oth. brt . The Danish rune futhark is: 10 72 13 11 . ?o1. like modern a. 6.. and is in many ways a convenience. The effect was to reduce the letters in use from twenty-four t'sixteen and to reshape many of the forms.IPY 11 15 tlt 76 7\iFR(++ ttl 4ZN trl t2l .I .e. calc.-. Just as that sound-change caused the inirial vowel of '.. it represents a diphthong that could iust as well be given by the two runes of its different elements. and g possibly like modern y-."ts.for right from the beginning there were two major varianr tvpes. and new letters (no. for instance belore a. but in some ways just the be fronted (> oepitlepet). rhey had back pronunciations. opila. 28 is a curious innovation. 4 The youlrger futhark: the Danish runes . and continental inscriptions.lnfrontvowel contexrs. for the futharks were not restricted to those regions.. German l. Runes 29-31 are late formations. is a subtle variant of the k-rune fou'd only at Ruthwell.

If someone was killed at Upsala. These were formed by adding dots to existing rune forms. Moreover. his epitaph would have to say it happened at ubsalum. . and some runologists have maintained that they were designed as a cursive script.vould lrave to be represented trutin.1 t1 15 16 I I I N t/ lr 4rt?\ \tl )t. dotted t I gave d. some variant forms in each futhark. to read and write le:lst those of irny standing and those intent on making their way in life . They were intended for everyday and practical uses. and for this the script needed change and erpansion. the choice of which sixteen letters to retain does not seem a sensible one. Ther"r new consonant runes were invented to represent the stop consonants. to r. of course. for instance. drawing some forms from one futhark and sorne from the other. p. So.985-1014. The reduction of the futhark to sixteen runes raised problems of representing sounds. d or g. One sound-change would have to spell the title kunukr or kunukR (with r omitted before g. By now the Roman alphabet was beginning to be used in Scandinavia - it first appeared in Denmark on the coins of King Sveinn Forkbeard who ruled c. but it took the Vikings a couple of centuries or so before they realised their spelling system needed improvement. In consecluence. the Nonvegian rur. But by this time runes were rn decline. sorne inscriptions were mixecl. In contrast. If you wished to comrlemorate a king (which in standard Old Norse is konungr). d and g. -i 1'he -voungir futhark: the Srvedo-Norwegian or short-nvig runes There are. There are many letters/sounds in early Norse for which there is no specific rune. 1 to represent ru and I for e. as for the written messages on wooclen sticks which have largely perished. Henceforward rune no. runes were affected by Rornan. lord'. Two new vowel runes were created. as can be seen. save that they ernploy 'f as the tn-rLtne. and he me ans. Viking epitaphs on the Isle of Mrrn usuallv use the Swedo-Norwegian runes. irnd the futhark order was replaced by that of the alphabet. there are two runes for closely similar pronunciations of a (distinguished as a and 4). l-Atl I l-A ttllil r J r I tl\t |l I rtr. nor any vowel-rune for e or o. Though they survive mainly on monllments. Indeed.were able to read and write'.rologist Aslak Liestol has clairned that'the rnajority of Viking Age Scanclinavians .ts. that was not tl-reir primary purpose. and. The rune-name lss became dss. reversing the pattern. runic spelling in the Viking Age is precelnous. 4 could stand for o. dotted k I gave g. There is no p. 'prince. and k used in place of the non-existent g-rune). dotted b I gave p. A man called Ofeigr would appear on his grave-stone as ufaikR. The runes of the Swedo-Norwegian futhdrk are of simpler form. z appeared. runes for q. x. particularly as. R). More and more. r. The word drtittinn. v-<r f bSrk a tbmlR Fig. and there are two types of r-rune (r. This 'cursive' futhark is: 1 2 3456 i0 il t2 1. It is alleged that for:eigners spell better than they pronounce. New characters were devised to correspond with Roman letters which hitherto had had no runic parallel simply because mediaeval Norse did not need them.

ec. Finally. .. g' Thus.ou. are applies when the same consonant as single (at any rate outslde England). ir. hagiradaR:tawide. rtivided (and the l"rt *ur.. full this would be Ali ltt riisa stainpin oftiR sik sialfan. runic inscription. Double consonants. sometimes not. can be mtssed out before b.kambu. there are Even when you know the vllues of the characters of the futhark For instance. doesn't' with all this under our pur up in his own honour.comb. for instance.rscribed (this)'.a. Such the rune-master can bind the two ll transcribed fa' Instead of aRte could put j" 6R' An English rune-master) writing the word'help'. Hott tok Knuts . do not always note word division. at first sight not meaningful."d this stor. k. A repeatecl letter (or even a group"h letters) need of usually represented not be repeated in a runic text. (ttir). the layout of a text.s.. Uppland. More and noted that it can be rdentified as from Vdsbl'. 'BidawarijaR cut (this inscription)'..1. its subiect and verb nicelydistirrguished.They spelling if thev precede what are called homorganic stop consonants: in practice this p or and n before t.i expande<l to a form recorded elsewhere).liariti. three or even more letters ligatures are called bind-runes. t. Instead of cutting ga. iip.. could begin it ll' e l'' Iheie are also spelling. could be combined' perhaps to save space or ligatured.. .. we have seen wih hailag with the b-rune doing double duty.Ati t". Sweden' where the owner ordered the striking is the Viking stone stain pin oftiR sik siilfan hon toknuts kialt anklanti' Written out ir"r inscripiion alit raisa kiap a Anklanti. Two. at any time. runes can be still things in the writing system that neecl explanation. sometimes they note it in part of an inscription. another' bidawariiaRtalgidai. kabu can stand means that /... ekfakaRf. 'HagiradaR made FakaR. Sometimes but not the whole' So. one maker's formula.'There are three disrinct cases of runes being used twice over' can be omitted in A second characteristrc affects the nasal consonants n and m. and the personal name "widuhwtdaR appear as widuhudaR' for thei' do. be ek FakaR f(ahido). He took Knrltr's payment of danegeld in England. and thrs even the Pietroassa neck-ring text wihailag' ends one word and begins the next. d. can properly the bracteate inscrrptron. we can now get on to looking at some inscriptions' .

simply said swarta. Sjelland and Jylland (Denmark) and Skine (Sweden. On two spear-heads rhere are texts identical in content though produced by different methods. curiously placed and reading right to left. ojingaR. This was demonstrated in the 1970s and 1980s. nipiio tawide. This is presumably the owner's name. Excavations of bogland sites in Schleswig (North Cermany). give the maker's name. those on the bronze mount and on the plane are cut from left to right. near Skanderborg. cleaned and conserved. Jylland. perhaps of war-boot$ made at sites of cult importance over some centuries. spear-heads and a wooden plane. 200 ao or perhaps a little later. At that date runes were concentrated in the north. One is a maker's formula. The runes. Fyn. 'Nithiio made (this)'. 3 The Early Inscriptions The earliest runic inscriptions identified so far are from c. Sceptical readers will pause here. The concentration of finds suggests they were sacrificial deposits. the black one. one is incised in the usual way but the other is die-stamped. Swarta. wood and bone. which also is taken to be a personal name. More recently they have been read from right to 1eft. so that a few new finds may make disproportionately large and important changes in the material available to the runologist. These were originally read from left to right. lagupewa. The first one spotted. those on the silver mounts are from right to left. and used on portable objects of metal. mediaeval Denmark) have pro- duced masses of artefacts. Of these inscriptions. More recently two silver mounts from shields were also found to have runes on them. on the bronze mount of a shield grip. and still manage to get One of the silver shield-mounts from Illerup bog. interpreted as a personal name. Runes were noticed on shield-mounts. Jylland. the other has whar seems to be a personal name. wondering what credence they can give to experts who read a text from left to right or frorn right to left at will. The plane has the legend afilaiki. The number of runic objects is of course minimal in comparison with the total deposits. . wagniio. as finds excavated at Illerup bog. also identified as a personal name. were being processed.

.e s(.Q a Eo E &o.2 o o -6 o )< da \. E 6 oKc d E E '= EN c c o O' E s.a = tr a 1 . a . a E d F It . PIA T a _3.9 aU E.

one 'sword'. there are roughlv contemporary texts from elsewhere in of them uncertain of meaning save the a plane with a number of . .'e qllestion the competence of the rune cut inscriptions in Erik Moltke.rr-. being incomprehensible. There is also from of which reads makiia.n. Copenhagen. his trade name on it -nk. and so-e of the Illerup finds have archaeological links with other parts of we would expect them to have originated some distance indeed if they are r. there is a spear-head with a runic text g. of r.h iome (b. th. also with twrl From Torsbjerg/Thorsberg' Schleswig. raunijaR.. the Illerup spear.. A'-rong the grave-goods one: bidawarijaR talgidai.. comeS a second scabbard-chape afield still' from a inscriptions. This time it Seems to give the weapon's 'tester'.the others knowledge of the principles of Germanrc name-gtvrng' are early. comes possibly the rune-nraster's nane.opp. siiderdithmarschen. vimose a scabbard-chop. loss of the inflexional in interpreting runic inscriptions.(cuttheserunes)''Tothemodern to name not .ade. presurnably. hidden when it was worn! aadagasu " l""sau*ii". and on the other hand. Vimose also produced a bone comb L. it. skine. that by 200 eo runes were already skilfully used. and show regrettable -Whlle after all. hatched across the blac]e. has two which looks like a female name.. North different types. with only runes. Their credulity w'ill be furtl-rer strained emendation to produce proper forms: in the case of lagupewa(R). b.. *ith inscriptions on both sides.. name.r.l. in particular has argued that many of the smiths who partial understanding of their metal objects -ry hnu... poverty of content' The inscriptions examinecl so far are sparse.h. brooch texts reveal a curigus sense of priorities: their tendency theownerortheglverofthejewel. By c. *". is thought to be magical.master'themanwhocuttherunes. of a woman.ekunwod(iR).t not all) runologists regard as the earliest surviving evidence for on a series of slightly later runic writing.Unw'odiR..hich car.lalloy saddle-buckle with the text. They Indeed. probably early specimen from Meldorf. Certainlv from Illerup. vielded a brooch with the legend alugod.' the north.d . Frtlm a woman's grave at Hirnlingoje. . be rea.s grave at Verlose.r s"*i-lit.unic sequences on it.n. to learn that some ot these sorne sense out of it. sophisticated enough to have cut a die to \trmP hit wares wltl-. this. these inscriptiofis glve lmportant information. women's' of To about the same date is attributed a group of brooches.. A runic brooch found at Novling. A woman. and the same runologist has to assume ar error. .outd at AvreSta6u.rron"l na6es. the texts need ending -R.. people are All contain i.-. they sho\1. :BiclawarijaR carved (these runes)'.*nr'y. Indeed carvers: the Danish runologist. with.. -lpland.. -"y Fyn.rune-likecharactersareengraved .rhi.nfrjy applies to afilaiki(R). Ivlland.l widuhudaR. was a brooch with a roughiy scratched probablyincomplete. and here \\'e can actually identifv a sentence' albeit a short words. text. Swarta is a perfectly likelv one - are more speculative. ts Denmark' From vimose. p""nn"l name owlpupewaR' Further Norn'ay. There is a very c.'l. 200 oo. and have to be constructed {rom our still called Black .rate. Sjrlland."pparentlyfromthefirstcenturyeo. 'plirne'. More clearly convincing as runes are the letters a bow fibula with a brooches.. have been qulte widely scattered. not divicled as such.ou.Aieu.. all with the personal name haria' group taliio.we so often pr"f.s burial at Girdlosa.buttherune.ilr-bootv . darnaged legend. detect error that u. one recorcling .

Their rllnes are formed rn silver inlay in the blades. Fror-n this general areir of the soutl-r-east come two futhark inscriptions. These have been raken as two sentences addressed by the givers of the brooches ro their new owner. which u'ould be south Germanic. The total power of the runes in the alphabet is being applied to secure or defend the wearer of the jewel. From a centur]. marry sd. One from Dahmsdorf. with six runes set in two groups. but there are parallel examples in other early inscriptions. both tenta- tively attributed to the sixth century. runes disappear. The period ofthe fifth to seventh centuries shows them in quite common use in central Germany. one of very uncertain import.ving the various Genn:rnic-speaking peoples in their travels and settlements in Europe.Believers in rune-magic explain this. One is from the ruins of a Byzantine church building at Breza. near Budrrpesr. near Sarajevo. and the shortened Aquincum futhark must be seen in the contert of other futharks on portable objects such :rs brooches and bracteates. There are two pieces of that date in Rumania. The piece of jewellery has become an amulet. The other is a more lowly everyday object.later come a couple of inscriptions found at Bezenye. is Gothic. There rre two texts. We can h:rrdly assume that this is just a casual graffito. also in Hungary. The rune-m:rster is here recording hrs control over the script and therefore over the magic it embodies. Jugoslavia. it is hard to give any sense to its rune\. the other fuparkgw.' 'l Arsiboda (u. a spindle-whorl of baked clay found at I-etcani. though why such an insignificant object should have such texts I do not know. The other example is on the back of a silver-gilt brooch which was part of a rreasure hoard dug up at Aquincum. comes from a cremation grave at Rozwad6n'. East Germanl'.' This elliptical way of expressing things looks prettv dubious to a newcomer to runes.'attacker'. Apparentlv they give an o\\'ner formula and perhaps the grver's name Razgo. ancl the carver carelessly missed oLrt b. Similar is the nanre on the spear-head pickecl up at Kowel. then. with the coming of Christianity. One is the Pietroassa neck-ring which. so wh. and are usually ac- companied by decorative or symbolic designs in the silme technrque. 'Godahild (wishes) joy. rvhich is Gothic. Before liring it had runes cut in its surface. USSR (formerly Poland): tilarids. while the latest of them suggests the sound-changes thar were to produce Old . perhaps Angles and Burgun- dians. Each inscription consists of two words set back to back: godahid unja and karsiboda segun. A third example. The fourth century saw runes establishecl farther south.rt remains is fuparkgwhnijipxsteml. In the next few centuries the script spread firr beyond the north. This seems to represent the end of runes in the south-east of Europe. or Marings. The German inscriptions presenr rhe dialects of various early Germanic tribes. In Hungarv too rhere is a fifth-century silver brooch from Szabadbiltty:in. There is a small group of inscriptions on spear-lreads which archaeologists date to the third century eo.ish) blessing. the inscription indicates. Alemanni. reads ranja. They are on the backs of a pair of matched silver brooches that formed part of the grave-goods in a Lombardic woman's grave. of different form. This gives the weapon-narre. The concept of rune-magic is usually brought in to explain these. Frorn this has been deduced a personal narne Maring. Poland. Franks. The last three letters are bnrken away. On a stone that forn-red part of a marble pillar a passer-bv has casuallv cut a futhark. accompan. Hungarv. perhaps 'the one that rnakes them run'or'stabber'.

I think. It has four lines of runes' one of which. The runes are mainly on brooches.r. raised above the surrounding waterlogged countrysi<le. The other three lines seem ro name tl{ree pagan gods. ostfriesland. the other. spreading from a base in the north to the south and east. A gold solidus found ar Harlingen. brooch.n. though there are also texts on two or three little boxes. Rheinland-pfalz. . wigiponar (: 'Hallowed rhor'). The third is logapore. Interpretation is diffcult. one. reads weladu. 'Boso wrote runes' on the Freilaubersheim.the Low countries but here it is - development because of peculiarities of the Anglo-Frisian/North Sea -crr. Easiest. further area of the continent has runes . solidi..iifi. During the Dark Ages many Frisians lived on n. This is partly the effect of the movemenr of peoples. are known from other Germanic sources. is simply two personal n". sometimes impossible. imitations of Roman prototypes but with runic legends. rwiirttemberg. awaleubwini. however. with a runic legend neming a man Hadl. notably wood.rlso per- sonal name form. has hada. a buckle. and puruphild on a disc-brooch from Friedberg. called terpen. but where we now cannot be sure what they meanr. The earliest runic texts from Frisia yet found are from the sixth century. ol course. difficult to trace Germanrc runes that I have listed already. but partry it is due. Two of them. Hessen. to cultural conracts between different Germanic peopl.. Frisia. orr. perhaps that of the -on. perhaps equivalent ro an obscure old Norse god called L6durr- It is reasonable to deduce that the evidence of time and place here shows runlc sc.. an amber bead. clearly a man's name. as the ?women's names rada:dapa on a brooch from soest.. a couple of sword-blades and a spear-head.uline of inscrptions from the region. Westphalia.y. idorih on a spear-head from wurmlingen. But more often there are letter sequences which are quite pronounceable and so are to be assumed meaningful. is the material for which runes were desiened. 27 High German. In recent decades these mounds have been dug into and have produced imporranr archaeological finds. one of the German inscriptions gives a glimpse into a lost world of paganism. near Augsburg. probably Ior'v/elandu. Awa and Leubuini. occasionally there is a perfectly comprehensible statement: bos':wraetruna. and sometimes this rs cerraln. wodan (: old English woden). Hence from Frisia we know a comparatively large nurnber of inscriptions or-r this material. There are two gold coins. it will be remembered. not the most significant " -"s. a belt-fitting.". from schweindorf. as husibald on a sword-blade found at Steindorf.irl mounds. from Harlingen. This is one of the two runic brooches taken from the cemetery at Nordendorf. rs ro assume that many of them give personal names. The earth of the mounds is c. These two are. sometimes it is less clear. such as the Goths who travelled through Errop. oberbayern.ngenial to the survival of organic materials.

rhe other deda habuku: '. which again could be a man's name.' If these seem too pedestrian. A combination of the two types is on a comb (o{ which only the back-plates remain) from oosrum. kabu. Though in these early centuries runes spread far afield. There the script was used on a variety of objects. another bone comb of rather later date. But then. A certain example of the latter is a yew-wood weaving- s!"1 fto* Westeremden.:.. has eda. '{or Adugisl and Gisuhild'.. Scandinavia remained the heartland. some commonplace. from westeremden. 'Habuku made (it). .! .1. so we have a group of everyday objects. On the other hand. which just means 'comb'. . Splendid was a grear horn made of gold. roughly dated 550-750 ao. presumably the owners. that has a legend so long and obscure that it is described as magic.t. Jylland. combs. A bone comb from Amay. . nou' lost and shown here from an early engraving. found by chance near the village of Gallehus. . for a One of the two gold horns found at Gallehus. in 1734. comb'.. 4:.28 Bone as well as wood is well preserved in Frisia. Tonder. even rhe authenticity of this object has been questioned. with the inscription adugislu: mpgisuhldu. of roughly similar date. one plate has . . This one has a maker's formula cut round the brim. has simply kobu. weaving-slays. with texts on them.It was one of a pair. you may be cheered by a wooden stick. rather lirke a weaving-slay in form. while others have the dull content of personal names. in case anyone couldn't work out what it was intended to be. some extraordinary. some splendid. of this piece of equipment. man and wife. Readers will scarcely be surprised to learn that some of these inscriptions are inadequately interpreted. from Toornwerd. Jylland. .

Belou Detill (inverted) showing the maker.' ixtraordinary is an object of no obvious practical purpose. until. son of Holti. it is natural to t. For many years. and dated about a cenrury later. one side has the rune-master.. Hlewagastir. 'HagiradaR made (this). is a small wooden box of roughly rhe same date. and since it ends with the well- attested rnagical word alu. 'I. The title and name of the rune-mastcr may then add to the power of the magic: it shows it was produced by a man of authority.The other side has a sequence of runes which must arouse curiosity: aaaaaaaaRRRn- nn?bmuttt:alu. obviously thisjs not plain language.. the eighth century. made the ho. This has a similar message: hagiradaR:tawide.s inscription. say. as well as a variety of animal and human figure dccora'ons.s name: ekerilaRsawilagaRhateka. a bronze Aboue The snall wooden box from the peat-bog at Stenmagle. sj:riland. an ErilaR [a title.. This magnificenr treasure was sent to the royal collec- tion. similar horn was discovered nearby nearly a century eariier. . skine. j co-morr"pl". a runic inscription round the top. found in a peat-bog at Stenmagre. This is a piece of bone carved inro a roughly fish-like shape and with runes cut on two of its three surfaces.'. or an office]. found at Lindholm.rke rhe whole lot as magical gibberish. an<j to identify this chunk of bone as an amuler of some sort. The 1734 horn was distinctive in having. am called SawilagaR. whence it was stolen in 1802 and melted down. so it and its runes survlve only in early reproductions. a gold neck-ring. the older futharkcontinued in use on a range of objects in all three Scandinavian lands: on brooches. Luckily these are clear: the text said. '1. Sieliand. ekhlewagastiR:holtiiaR: horna:tawido.

*pli. vestfold.words. . . the number with intelligible inscriptions is small. ao500 + 50 years. Norway). During this perioJ. bracteates to c..gloriour'.. are srones with rune-masrer "lu] Its confused formulae. There is some disagreement has recently about the <lating of the bracreares.stAinaR. *r-'r. like auia.. and ii) rune-srones. .k period. lapu and lauk-aR. a spear-shaft. or ornaments.Kepa. u". h" futha. A ston. ttrin gttd discs stamped *iir-.. Sometimes the name will be in the po. There are other apparently meaningless or rhyming Sroups on bracteates that may also be magic: salusalu or luwatuwa.l sometimes he seems to have put runes (or something like runes) on his work .' Somerimes runes are called 'god-descended' or . from a. nf. "iu. as kepan.fdrsberg. Norway.nndo-.te.. lpu. as: .rdashr"i*".say the beginning of the eighth cenrury. presumabry the"r. More obvious memorial stones are those with singre names. . bone scrapers for dressing skins. on them. *irr-. political events and social conditions. statuette of a male figure. The centre of distribution seems to be Denmark. . . Rune-stones have some textual similarities with the amuret bracteares. The earliest stones seem to be the Norwegian."n be distinguished. but mediaeval Norway). lauR. wrote (these) runes. there are. a bone knife-handle and so."n. vest-Agder.Here the man's name reinforces the charm. There are bracteates that have complete or part futharks. For all that.. custom of raising rune-stones reaching Denmark only at the end oI the old. knowing that every decent bracreare had an inscription but ". however. o. the forms of the runes and of the language.f. history. (Rdvsal. now Sweden. There are rune-master formulae in which the writer of rhe runes names himself (as on the Lind- holm amulet). Unfortunatery. hrra6'.ie *. we are probably not far wrong. *. and then the Swedish. a whetstone. sometimes in verse.s (stone.rr""uud.. .' There are large numbers of bracteates hundred distinct stamps are recognised and . th.Lrrd'i". The Dane Erik Moltke asserted that 'if we assign th.rr-r"i. been tarbled by the . cailed.. some bracreares have well-known magicar. often ir is clear that inscription. HrabnaR I am "b"Ril. so.ft. Rogaland.s grave- mound' (Bo. Sweden..rig". lines of runes running in different directions have been sorred our ro read: ekerilaR runoRwaritu' 'UbaR I am cailed.grave-mound at Elgesem. the EriraR. and these are often assumed to be charms also. derived from Imperial Roman coins and used as p. though the number of runic bracteates is large.. I..r. Norway) or hAriwurfs. as that of ikakaRfahi.rsiue. vdrmland. or abbre_ viations of them. . .]"n. (Belland. Bohusldn.r am called Hariuha: rhe one wise to danger: gibu auja.s. being himself illiterate. of them somewhere near a third have runes. Then there are the full-scale memorials. and these are notoriously imprecise bits of evidence. rkaR.e rwo rmportant developments: i) runes un bract..inscription types that.over five .... has simply Th. hariuhahaitika:farauisa:gibuauja: .ndait. ln all these cases the inscription converts the bracteate into an amulet. for they are the first examples of a mernorial type that was ro conrinue inro the Middle Ages and to provide essential evidence of language. Dating is uncertain in the early periodlor there is ofren littre to g". a. grave). as al.Hariwurf.s srones.rr. also suggests supernatural power in their use.. The rune-stones are something very different and urtimately more important. suggesting that runes on memorial and grave-stones sometimes had a magical purpose to keep the grave from desecration or the_ corpse in - the grave.l give good luck.Jftrm"n. .

Stentoften has an intricate and complex inscription which mentions Har- iwolafR and HapuwolafR. made (these) runes. fff. Towards the end of this early period.. Istaby and Gummarp. son of Haeru_ wulafR.700 eo. The Istaby. forming a complex with two other' uninscribed. and imaginative runologists speculate fiercely on what it was. implies a con- trol of hidden forces through rune magic. Gummarp said cryptically that .HapuwolafR set three staves (runic letters)' and then qives the three staves he set. in Blekinge. .. rune-stone! probably the oldest surviving Danish memoriel srone. HapuwulafR. "-j. in memory of \7odurid. continues with a rather dark saying referring to inheritance (and in this anticipates some of the Viking Age rune-stones).' The same family (presumabry) was recorded on the Gum- marp and stentoften srones. This commemoration rexr. on a stone from Tune. it is believed. The Istaby inscription is comprehensible. guardian of the bread. The language shows the first changes from a primitive Norse towards Old Danish. It is a relief to turn to the unimagin- ative ones who ascribe the importance of these stones to their language forms and runrc types. Bjorketorp. now parr of Sweden. standing stones.orp They are from Stentoften. and invokes a curse on sa pat bariutip. stentoften also may once haie been part of a greater monument. the last known o'l|"fro- early accounrs since it does not survive.he who breaks (this monument)'.The titre 'guardian of the bread' may sound odd to us.blaf-ward (: loaf-ward). but does nor name any names. These must. cur these runes. Something odd was going on in this corner of Denmark. Norway. Bjorketorp has a similar curse and again speaks of runes full of might. and the runes indicate that the older futhark was becoming obsolete. ostfold. Blekinge. say c. which even earlier was . Bjorketorp stands on its original site. have served some magical pur- pose. Here is of four stones whose imporrance is far grelter than their numbers would suglest.. it gives the earliest extant Danish commemoration text: 'rn memory of HariwulafR. \7iwar. They suggest new and far- reaching developments. 31 Ek'Vy' iwar after W oduride witandah alaib an worahto r(unor\ 'I.rune-srones appear for the first time on Danish rerrirory. but we should remember that our modern word'lord'derives from old English hrafortl.

n littoral. and corrugated into zigzags of five or six elements..Norfolk...r.urt portable objects and are short.whichisthenorthern fl. o{ the inscription is partly in its early invasionsofEnglandbegan)andpartlyinitsformoftheb-rune.itisnaturaltoconcludethattheE'nglishrunescameherefromthe Frisia/Friesland.hasaset-ofsevenrunes'dividedbytwodashesin vertical line rnto g. They are all on three examples will serve as p. Since English characteristic of both early with Frisian ones.-d.orp.rth.o* .i^tt 'ftt" "flttt '9t*d-changes S.thoughitwastobetheAnglo-Frisian ones that predominated' \Nfl I Fig.. But things were probably not as nearesr point on th. A test case is the earliest runic inscription known in England. whichlookasiftheycamefromthesameobject. No. England comprised a variety of peoples' and simple as that.o. on the seashore at Selsey. 'roe-deer" but the Its text reads raihan which seems to mean. The Germanic invaders of mayhavebroughtavarietyofruneswiththem.. The other reads'anm€'.nottheAnglo-Friri".whateveritmayhavebeen. *iih them.urr. on" .iy'in the south "r]d .o.anditissensibleto runes have common characteristics think they brought . f. which comes from the greatcrematloncemeteryatCaistor-by-Norwich. -ui.n. Each .t'h"pt'ii'fn"incomerswhobroughtthisscripttoEast scatter of more recent finds suggests Angll" -ny h"uJ.400andison I -.'. and almost always uncertain of meaning' Two or sussex. 7 the Caistor-by-Norwich runes. too short and incomplete buried in a sixth-century f. reasonably date (in theory before the Anglo-Saxon i-po. of three-and four. 4 Anglo-Saxon Runes GermanictribescametoEnglandinforceinthefifthCenturyeo. . weie picked up twosmall strips of gold.Theyare piece has broken off at the ends. often badly Anglia and the East Midlands.Wight.b does not look as if it ever meant runes scratched on rt.couldbethevariants-rune'thoughifitisthatitistheearliest . and . The first letter of the second group is f ' which'ashasbeenseen.'. illustration.r A England have Scandinavian aflinities' that others of the earliest runic monuments of England are restricted to a few areas The pre-Christian rnscriptions of Anglo-Sax-on East of the country: Kent and the lsle of wight/sussex. r n r n" which to lnterpret' anything..Isleof.# fitted to the back of the mouthpiece of a scabbard graveatChessellDown. ankle-bone found in one of the burials and probably used as a playing-piece' enough.-.Itdatesfromc.a.r.aJ....i.

r. formed. bur it seems ro sav. Firm datrng .g i.example known._ch.". " which suggests curious speculations about the purpose of the inscription. and other po. urn Lincolnshire. The first g. At this stage dating is e'tirelv on archacological grou'cls.). but again the iest is baffling. strike coins and by then they wcre arso aware of the Roma' alphabet."rr. .hunting animals). and they are p. and manufacturecr in the first liri. ancl so invisible wl."b. The text then reads'€co: s(Eri'. .of a ? sixth-century crematron excavated in the cenretery of Loveden Hill.sib.rp .v of a cremarion urn from the cemetery at Loveden i*::m.rr1.istirn period. of gord." .v before the sword was buried.1'ue a personal name' presumably that of the man i' the pot.r Anglr-Saxons began t.iis pr. that is before 65r imported f rorn th e .:T:: T:..: T:'::. There are some fifteen inscriptio's rhat can conlide'ntly tr.*:. and it must inevitably be somewhat specu- lative and insecure...ll:ir. but its meaning has so iilr escapecl runologists. with pairs of vertical srrokes diviciing the text inro words.n:i stamped decorative frieze of..r.illblcwllhf e (. the it was in use. cut shrirtl. despite a century or so of efforts. there are rllnes cut before firing in the clar. Agair-r.::IffiH T:.*:')."ur. and r.. The earliest A'glo-saxo' .ni. But what on earrh is a writer likely to have cut rn a crernation urn? Therunes are roughlv. The runes would have been on the back of the scabbard.ub"blu later addition. d".rot all chara*ers are clearly readable.?:are Hill.rr.i.rroin interprerarron does not begrn until the "n. *.. ...

ry corns minted probabry.-.."u.aF ffi N."..:il:j:T*'....'. .'. includes parts of rowland scotland't.iui*r.1. issueoranysize_*".. ro one in the north nnd nortt. but sometlmes ln .-to.. uses Roman script for his" of this p...:li:#:ff:lll''es' ""i. To those who think il$ffi: . with sorne precision.0 .ie The texts of the Anglo-s"r.i"". s variously spe'ed 'epa'.i.r-r" . nna they can basis of their sculptural decoration. h r r rr. king'.'i'#$:::._"..". b.rn.s Roman or in a mixture uf th.. rn"n. Ismatlsts yho win g the spread of runic. since their geographicar airt.inscribed "irrr. *a seventh century rhere was a silver coinage.c.- and north Midrand areas (and that .. sometimes int.w".:.'.1"0.:x..r.T.'.sivery of runic memo'al stones..T:i:Ji:JJn:il:li:#Hi::::l.&. Midlands..7o' KtFrhr'a /asru HEE.1T.."0 in :i::i::i:':[L"T.rorir.ha... even on $LT:'lxf.t'nnd q"'litv or '1" -""t guaranteed by c. This preponderance of runicinscriptions i.shift.::'.ilT:".ecl . 'epa'. -..n"ra u" p". rrr..8 coinsor the m. 0 in.n.'r'.. " wri.*Jf some i.. imitating :.ft corns and put his name. n...:rii::"J:ffi ::f: j|. often be dated on the W..but inscriptions _ 1:r...g.-"ingl. ."il:rilff::f. in the earry Middle Ages _ different . in runes.i:il'Jffil:":Til'jf.y sees the appearance of an importanr runic coinage of some th..neyer Pada harf of the seventh cenrrrrv Thprp .. somerimes life bv side with Roman script. Coins are comparatively plentiful.9-t6Y'1'. The king.^..n-'.x*i:.i.s name Epa..::r::]-":d o'*:i rinis' it wlr onlv encouraged their use but 'i'* '. the so-ca.'..^:_-r l- ^ gord(.rJ"il'.'ilil::::::T jlr?..:?[.L issued a rich coinage..T'.. .nor they present important records of the different local drale*s.ropm"r..d name and titre is sometimcs "nd "nJ.-r.. with mar. this *"r ru-foputnr thar it was copied widery..<..]:ffi..rd .] ".rtruiion ir-.'. 'p ad a'. .o use runes were .r.rrrrl. ::.. where runic continued in use in the ninth cenrury.1*.:l.#j.: offn or v.'rr"ic script *l.i."nJ ...ri.'.iion. .' on.:.. d th e ...?iill' runic Eastlngria....:.d .1il:::$ one place to anothe..h n.ll:l"d Roman superscriptions..nJcirL* lf Y)rez \aJ/ &1\-t 'Ary/ n\llLlr\h\rll '<'z'e'z VWt/ It ) w llli -x'tu^\tll-1K/I llr'2 . \\fuKffi*g! \\ YZ WZ F... . 49re\ (ffiffi'\ 6^t-\ ^ z(r.1. *i.r.o...s spread corns of the type called srlcas t'the north. Towards *..'Jffiil:i::::. in rt."'*'' o. usuar with Angro-saxon very excitrr-rg in content.i Midlands' where the great King ?.:il.i'...on .li the region where ii was found stone wourd be moved from in modern . -rr"yer.r.un.rr-' J..n' from a rs a significanr one for the derl..0. f mlilllTi: 7s a n .dMi^Fc't rri ithYltt_) /til]'lSl|tTl$i)) //&xfJtsdV/l\ \. Saxon period).r.ff5::.ilr..o..r"*.to rearn that helped to extend their useful rn England.h.on. and numi can ascribe them to particular centuries .. on tt. r"*r"rJ-'rL tant rnnovation of the christian "] period was the appearance mosr rmpor_ These are found armost excl.oo. I.:.J....beonnarex.iptr.

.lysfaen Loveden Hill a Caistor-by-Norwich . IJrandon Battersea Dover ffiE Fqg. Thornhill a Manchester l. .. Lindisfarne Ruthwell o Bewcastle Monkwearmouth a Whirhorn ( Che.p.l Whitby / \.rer-le-srreer IHrr.riick .*. 9 The Anglo-Saxon runic inscriptions.r'|r. .l..

and and have neat serifs' rvhich two-in the lo*e.+ jislt. each of which preserved is one rvith alpha ttnd runes or Roman scnpt.adrants. or.r Monkweirrmollth' Tyne arrd \(ear..eard'on a grave. one of the fevn'southern cxamples' ln some gr*..sfromLindisftrrne. q. commemorating one Tid6rth.Northumberland'thereareseparatetcxtstnrunesand same nilme. ancl in at least one case the t\N..o texts recorcl tl"re has an incised cross ancl a name' eitl"rer in a group of similar grave-stones. i tt' 1?.. .l by rhe cross. T1'ne and Wear. with arr initial cross. like The simplest tvpe of trremorial inscriptiotl gives onl...slab at Dover. Fronr Hartlepool is Roman.v the . nanre of the cieceaseci.tidf irp.r* * :i iij . .-ntnrk. The runes are carefullv cut trained in Roman script too' suggests that the mason u'ho cut thcm was A Christian memorial stone from Monku'earmouth.tln a stone fron.. very elegant ancl beautifully the na're 'h il d ib ry fr' divicled in omegd inthe top quadrants iurn.. . t: :l r: 'i.

while the rest of the sculptured w. cemeter)' at Hartlepool. is sete on Great Urswick.' Bv comparing these examples. cumbria:'f t u n rv i n i s.t t (.'Eadreciser(thisstone) inmemorvofEa... Just as. . the more formal verbal ending.rn"ir-rr.lrhegn'. but also that of the person who put up the monulrlent. Great Urswick represenrs the earlier pronun- ciation of the verbal ending. r pricier memorial altogetherJhe rexr re:rds.l v I p i s w-. found in an Anglo-Saron t: *1.. There is a further point of interest in some of these eramples. The verb .5irnilrr i\ Jn In\\. t *l f r e r t . Great Urswick perhaps a local dialectal variant or a demotic form.nptron on a shaft ar Grear Urswick. Lyt pis w(trhte). ) | b e r h t s u r I e . The eleganrly carvecl grave-slab of Hildithryrh.rk on rhe monument is second-rate. vou can see some of the dialectal or chronological features of old English that such monumenrs attest.mcn.r. gebiddap on rhe second Thornhill stone. but the end of the text was hacked away when the shaft re-used as building material.+ lo I Gilswith raised up a rnenlori:'tl lbekun : modern English bedconl on a mound in memory of Berhtswith. in modern times. epitaphs and In Memoriam Junouncenents in newspapers sometlmes include short .ork ro wantro 'ery sign it.A more elaborate version of this tvpe of epitaph is on another Thgrlhill stone wirh a more elalorr11 inrerlace..+ j i I s u i p : a r a r d e :. 'Lyl made this. with a sculptured interlace panel and below it three lines of runes: '+eaclredlsereeftcleareinne'. sete on the first Thornhill stone. West Yorkshire. so he carved his signature across the lower part of the stone face. ll I' More elaborate is the tcxt which gives the name of the deceased. pray for his soul. The irnperative (pray' is gebides on Great Urswick.'+ Tunwini set in mer. Thornhill the later.f terhisblrurn€gebidrspelrslauil:e'.".The runes are crudely cur and badly set out. Despite this.ory l of rorh- tred a memorial in memory of his ?child. b e k u n n b e r g i g e b i dd a p p e r : s a u I e.nt. Borh nrmcs herc trc of $(. lr. the craftsman was proud enough of his for 'her. . An e-xarnple is a standing srone at Thornhill. o r o il t r e d a b e k u n. Thornhill pr.set. .roul'..

re re-used cross-shaft ar Grear Urswick. with the memorial inscription above and the maker's signature cur untidily across the two lower ngures. .Tl. Cumbria.

so do these Anglo-saxon epitaphs.. troubled with solitude came noble men. lAhof t ic riicnr kYnilc heafunes hlafard... I beheld it all. Gebiddap per saule' The most important verse inscription on an Anglo-Saxon rune-stone is not. So. so some of the texr has been destroyed. It occurs on the superh eighth-century cross in the church at Ruthwell. They reproduce te"t. They griefs. other sources... I was drenched with blood . . HwePre Per fuse fearran kwomu eppile til anurn.. Men Yet to him in his bJth together.. verse is different from passages of verse. supplemented by a few bits of material from *.".. Anglo-Saxon English verse. cross was severely battered in the religi6us storms of seventeenth-century Scotland. set two' three or four with birds and beasts. .Almighty God stripped himself as he prepared to climb the gallows. n. There they beheld " '' . Gistoddun him (et his) lices heafdum' tsihealdu hra Per . i raised up a great king. but instead requires alliteration within a -n. eager.. I bowed .u gistiga modig fore (. protected frorn the suggesting that the monument spenr most of its history indoors and The surviving section of the poem. I was bitterly they laid that limb-weary one. + Krist w:rs on rodi. lord of heaven.. fries and Galloway. Helda ic ni dorstr' Bismeredu u0ket men ba etgadre' Ic (was) miP bloda bistemid . quoted would run: line...nth. Dum- memorial. valiant in men's reviled us sight . It seldom rhymes. r. and in the margins a series parr of an early version of a poem on the cross which is also to the line.' . . the two longer epitaphs Tunwini sete efter Torohtreda bekun efter his beurnr' Gebides Per saule and: JilsuiP arrrde aft(. The Ruthwell known in a later.. is: (+Ond)geredr hine God almeittig Pr hc wllJe on gelg. . Christ was on the cross. Down stood at the corpse's head.sually called The Dream of the Rood. however. Hnag.) BerhtsuiPe bekun on bergi. .. what remains is in remarkably good conclition.". Sare ic wes miP sorgum gidrefid. East and west faces have of lines of runes. one of the greatest pieces of stone sculpture fron-r early times in the have panels depicting incidents United Kingdom. The north and south faces of this cross plant scrolls in the life (a-nd death) of Christ and of the Fathers. wounded wirh arrows. Alegdun hie hinr limwcerignae. lc pet al biheald. I dared not bow down.) men . frorn afar. miP strelum giwundad. ser our in a formal editorial manner.n.ritten.

whose family used it as a work box.rJ base came to Franks who gave them to the British Museum' The fourth side t. All the inscriptions save the n-rain one on the front are related to the sculptured panels they stand in or next to. important because it provides the only epigra- phical futbork It is a prestige weapod. named after 'Wollaston Franks through whom it (or rather.op u. 'e g i I i'. the content o{ these inscriptions varies a good deal' sword with a single-edged blade) found in the Thames Imporiant is a scramasax short (a . on the top is a scene showing an archer defending a stockade against armed enemies. Impressed into the roof of the box are three uneven lines of runes:'* go o d h e I p e : e a d a n p i i o s n e ci i s m e e I ge w a r a h t e '.. A metal plate is affixed to its base and on it are carved elegant runes. though the British Museum has a cast of it. He also engraved twenty-eight runes. or more probably was ripped. The farmer's son removed the silver fittings covering the pegs that held the sides and corner-posts together.n in the nineteenth centuJy. It may have come from the church treasury ar nearby Gandersheim. ln the church at Mortain. some of them of unusual form. bronze and silver. or rather one repeated. perhaps variant and perhaps And he added the personal . recovered from the River Thames at Battersea' and south The later period also saw runes used on portable objects. though how and when their find-places can only be conjecture. and these are adorned with repouss6 decor- ation withrepresentations of Christ and angels. is a small beech-wood box in the general form of a house.-. was separately acquired by a collector and ended up in the Bargello Mrr.rirr.-lin aid nor resrric himself to decoration. In the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum. Brunswick. This is a whalebone box.Not surprisingly. The text is in the northern or north Midland dialect of Old English. in the blade the smith cut patterned grooves' and inlaid then with different metals. which attest a dialect from northern or north Midland England. carefully set out. lines. Normandy. dated by archaeologists to the late ninth century.d . .'Magi'' .p larer. most of it) came to the Sir Augustus British in both the north of England. name 'b ea g n o p" presumably either his own or that of the weapon's Mosr famous of the English runic objects is probably the Franks casket. On the front is 3 scene showins the Adoration of Christ: in a small panel above is the title'mrgi'.a.. Batt. apart. is an elaborately carved ivory box from the eighth century. They form two texts. 'God help Aada (who) made this ?reliquary'. Haute-Loire. Copper-gilt plates cover the wood. For instance. Florence. France. and the box fell.ous. but the copper. Unfortunately nobody has produced a convincing interpretation. first known in the nineteenth century in the possession of a farmer at Auzon. Above him is his name.The scramasax with its inlaid futhork and the man's name Beagnoth. All sides and the top panel are richly carved and have inscriptions.r-. The effect is a rich one of coloured decorative and inlaid a futhork of . Three sides.1. they got to Three runic boxes were discovered outside England.

r. the main inscription on the front the it riddling explanation of where not refer to any carved . and the it'rscription picture: 'romwalus and reumwalus t\\''€gen gibroper afaclda hia wvlif in round the .. Inotherwords. partly in Latin. far from their native l:rnd'' the temple at the The back depicts the Emperor Titus's capture of Jerusalen. The descriptive text rs partly rn cenrre.'Here the inhabitants of the panel have their own short titles.n. parrly in Roman.. left and fugitives runes. warP gasrtc grorn Per he on greut giswom. .€gilideiendinghis houre :glintt JrtlleLl rJlLler\' runs one side depicts the wolf suckling Romulus and Remus.ttempt is: 'the fish beat up the seas on the shingle'...n. This is the only one that cioes Fin:rlly. The scene it represents is compler and mysteriousl mav have lost the story it not yet b"een sarisfactorily identified.thetopoftheFranksCasket. Then it. probably is uJd. It begins 'her fegtap titus . The final bit of the text gives the terror became sad when he swam on to the answertotheriddle. for instead of the the meaning' Though the carver uses forms 6f his own inu..flodu ahol on fergenberig. There are grammatical drfficulties in the tert that make exact trilnslation hard."r.]" and the lews" though the form of the last word . to th."ro. but a to mountainous cliff.. The l-atin is neither flee from Jerusalem'' should be hic fugiunt Hierusalim habitatores.ithitssceneclfthearcher. ancl the senrence continued in runic'afitatores'.i.Romulus and Remus. and may never be since we usual vowel runes' the illustrates. deliberately to obscure inscription remalns otrscure' code has been cracked.theboxr"'asmade from the bone of a beached whale."n. The inscflptron is partly in code. partly in old English..'hronrsban"'w'hale'sbone'.0.H. court'. . 'd o m" Two sn-raller scenes at the bottom 'judgment. them in Rome. a she-wolf nourished romacrstri: ople unrreg.l giup. nr-r the box.'hostage'' ' it has Tte right side is problematic. with to the right. Thecarvedpanelon.. figh. two brothers. the king of .ntion. instead gives a the material for making it came from' In verse torm: fisc. and'gisl'. the meaning of the verse of casket. atrack.*.continues in a mixture of Romirn characters HIc FUGIANT HIERUSALIM' perfect nor classical.. Ti..

. A *"t.t:.a' in the later Anglo-Saxon "iff."*ih.-..-. {aintlv and with a all the hgures had their names ....*" withthepersonalname'+aldred'alsoin'-ttat'etifftdient's'andexcavatorshave Part of a bone comb was picked up suggested that this srte too . i..r]rr-i have describea ".t*'. of Christ '"d nn. "..-. thot.rinsfrom Lancashire...... ninthcenturies'ThereafterAnglo-saxontu..."ttit':":tit"l lts text begrns from a rubbish dun. enough on +ALHSTAn.. 'hJ:"dy and evangelists' cove-r its lid and sides' figures.. is anybody's Mark runic' tu evangelist names Matthew' the Christ symbol. M.y of the Anglo-Saxon :::l:T: .Ch.-..' i.'n"tiftJin "tntt' "tipt the competttton' against the more O"'n*t"tt *"nan a1{ ultimately could not survive eighth and n.'. marKer r.od*uLzJ cut in two lines: only found at LlYs{aen' t}*Idl ni: tTj:*"er's nante' the rest Roman. ...:J:. firg.+. Most nameswere in Roman' but so who was expecred r.rg.t-.'ihsxps'is "na "'Jltlt an[*:iil show thar runes \\'ere nor the onrv letters the *".-.r. This is the coffin made by the Most importan. It u"as not. of a single : . n":hlillr:t-:t:^::.::JT"*T:1 mlxlng: ::f l:::: script. They are very hard lol' guess. f.lffi il#l'": Hartlepool srave -. nlninly from the seventh.iJ::n]:i:*.. nul rt.T .i.rp as"ii nt"!t!f y from the local monasterv' il.i.g:fi::JkT:*l......i. ni^..t" and were probablv never very kniie point. *itrt"..'.tt'utthardtofind'anditisunlikelythe script survived the Norman Conquest' Lancashire' probably of runes and Roman letters Irom A gold ring with a mixed legend Manchester... The later rnonu.Ca'nr'c....$ disapproved to tt. has the'rixed rtgt..' o ti i".'.i... .andit ':: .'"-i1: text rLlril:15ffi il ......r...t huut "tggt"td' o{ the pagan scrrpt' runes' reason ar ti"ut .ns of i"tin in an inscription shows a learned carver (or designer) ot. There are cases 'm' and 'n' are runes' at Chester_le_S. sort of rivalry between the scripts a' religious rivalrv or conflict' There ts no period.9i' and now monks of Lindisfarne f".l"i"?it i"'irtt'"' runic' This sort o{ mixture is common probablv Manches- the rater coinage.".'ot in Durham' Incised of St Cuthbt't i.nna... is most a pair of tweezers site at Brandon' Suffolk' comes monastery there' f rom "'t-'n1.... ^-lbirED owns "i.1.. .o iden'tify them...'n. likely that such a stonecame.i...l.b...coffinofagreatsaintandontheir inevitably fought at"t*:::* memorialsrones.y. i..t"daluw"t''tsoGlipecy-" in Latin and conttnues in Old English: uf tht ?owner's name broken awav' wrlh*]re 'My God: God almightfiJfC'"-" "st j.rivelychristianRuthwellsculptureswereampliliedwith Yet the uia a Christian out.l"ted precisely.u.r. n. "11 Quitethecontrary..l':.. Itseems that distinct' to make o.()'Jr*' "rcft"tgels in .t.. crrrir.}fffi.. "' '.f"tt"s used for difterent Ot'Ot"'''f<l' .'.' "t 'd(e) us'fib.t'"'it"'r"" show Roman and runic n'ould be comrllon' Some pieces society in n'hich ttoman script for its instance' though Someofthelaterinscriptionscomefromknownecclesiasticalcontexts'andtnese ..:.istiansusedrunesonthe. ..oMECagRof' "'dred ter.r.'^!.

*" ul'o a time of significant change in the Scandinavian developed .hon.coincicled to a our knowledg.g..-: H.. by a strategic road or river crossing.''ething of the Vikings' isonthegreatrune-Stonesthat*'.. sr.. preferablv one masrer would ..-r i. of proPaganda' as acts Mostrune-stoneswerefree-stat'rding.l archaeologyorarthistory'Onemust.un".o*-.- Mo.etic to the mercilesskillers... i"...ll us"o.'-tgJ reveals.i... then on right into the later "nd.than Norrvay towards the later part of the period -o{. ..iun' of thatlime. th.) occasior"rally which of course makes ii h"rd to s..r nlli"yr.isthe'contributionoftheruniclnscrlptlonsto of ".occasionallyarune- that could be of a living rock.. a small market part of a group o{ monuments in which a Ivlland.andtherunesbe-cutonpartofthe pattern]oftenalongthebodyofaserpentinemonster. traceable in a successio'.'mberofcharactersintheyoungerfutharknrakesitinefficient es a spclling appxrrtus..' uf in.rii.perhapsmost.inn or'.". -r. srone forms only ."llyinteresting... Much of the rnaterial The inscriptions t..ricious the original incisions. witir the . .gi little of this paintwork remains todav.r. though and towards pa-rts rather.800-1100eo).-p. o" . or only of the inscnptron. by the Franks. hirr"nry.pillagersoftheChurchandsoon'Certainlythey were neglected by were all these. often dateable on the grourrds of history.a in.v as n'olves o{ slaughter' side of things.b. the lrish and other peoples thev preyed upon' Not Norsemen' reporting thern as pirates' raiders' surprisingly they are unsvmpat.whilethesmalln..u. * boastofdeedsthattheythoughtpraiseworthy.oratsikkuikuan.. ZU.'oratingthegreatdeaclarrd{requentlythosewhodiedfar Vikings put up stones in their own honour' from their home lands. objects.r.treachtto""nt*it'. The carving might consist frames.casesthe letters would r.inhisownlifetime'.t-. Most contemporary accounts oi the Vikings were written by their enemies.h.o. but rhere were other sides to Viking activity which those u'ho sau' them onl.lnevitablytheinscriptions of distribution they have a bias reflect the views and nl.rgu"r".Therune-stonesare oftenmemori"t..lnmany.ever. .say''f. . *ith . S"on-re eftirsiksitilfan. The period goodextentwiththeag.inhonourofthemanhimself'. ut No. in successive lines between incised thestonenrighthaveconsiderabledecoration.otou.u. (some practice of repainting in the letters' Scandinavian..r.e of the younger futhark..i.oftheVikrngs(c. Denmark.sist ir't tie pe. .e seen at a distance.'-t change ts Middle Ages' language L. the E''-tglish. 5 Runes and the Vikings form the most important epigraphical The Norse lnscrrptlons rn the younget futhark archive of any Germ"tit ptoplt' Tit tin-tt duting which the new runes were being .rt"rntv with all its faces covered with decoration' there is an expensive rune-stone town in The most famous example of this is the great stone ar Jelling.. thor.Andsomewereputupinsheerself-glorv. u.ocharacteristicoftheage.. ".Sweden and Denmark.ofcourse'rememberthatspellingchangelagsa in p'unta"i"'ion as the chaotic spelling of modern Engiish good deal behind .-.

10 The runic areas of Scandinavia.Sir. * C)pland Hadeland Uppland Vestfold a Varmland Milar ^b ^0F Sodermanland soo rsl 6 FV 'fr'. VJstergotland Ostergotland Smiland Blekinge Jylland Skine tfutr'. . '1.and Flg.

uan. Jylland. but there is a further line along the bottom of each of the carved sides.'' '-'' The srnaller stone is the simpler and earlier.s adornment. publicly disprayed rheir grancleur. Two have low relief carving. :sina:tanmarkaR:but: Denmark. {*a ie i!" The main inscription of Haraldr Blr-retooth's great memori:rl stone ro his parents at Jelling. to the north and s. The greater stone it is nearlv tu'o and a half nretres high . f:rther and son. pair of kings.ln four lines.. rt l"ras no ornament. of a Jrucified Christ ancj a monstrous raging beast. promrnent complex are two an irregular granite boulder whose shape gives it three main faces. The whole rexr reads: :haraltr:kunukR:bap:kaurua kubl:pausi :aft:kurmfapursin aukaft:p3u rui : mupur:sina:sa haraltr:ias : saR. The northern mound once contained a pagan burial in a u.qu.uth of the in rhe rat-er Ro-"n.tanmaurk :ala. The southern one was always enlpty' Midway between the mouncl cenrres (ancl just outside the church) are two fune-stones' one of which may have been moved r"rere fronr another site 'earby.*-- :kurmR:kunukR: Kins Gormr :karpi:kubl:pusi: rna. church.le rhis rnonurnenr :aft:purui:kunu in memory of his wife Thorvi..o. sirnply the .auknuruiak auktanikarpi kristns . .goden chamber. Most of the text is on the third side.

p.' At nearby Vallentuna he . His Jnr. *hi.. and still stand. May God help his soul.'These are notJarlabanki's put up stone to commemorate his father.iby. At Galteland. and presumably to giu. Better known is Haraldr' nick- Christian mission to Denmark in the 980s' He seems to have named Bluetooth.ti-. partictllarly if he was putting up such Stones' It was important to publish a away from home.ntemporrr) recordt stone can he d. This was the Haraldr who won all Denmark ior himself and Norway..andfewVikingscouldafford'orneed'suchanarrogant aristocracy. thinking it worth a bit of self-advertise- manor there and carried his enterprise on four ment.. In it there seems to have been a major churches. or ar any rate less self-important.and he made T:iby and adds: put up anothe. this is the srone of a realViking.Thispresentsanew leaders for their local perspecrive...rg-place. Lower down the social scale is a member of the landed Uppland. killecl in the guard when Knritr attacked England'' Rune-stones commemoratilg the cleild are more common than those put up by the belief.'. And he made this causeway o*n. was a Danish prince.'These characters Gormr does not rppear in c..ngland'MayGodhelphissoul.. out road improvements.t he re-unified the land or brought archaeologists found traces of earlier timber Beneath the Romanesque church at Jelling was probably Haraldr's. and we might think that the armies he ". are known from other sources' so the and made the Danes christian. a'rd he alone held this district. Ali. two at each end.King Haraldr ordered this monument to be made in memory of his father Gormr and his morher Thorvi. one Jarla- display. 'Jarlabanki had this rune-stones which stood.wasfoundastoneputupbyoneArnsteinninmemoryofhissonBi6rr: 'Fi. Yet there may be man. And he srone pur up in his u*n lif.. the content of the ones only monu- ihi.ofit nb. -. and the living to themselves. whole of Triby by himself..tun. whereas the stones quot"d hitherto have glorified who left his homeland for adventure or i-porrnn. and it is possible that Haraldr. empty. 'Ati t. *". this may account exercised some overlordship over the great Earl Hikon and all Denmark for himself is for the clairn that he *nn Nor*"y.. Runic man from the heartland of Sweclen who served with and evidence then shows that Norwegians too joined Kntitr's armies.h . in the eleventh century.u. at the magnificent effect' his crwn.wn honour' who put up a single stone to glorify himself. leito England in the early eleventh century were raised from the Danes. "ft.'btidgr'1 and recorded say. 960 eo and died of Norway. tngifast.r his .Norwa. someone had to claim of the property-ownrng class and had met his end . He constructed a causeway ibrri.o"d. They for his soul's sake. on his conversion. . Aust- Agder..rted wirh feir precision. a is quite well known in rune-stones in the district' Less ambitious again.i th. one brought back his winnings to invest in land or stock' It p. His assertiotSthat he'won Danish politics at the time' It may a baffling one since we know little about internal outlying provinces firmly under control' mean th.i. He became christian c. Sweden. He owned the b"nki'*ho lived at Ti. Adam of Bremen describes him as an opponent of the but the elevenrh-century historian a century or so earlier. a fascinating bit of historical fact' Knitr (Cnut' perhaps better known "lro rnglish readers c"r]. mound to the south to improve the Thiswasaroyalfamily. also from Uppland' put up ir.. A good ."put. *". and indeed the family menr.. death was important to Norse have en another reason for rune-stones were one *-"y nf ensuring this.rt. removed same time adding body iro* the north mound and gave it decent Christian burial. Yet here is a him got his reward. and the earliest his pagan father's burial.taa this stone HetookKnitr'sdanegeldinE.s death.

Th.l. c. sraremenr it breaks rnro verse: He fled not at Upsala.s murder_ ous exploits. .ri. colonists and explorers.mealy-mouthe.t:. of rune_ srones in ski'e that refer. . relarionship to the living. could be the authority. There are ." esrare.rtrlc Jt Up\f. rike death announcements in news_ papers' The rune-stones mliy record circunlstances_of death.d by one Askell to his gracior.wnersh.t. the rune-st. t. proclaiming a death to the world.. In so doing rhev record the pattern of trre viking Age. The rune-stones are nor so. ar any rate as some _ apparently the better-off lord Tgki Gn.t.the estate. They are pubric docurnents.wn the 'battle.ny rune-srones are in public places. aspects of viking life. Recent scholars have plaved d.rlorrr" uf at Hillestad *r. Comrades set up after their brother A stone on the hill. erc. They kept closesr ro Gormr's T6ki.i l. prace of lrurial. a battre at " Upsala.. They often boast oi a dead vikrng.rpt. by main road sides and so or. tt. steadied wirh runes. lillcJ rrr h.Vikings saw rr. A memorial srone frorn Hiillestad.f . sometimes these were in scan<iinavia itself. ". at meeting-fields. murder and sudden death. Ali".IJ. . major events in the life of the dead man.-rroir.p. Skine.rh u:r1_]lscription recording the Cormrsorr. This may be why so ma. preferring to stress their importa'ce as merchants.'. .o. j .

sodermanland.. teis of a Viking who 'iourneyed boldly and made money among the Greeks for his heir' . Sodermanland).1yl' (ilrinda.drowned in the lake near Holmgardr when 'his cargo-ship went down: only three escaped with their lives'. also in Skine. i uikingu. Sodermanland) . 'He met his death in the north.. a stone at Ulunda. Many Vik- ings. lived a man called Thorsteinn.'To Estonia"where Bjgrn'fell in Viromaa' Bergvi6 drowned (Ada. and an unknown sailor .At Viistra Stro.'Greece') and Arab territory. comtnemoreted on . Upp-]and. at valleberga. ok uigs fgtum udr skiPtum and we it was who split the spoils of war.s captain.ihi. Sweden. which the Vikings called Holmgar6r. To Livonia where rivers into Russia and the great trading station of Novgorod.r. We went to visit the young lads of Frisia. raiding or a mixture of all three' For instance.his name has been lost from the stone .' other "countries too the western Vikings att?cked or worked in.andis used by the Vikings as a general designation for the Russian trading townsl'' This is how a Viking invested his sPoils. though curiously enough they say practically nothing about one that seems to us most erciting .'are buried in London. a man oldfr'ploughed the seas in the east and died in Lombardy. n"rlr. like Manni and sveinn. opland. is a stone which forms part of a grave rlonument' made by a man for his brother. At Turinge. Uppland). through Russia to the Eastern Roman E-i. 'between vitaholm and Gar6ar" Th6raldr died (Alstad. I suppose.the perilous iourney of exploration west ovef the Atlantic to Greenland and America. Sodermanland. skine. Norway). we have seen a Swede and a Norwegian a-vikinging in England. who liggia { Lundilnum. and there were of course Danes too.urr. Uppland. and he met his death in sweden.He was then rhe : fgink [? terror] of men.note the stress on inheritance' At Veda. At Sjusta. \fhen he diecl abroad his family and friends put up an impressive monument with a verse . Troms. Inscriptions trace the voyages over the Baltic' as that of Mervalla. in Gardar .hom his sons called their 'bold father" shared danegeld in England and borgir d Saxlandi s6tti karla. Down the iAngUy. Denmark.rd senja. particularly from uppland and the Baltic island of Gotland.e (which the Vikings called Grikkland. Stones are not the only runic records of Viking enterprise in the west. is an elaborate. trading. More frequently mentioned are the exploits in the East. is cognate with the Russian element-grad. means'the crties'. accounted for where "t the silver came {rom: Forum drengia Frislands ci uit. Somewhere on the *ay. Norway. the men who followed the dangerous but profitable route across the Baltic. Many are mentioned on rune-srones. made their money there. also in Uppland' is an epitaph to lrenmunclr who 'bought this estate and made his money in the East. levying tribute.diei in Novgorod in the church of (St) OLifr'. on a silver neck-ring which made up part of a small Viking hoard fou. a ship. According to a stone at Djulefors. 'like a man attacked citres in Saxland [prob- nbliy G".-gorod. and was ?the foremost of Frekki's guard: all Vikings. set up for Sveinn. Gudv6r. Frapi: . Lolland. fott as on the northern tip of Latvial. who 'ofren sailed in his fine freighter to Semigallen round Domesntis 1C. r. in a Viking exploit'' On a epitaph to one memorial at Tirsted.' Yet adventures abroad are more evocative of Viking activity.-u. That there should be a church in a Russian town dedicated to the royal saint of Norway suggests a permanent scandinavian colony there. though dyslexic. is a verse couplet which. a rock inscription tells of Spiallbupi who .

This describes him as one of a pair of brothers who were ..' The eastern route red arso to Serkrand.a.Gulli. . .'captain of the guard.."-0o.. Butshere *"s'tr"ding roo. but boasts of his own position. Ingvarr... di. a disaster the early eleventh cenrury..rrrou. goar..:3#:. rari rlii..rh east' among the Greeks. *r.the best of men.:. and sell. of course the viking Age. Nearly thirty rune-stones in the Lake Mdlar region of sweden tesrify to the young men who embarked wirh Ingvarr and did nor come uJ. fell at Fyris [near upsala and the site of a famous battre in the late . as the sequence of mourning stones at home reveals. May God herp his sout. .i rryi. andthe appalling "n. a man called Rggnvaldr had a boulder inscribed to his mother. He died at home..". .on. He died in battle. pasr Kiev to the Black sea and the heart of the Easrern Fmpire.1 more chilling is one of the texts on a stone at Hogby. rheir He was the sole owner of a ship.rhe Eastern Empire (d Grikktandi....' H . eru.. easr in Russia. Asmundr.d so on. Middle Ages.. In.g. docking in the harbours of Greece. He says little about her.s brother. east with Ingur. Their purpose. a rand of dark-skinned (though not negroid) peoples. with Byzantiu.. known in later fictron as Ingvarr the Far-travelled. ae"d too is Bii. A. The image of feeding the eagie is a common one in earry Norse literature. uppland.s memory. verse: Then. -' Eyvindr. 'He was masrer of a freighter.. He sailed it son. bringing dowi of mrny youths of good familf .spi6ti and Hdlfdanr put up this stone in memory of their brother Skarpi.oJ:Tx': ft:. in Bornholm. Greece. Not all vikings came ro this great capital to buy_ ". Hisvisrt to Russia was not for peaceful tradine. n':::1:.r1 put up called Li6rr stone at Fjuckby. Leader of the guard.J.r. is defiired by .a. And in the east rhey fed th. both at home and out on active service'.. orr.a. Uppland. not always successfully..s voyage was a heroic and bloody one.d in th.r. south of Novgorod the trade route foilowed the Dnieper. in Like men they went far to seek sold.:: aT:. in Serkland. best of landsmen. to his son's memory: a he was cailed Aki and venturecl abroad. the Arab caliphates.May God his soul.i."ei". a variant fighting-man. for everyone knows that eagles by preference eat the bodies of men killed in battre. r.. was a time of bloodshed and short life. and his companions were professional kirle"rs tooking for plunder' They got their come-uppance. .. He lies in Serkland.. Here roo the vikings penerrared. Ingvarr.Jil.. Notorious is an expedition mounted by a man Ingvarr. 'Thielfi and H6lmlaug had all these stones ser up in memory of Banki.. Died in rhe sourh.".. . like most p"rt. son Haraldr. A... Gripsholm.l result.) he was /rrls foringi. of th.'#. He fell in the east with of Ingvarr. . Instructi sweden.r.t. disposition.nip. armad. a man of good family. He went from here eastwards with Ingvarr. . At Ed. 'T6la had this stone set up in memory of her " ". is erected .du. fathered five sons.s . Hdrfdanr was kiried .' 'Andvitr and Kiti and Kdrr and help Blesi and Diarfr put up this stone rn memory their farher Gunnleifr. A promising occupation for a young become a member of the varangian Guard tough was to of the Empero.h.

.. designated bv standing athi..ful actir>n (' her <laughter lnga'' It was fut"t right to hold property' other needed recording '.. J/l.. Even a Protessl goes farther than this' a'my' So'nttiT..:. the communit.t" . Uppla'..Tht.rhor hallow this monu- haveinvocationstotnegt'dtt..tot'perhapsinnnt*t'tothechallengeofChristianity'So' uigi Virring."b"i' -tra tt'"ilttgt-l the pattern of inheritance' tt..iiJ""' u"' "nr...:'ilt''= I'' n 'Geirmundr il. ro't't pooti""iti""irtta ""rt'r""nJi'li years of the pagan period stones tt.. :n si il$ 'rtt -yi .'lll..ugh life' This was the case of ?Evvindr informing the epitaph says . i ut..'. However.astheJarlabankistonesshow'notallinscriptionsdesc^rib-e'suddendeath'Astridr of tttt'*"ty io' *""ti'r profit"When 'he Nor..l. *o.lro.i::::-:.Thentheinscriptionbreaksinto verse: AlwaYs will it stand while time lives on' this bridge firmlY founded man' broad in memory of a good Lads made it for their father' No waY-monument can be better made' Thereareothersocialactsrecordedonthesememorials:buildingaseluhus.x im :3li: i Tlffi ii:1 Jll ffitT i: il ffi .'d..rrlii" [: lnga] "r"' a complicated story and 'oot' Geiriaug toott irtr't'i1n.ahostel where an open air -:::'"* place for wayfarers'.trespassesandsins.. ce :. as for that. gooa"mn"' he held the faith of dependants.ri."tdu i .n.T::. . that he while ""'ngrv:':j::::::. singl.: "*:4'.'. .'grace deceased. tunl*#:..'t"'is the formula 'Thor hallow these runes" ment'.....Iut a""l'o-'f]io" the good God'' In t()""n*'-"te k.'.ym:: . *...' of at Sdlna' Uppland' names and there are several "'ftt' t*i-pfts of the same thing' A 'tont memorv''God help his o"'rt a bridge in tli"i' father's three brothers *n" ot..b:f"'-l: [= Geirmundr] married Geirlaug *1"" il..ltrT boasting q....''ht Christilnity had taken danegeklit otJJ' whose son man's b'...l"i spiritandsoulandforgivehi-r..:+..h.i.. # of the chaiging pattern of ownership' where any ou"t'-or"uota il.1-.'.:.t'b"']d rvl'Jnn' she b." Ji.I] :L:-J}. Then she *"r. f"-it"y and confirm stones in th. :lTJ'i5:l'.t"c"t1a ut t'iti-"()ne recording the founder's marker stones' a n d po sses o.. rhen'h'v h.ljx.r^i..uml.:xl:il?ifi. Then the tl".gin.essi a srone at tt.v her' Then-he]..X.. ...:.".....'..a.i"i Gu6rikr... io'b'o' Smiland' Sweden' The vcrse food (to his remembered his vtrtues " he begrudged no he was incapabie of ...':.1:1...h"r...*"Lr. " He ['" about 25 runes mts- .."gipr".. fior.i"r ..."r.. .il.J.i..."a reco'ded that visited . Alternntiu"ty social charity as well as self-advertisement' Jarlabanki's b'idgt b.rt in* a thing-pra.igt-. a ra . Jerusarem and died'"l {died and a son atterwaros Ragnfastr of Snott'ta-*"rried Eirikr'-Ihen she died' At that i']t't'il']* her son. were all "'.J-l.!' ck.'*^' n'.'ff.. .T.i family .

Its primary meaning is shown bv its etymology. and refers to a member of a noble's household. rheir fdlagi. There are also occasional references to titles of rank. hierarchical and with clearly defined ranks below that of king. taking over the loint business (and holding responsibility to Karl's heirs for his share of the investmenr) used this gravestone ro declare his legal position. Yet it is comparatively rare to find rune-stones raised in their memory. He and a mrn Arni owned a ship in common. The 6rst elernent is old Norse /i.A further title on rune-srones is pegn. the second is related ro the verb leggia. is one. his retainer. sveinn was apparently a king. They could. Jylland.young fighting-man'.Eirikr. They were fellows. and rune-stones sometimes define other relationships. The Hillersio text opens with an erhortation to thr: passer-by to take note of the history: 'Rerd the runerl' Other stones l-rave similar genealogical material. which rhree men devised in memory of a fourth.. He was masrer of a ship. an extended meaning of fdlagi that appears on rune-stones. one of whom died on their travels. The title is quite common on these memorials though the milirary conno- tation is not always clear. Presumably this is a relic of rwo parrners in trade. which once stood on a grave-mound at the farm there. Schleswig. And there are occasional specific and responsible positions: one is that of uikingaugrdr. On the island of Berezan' at the mouth of the Dnieper in southern Russia was found a stone with a damaged inscription which piohably read 'Brandr made this stone coflin for his parrner Karl'. 'money'. Norway. such as a force of armed men. with its incised . and then probably means 'comrade. and since their husbands often died far from home they musr have had great responsibility for keeping a household intact and thriving. and the group may have formed a partnership. But the family was not the only institution that bonded Viking society together. In this society women had their proper place. and a very good drengr. This title. comrade-in-arms'. Thus a'fellow'is someone who laid down money ln a common enterprise. of which landmannr. the man who had the duty of co-ordinating defence againsr pirates. The other. an official. and this may be a case of it. since another Haddeby stone refers to the same siege: 'King sveinn set this stone in memory of skar6i his hempegi. and Th6r6lfr has a further title: he is hempcegi of a cerrain Sveinn. literally 'servant' but here a servant of high grade. as we have seen. A good example is on a srone at Haddeby. a word which in these conrexts is to be tianslated . It seems sometimes to refer to a member of a closed group. an older man who was officer to a king or a nobleman. however. described as Sveinn's hempegi.'clearly Th6r6lfr and Eirikr belonged to the same unit. This meaning may be evidenced on a stone at Arhus. opland. A famous exampie is the graceful and elegantly decorated pillar from Dynna.literally 'landsman'. In this later Viking Age we ger the impression of a coherenr and ordered society. drengiar. This word was borrowed into English where it became 'fellow'. hempegi. Qzurr saxi. This was raised by Th6r6lfr. They often took the initiative in raising rune-stones. A notable example is on a Viking stone outside Scandinavia. inherit and control property. 'who met his death when drengiar (plural ctf drengr) besieged Haddeby. Some refer to a man as another's fdlagi. This sense is certainly recorded in runes. There is. and commemorates his fdlagi. a business partner. on this Arhus stone Qzurr is also de- scribed as a very good drengr. who had travelled in the west and has now mer his death at Haddeby. means literally 'home-receiver'.'to lay'. accon-rpanied by staternents of inheritance.

'most skilful girl in Hadeland'. and the inscription des- cribes one of those acts of social and Christian charity we have seen earlier: Gzr- nupr gerdi brri.decoration of the Three Wise Men under the Christmas star.' a bridge in memory of her daughter Astri6r' She was the most skilful girl in Hadeland'' No bad epitaph to take with vou through eternity.prydriks d6ttir. OPland. rnade di. . Si uar mcer hpntturst d Hadal- an Gunnv gr. eftir AstrirJi' d6ttur sina. from Dynna. this is a work from the early Christian period. Thrydrik's daughter-. The monument to Astri6r.

on the whole. Londor"r. but there are nowhere near as many nonuments here as rve might expect. and they took their runes with them. and were even fewer before recent excavations delved into tl-re Norse layers of Dublin. Perhaps the social or commercial classes who were the prime users of runes were not represented among the Viking incomers to the British lsles. that Norse runcs do not always turn up where you expect them. indeed splendid. Lrscriptions are scatered through the $Testern Isles and the coastal mainland ofScotland. runic 1lnds ilre few. and their geographical distribution is curious. for our detailed information on the history of some of these regions in Viking times is slight. orkney and shetland were Norwegian rerritory in the viking Age and for centuries afterwards. Isranbr. Venice. probably of Danish inspiration. but surviving runes there are late and of the post-viking Age. In the renth century a Norwegian king ruled in York. cut on a marble lion once at piraeus and now outside the Arsenal. Few runes have been found in the Faroe Islands. It mav be that cutting runes and carving rune- stones in particular was the custom of a settled society. Here the Scandinavian settlers used runes freely in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The vikings certainly brought runes with them to the British Isles. again a Scandinavian possession. and an inscrip- tion. 6 Scandinavian Runes in the British Isles The vikings were a far-rravelled people. It is from the eleventh cenrury. the Norse runic monuments in England are an undistinguished lot. hardlv readable these days. None are known from Normandy. The slab top has a magnificent beast carved in low relief and coloured dark . although that was settled by scandinavians. but they irre surprisingly sparse considering the activity of the Vikings in rhose areas. again.ast. Whv this should be I do not know. In Irelancl there was a strong if intermittent viking presence for a couple of centuries. though these include such exotic itcms as rhe name Hdlfdanr scratched on the marble of the great church of Hagia Sophia. From the ninth century onwards Iceland was occupied by people largely of Norwegian srock. and that nomadic Vikings would not indulge in it. however. There is a scatter of Viking Age runes in each of the island groups and post-Viking Scandinavians were vigorous in cuming graffiti on rhe stones of the prehistoric burial chamber of Maeshowe in Orkney. In contrast stands the tiny Isle of Man. Though rune-stones make it clear that vikings were very active in Russia and the E. But this would not account for the dearth of inscriptions from the Danelaw or the Northern Isles after Viking occupation was established. is a carved slab that formed part of a grave monurnenr in st Paul's churchyard. and their memorial crosses remaln as evidence. Or there may be local circumstances anj influences that we know nothing about.rl. and in the early eleventh rhere were Danish kilgs rin the English throne. It is odd. In the ninth and tenth cenruries large parts of northern and eastern England were under the control ofScandinavian incomers. Yet Viking runic finds irre rare in England. outstanding. midway between. yer again only a handful of runic monuments remain there.

oneintheCelticscriptknownaSogamandinlrish'The cross" while the Celtic raisedthis Norse text.. The tJ. to-nalstlshoio..hasacurlingribbonrunningbetu'eentwocapitalsand and chisel' a little figure.rri.' Inthenortho{EnglandNorseruneslastedaconsiderabletimeandwereusedina bilingualcommunity'ft"t'*"tatheNorseandEnglishtongues'Un{ortunatelymanyof o.inamixtureofDanishand 'Dolfin wrote these runes on this short-twtg runes' .il. po'tt'it'"tlsti1tltt"pi"a''Thorgrirrr Thorgrimr'' This f o'Joqr(im) a blessing on one has b..'h* .'nthecathedralatKillaloe'co'Clare'lthastwoinscrtpttons'one inrunesandtheNorselanguage.. apparently with hammer surrounded by foliage.Thcreisone important. fror.of tini-pti"t'' 't'u"aint the {ragment that survives' At Pennington' runic texts. .r "na'n ason of the Cumbria' The most splendid' is a font at Bridekirk' perhaps Norse-English' iin"tty' and to on all four sides.-.Thetext that is bastard Norse' church in a language seems to record the urriJ. on the ribbon is an inscnptrnn .'N cut (these) tunt'" *i'f' tht n'-t incomplete' up from pieces of bone' and cut This is made import.". is a comb-case found at Lincoln' i.' o*nt' formula' The text is undivided words.":. weathered' i' har. part of a sword-fitting. .otlitoononeofthestonesofCarlislecathedral(whichcannot thereforebeearlierthanthelateeleventhcentury).low it sits The runes' carving away. on the "gnin nn n copper-ailoy strip..ia."r). and dated by art historians bowl is a square bl". B.. t-. rrri.n . tt''t nJut"i'ing slogan' kamb:kopan:kiari:porfastr' 'A good comb along one of them Thorfastr made."use be recovered' but an the text cannot in the town.."i"*i""a.iJ."nish levels at .". into separate from a grave-mound:.'poorlypreserved.'CasualgraffitiatDearham'Cumbria'andSettle'N'Yorkshire'areonlyusefulas had both Roman and at Skelton-in-Cleveland giving"t.t'''t cted beanddc(i)' (o') " mixtureofCelticandNorse. to establish textual details' the monumen....r.neat. lines of and white' The edge of the stone l1t '*o blue with details picked out in brown andT6Illi-1-1is stone laid'' Danish runes: k(i)na:let:lekia:stlin:pensi:auk:tuki:"Ginna slab saving whose grave rt was' Winchester' Presumably there was u''ttt n -""fting ja rune-stone' of which only a small capital of late Anglo-Sa"..s text type N rislr St"..' butcher.t...ereknownuntilrecentyears.o...... .n. From the few letters that remain interestingaspectisthattherunesretaintracesoftheredcolouringthatoncedis- of England are casual graffiti' run$ in the south tinguished them.J n'. i.ud. Both are Ottttt"tJ<l"ft in part and one has the common Also Danish' and perhaps an rinar.oidir]g the artist's name' give a rhymirlg couplet in late Old or earlv mixed with a few bookhand characters' Middle English: +Ricarlt he me iwrocte Richard he maJe me' and " ' brought me to this splendour' and to pis me'd'-1-?1-me b'octe Inlrelandonlythreeorfourrunictextsn. A second ir"rscription is from Norwegian we will *. but only o Jt* tttnt' remain on Cunrbria.iito"'upiiiStuin' stone. They come from the eleventh-century cut on animal bur-.Thetext.k ..andtheborrowingofthewordftrossfromCelticinto Manx..*oiu-.u"d thetwelfthcentury. excavated Greenmounr.rn.o yieLde church it was built into the tower of a mediaeval fragment is preserved "ri'. : Tomnal selshofop a soerp peta" Dufnall sealshead owns this sword'' . ""Ji' Clearenoughi.n".. h"i al.

The n. naming Richarcl who made the font" .rixed runic and bookhand legend on the font at Bridekirk.A slab. The bone comb-case. London. with Thorfastr's runic advertisement of his skill. found at Lincoln. Curnbria. from St Paul's churchvard. elaboratelv carved u'rth :r dragorr design and u'ith runes.

ldkr. but there is evidence to show that the script persisted in use into the twelfth. which begins hurn:hiartaR before tailing off to a broken edge. and rr.'These are the only two crosses with his signature.r1. which it undoubtedlv is' though whv it was worth saying I do not know. in the south-west of that country. 'Hart's horn'. tells a little more about this man: kautr:kar(p)i: sunr:biarnar fra:kuli. made (this). the tenth and eleventh centuries. time ar Andreas. 'Gautr. the Norwegian runologist.rt.' I take this to mean rhar Gautr claimed to be the first maker of inscribed runic crosses in the island (though there was a long tradition of raising cross-stones in the pre-Viking era)' Another .1hi. 'on is married to At".if you believe what you read in adver- tisements . Arni (Maughold) and Thuridr (Onchan). to preserve the wood: Aslak Liestol. Geir. These inscriptions remain largely unpublished and indeed uninter- p. Two other rune-cutters are known by name. *ood bone. though art Listorians have attributed others to him on stylistic grounds.Liestol read a graffito on a rib-bone onaasu.vhich suggests a special cultural connection between the two areas. several bits of bone. Yet there are occasional cases of Danish runes on the island. that often fail to survive.j."r.rorr.d it be divided ()n d Asu. The paddle has a text which is hard now to make out because of the effect of the i.. earlier read it kirlak. a "ndknife-handle. Surprisingly these yielded half a dozen inscriptions on the sort of fugitive materials. perhaps rhe personal name. ribs and scapulae perhaps of sheep or goats. and even a mixed inscription' so there was probably a variety of dif{erent Viking incomer groups. after a commemoration formula. This means 'hart's horn'. an inscribed antler from Viking Dublin In the 1970s excavators worked on sever2ll viking Age sites near the centre of Dublin. We have no other records of the Viking settlement of Man. The earliest of these runic crosses should be . the maker's name: at Kirk Michael which has. Manx runes show formal links to those of the Norwegian province of kirpi: pana:auk ala:imaun" 'Gautr made it and all in Man. Braddan. and the design of the stone incorporates a cross. for instance. so the rune-stones give valuable information.""r*. decorated and a piece of antler. a plane. Kirk Michael and Maughold. The Manx Vikings were probably converted to Christianity before their mainland contemporaries.'The most convinc- ing rext of this group is that on the antler. The Killaloe and Greenmount texts show the mixing of Norse and Celtic peoples' Even more striking is that shown on the thirty or so runic crosses from the Isle of Man. r. Most of these are from the central Viking Age. They cluster near churches: ar Andreas. . There *'as a wooden paddle. son of Bigrn of Kollr.

The relationship of the deceased to the raiser is often . All we herve is the additional comment showing why the man needed commemor- ation: 'and Hrossketill betraYed under trust a man sworn to him bY oath.that the cross was raised by a foster-son for his foster-mother. Sometimes there is additional. . At Kirk Michael is a spiendid cross-slab with two inscriptions on the back. but that of the villain who deceived him lives on' Gautr's cross at Kirk Michael. son. father. comment. it is ironic that the dead man's name should be lost. 'N put up this cross in memory of M. The Manx crosses have a common memorial forrnula.' At Brad- dan is a cross fragment. N reisti kross penna eft(ir) M. Isle of Man.wife.' To this might be added further details of raiser or commemorated. the main in- scription of which is lost. For instance.' In view of the Vikings' urgent desire for a good report after death. foster- given mother. The first is commemorative. and seems to s:lY - though the grammar is weak . moral. The second is a proverb: 'It is better to leave a good foster-son than a bad son. the man Sandrllfr who put uP a cross at Andreas had the nickname hinn sudrti.'the black'.

Isle of Man. which tells oi the treacheroLls Hrossketill who betraYed his fellou'' The Hunterston brooch with. I . to the left of the Prn. I hc s\ mb' 'ls to the right of the Pin Pretend to be runes.The fragmentary cross a( Braddan. the runic o*'ner's inscriPtiorl. but are tn tact meaningless.

'stone'. 'Hermundr hard-axe cut runes'.'A fragmentary inscrip- tion on a stone cross laid upon a grave at Thurso says . which is to say Crusaders. the most interesting runic texts from these islands are in the prehistoric stone-built grave-charnber Maeshowe. 59 An important thing about many of these crosses is their suggestion of a multi-racial society.'Melbrigda owns (this) brooch. for the word for the monument here is the Celtic loan-word Aross. On Iona was found a slab with an engraved interlace cross pattern and the text: kali'auluis'sunr'lapi'stan'pinsi'ubir'fukl' brupur. Bute.' Tl. and it is unfortunate that rnost texts are fragmentary so that detailed translation is difficult. The treasure was taken away three days before they broke into the mound. Moreover the Norse is not very good Norse either. However. At Hunterston. Ofeigr (Norse) was the son of ?Krinan (Celtic) (Braddan). yet there are several examples on the Manx stones of families with members with both Norse and Celtic names. and so on. not the usual Norwegian word which would be steinn. . The n'round. In one or two cases all the names in the inscription arc Celtic. and this is surely significant. 'lt's true what I say. the treasure was moved out of here. but naming a Celt as owner: malbripaastilk. Personal names are not a safe guide to race. A6isl (Norse) married the daughter of Dufgal (Celtic) (Kirk Michael). '. So. has a memorial forrnula including that Celtic word ftross. 'lngigerdr is the loveliest of women. but it is Norse with a slight difference.' More consistently Norse are a couple of irrscriptions on Scottish grave-slabs. Since Norse was the oflicial language for public notices. . There are the signatures:'V6mundr cut (these runes)'.' The Orkneys and Shetlands have stone fragments with runes on them. hlt the incidence of then-r on the Manx stones is very high.(sin). a common motif of Old Norse literature. There were probably similar racial mixtures in Scotland too. with a text in Swedo-Norwegian runes and in Old Norse. though they vary slightly the wording recorded hitherto. for exrmple. the Vikings were presumably politicallv dominant. . There are references to girl-friends: 'lngi- bjorg the lovely widow'.' And there is a boasting assertion in a variety of rune forms. Several cut graffiti on the walls - there are some thirty texrs rhere. They are posr-Viking.' . Strathclvde. but the language of the text is Norse. as does another fragment from Kilbar. At any rate the broken cross from Inchmarnock. the remnant of what was clearly a goodly number of memorials. who intermarried. perhaps because its users were bilingual. Barra. 'The man who wrote these runes knows more about runes than anyone else west of the sea. for it is full of grammatical irregularities and solecisms. though the runes here are fewer and more scattered.' And a longing one on the same theme: 'Hoppy the man who can find the great treasure. was found a fine Celtic-type brooch. though ambiguous. Occasional errors of grammar are not unknown in Norway. A group of inscriptions tell a tale of treasure hidden in the burial chamber. was broken into by 'Jerusalern- men'. . Thorleifr hnakki (Norse) had a son Fiac (Celtic) whose uncle was Hafr (Norse) (Braddan). an inscnption I would like to have cut myself. this overlay in memory of Ing6lfr his father.'These runes []framr Sigurflarsonr cut'. says one. with Norseman marrying Celt. and they are not dissimilar to modern graffiti. and suggests a community speech that has lost its formal precision. for it seems that the howe was broken into and used as a shelter or meeting-place for Norsemen in the twelfth century.rere is one that looks indelicate. 'Kali plvissonr laid this stone over his brother Fugl. The implication is that in the tenth century Man had a mixed society of Celts and Scandinavians. ubirlakpita:aft:ikulb:fopursin.

or as fakes intended for joke or for deception. from Maine to the Mississippi and to Minnesota. or are the inscription. and the stones were dug up again .nl period.o. an amateur anriquary (without archaeological expertise) found them on the banks of the Morse River. This appendix catalogues finds from distrnct sites. and there have been more discoveries since her list came out. If you look for something single-mindedly enough. or at any rate something that looks like it.. even those clearly meant as runic. sought to find runic inscriptions on ih. learning of this find made on state land. Eventually. considering the known course of development of the script. and together they sought expert opinion on the inscrip- tions with indifferent success. or at least something that has been made to look like it. This is what happened with American runes' ln. could not have existed simultaneously' The lan- guage of the text. The discoverer reported them to the local museum curator. yer others have been rejected as frankly modern inscriptions. others again. Sometimes even the object is lost. rhere are still numbers of Americans who wish to demonstrate that one or other of these inscriptions is both runic and genuine' The difficulty is that such inscriptions. it had long been known. Meanwhile. calling it Vin- land.i th. is often not like that of eny known i. particularly those with Scandinavian . you are likely to find it. look anomal- occasional ous when compared with genuine material in Scandinavia itself. They have inconsistent with the date attached to letter forms that are unexampled elsewhere. Maine. on documenrary evidence. demanded the stones' which incensed the finder so much that he reburied them. The thing theahave in common is that not a single one has yet been accepted as genuinely runic by"the professional runologists of Scandinavia. Atlantic some Vikings reached the North American mainland..6A 7 Runes in North Amerrca Several years ago archaeologists identified a Norse settlement. near Popham Beach. or rhey show selections of rune types which.lg6I rhe German scholar Hertha Marquardt published an important bibliography of the runic inscriptions of the British Isles. to it she added an appendix of the reported some forty runic inscriptions of North America. According to report. though resembling runes in their general form. Find-reports may be con{used or disputed. dating {rom c' 1000AD' at a site at L'Anse-aux-Meadows in the north of Newfoundland.since vikings used runes. a compromise was reached. say Indian. Some have been seen to be natural marks or weathering furrows on rocks.lrtlri. Phippsburg. they might be expected to take their script with them across the ocean. and hailed it as the first unambiguous archaeological evidence for Norsemen in the New World. in I971.ti. others plough or harrow marks on buried stones. so it is not surprising that over many years enthusiastic Amertcans. l'or all the scepticism of the Old World. and is known only from early and inexpert report' The Spirit Pond rune-stones are a case in point. They range from New England to the Midwest. though containing Norse are likely to have some orher ethnic origin.4rhat in their voyages of exploration west ou. the state authorities. However.

or]d some contumely. W.v imposing. have 10 men by rhe sea Year 1362. .ts on.' that It is a strrnng story.. with the runic place-names Hrip and.uil. Minnesota. it is uasily important. 14 days' journey from this island. particularly so one with a map cut on it. Nlaine' Left The famous. It tells. in general' of their American colleagues .r January 1899. uith.-r"f on. olof ohn-ran. n^ kiro*n to us fr. But no subsequent thesupposedfind-siteuncoveredevidenceo{Vikings'Thethreecarvedstonesarecer- tainl. AVM save us from to look after our ships..rune-stone is that discovered near Kensington. ". The find-report tells how a Swedish-Arnerican farmer. and The classic Amerrcan now at the county seat.m the later Icelandic sagir of Eric the Red. wtth the sort of detail about Norsemen in rnidwest America is not recorded anywhere else.tion: journey from Vinland rvestward.rejecting it with the scandinavian runologist.-. only the unimaginative runologist will fail to be impressed' But I have already declared myself an unimaginative runologist' Below Tlrc rune-rnscribed rnap on a stone from Spirit Pond. in Professor Wahlgren's transl. day's journey north of this stone. rune-stone from Kensington. was grubbing up trees on his lancl when he spotted the inscribed stone clasped in the roots . and since then fierce strife has raged over the authenticitv of this monument with. Alexandria. vhtliri. and the local patriots defending stoutly' '8 If it is genuine. . We had Swedes ZZNorwegians on an exploration ^ia our camp by 2 rocky isl. Minnesota' . investigation ot and har.-. when we came home we found 10 men red with blood and dead. or notorlous.rded ro the stare museum under conditions.'we were out fishirrg one day. The find was published ir.

ptny-andtherearealsosomeintheNationalMuseum often have the local *ntt-tlll'^"t at Lindis- of Antiquities of S. under churchyard.themostavailablecollectionisintheBritish Museum-manyareonpot. B. t<irk laichaer and.numents farne and greet runic This."J.Whithorn. Some runic m. (Otd churctl). Maughoid' This cross-shaft. churches. The Manx stones are ill are in their locai stones of Great urswicr. '{'xHrT I . unJ rnor.]t there are g::tp' of them collected together in the scattered through the * obviously the case with the remain at or near their original sites. 8 Where to look for Runes"t'J' i*"ttt' -"'"ums . though cover in the churches of Andreas.hls the St Cuthbert relics. but it also applies io less. welLknown pieces . bearing the name Eadmund in I mirture ol rune< enJ Romlrr letters. Our'".the crosses at Bewcastle and Rithwell.". ls \llll Jt Chester-le-Street.ti. It was found in the walls of the church there during the restoratiol.ts of 1883' -t'* .