from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Runes on the baptismal font of Burseryd

As a rune is called the old character of the Germans . The collective term includes characters from different alphabets that are used differently in terms of time and region.

Runes can be written on the one hand as a sign for one sound ( alphabet font ), on the other hand as signs stand for the respective terms whose names they carry. They can also represent numbers or be used as magic symbols. The development of the character forms was not aimed at a fluid usage font. Apart from a short period in high medieval Scandinavia, the runic script was not used for everyday communication.


From the 2nd to the 14th century AD, runes were mainly used for scratched and engraved inscriptions on objects and on stone monuments .

Their distribution shows a clear focus of the find in Denmark and southern Scandinavia . This is due in part to the local rune stone traditions. Runes were also in limited use along the Rhine, among the Alemanni, in Bavaria, Brandenburg, Thuringia and in Pomerania, Silesia and Bohemia, although the finds in the north and east were roughly prior to the Great Migration (200-500 AD). which can be classified in the south and west at the end of the Great Migration (500–700 AD).

The older Futhark dominates the continent, while Vikings left younger versions of the Futhark from the 4th century onwards. In the other temporary settlement areas, e.g. For example, in the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania (e.g. Lecani, Pietroassa and Szabadbattyán) as well as in Switzerland, Belgium, northern Italy and France, only a thin litter from the time of the Great Migration can be found. Only in regions that had been conquered by Vikings and Norsemen were runes used for a longer time, but these also disappeared with the Christianization of the Norsemen. In the 7th century runes were still in use on the Dutch coast, in Russia until the 9th century and on the British Isles even until the 10th century, although these are younger variations.

The Christianization of the Teutons, Northmen and Varangians finally introduced the Latin letters and in Russia the Cyrillic letters. Runic script was only used in the Nordic countries until the 15th century. The runic inscriptions in the Dalarna landscape in central Sweden, which go back to the 19th century, come from a learned tradition and do not testify to a lively use as a writing system.

The vast majority of the 6,500 runic inscriptions known to date come from Scandinavia during the Viking Age . The oldest inscriptions date from the 2nd century and come from bog finds in Schleswig-Holstein , Jutland and Funen in Denmark and southern Sweden, as well as from East Germany, e.g. B. Brandenburg ( Dahmsdorf ) and Poland (Kowel, Rozwadów). In Germany and Poland, with the upswing of the Kingdom of Prussia in the 18th century, much was drained and removed in favor of agriculture, so that rune finds are rather rare and are mainly limited to a few mobile objects.

The oldest runic inscription is currently the name harja on the crest of Vimose , which is dated to the period 150–200 AD. The Meldorf fibula is a bronze roller cap fibula (vestment clasp) found in Schleswig-Holstein , which is dated to the 1st century AD. It is therefore older than the crest of Vimose, but the four-letter inscription does not consist of runes; its reading is therefore controversial, but it could be a preliminary stage of the runes. The name raunijaR (the stem raun - = "try", "try out") is a little more recent and is engraved on an iron spearhead . The point was found in a grave from around AD 200 in Øvre Stabu ( Oppland ) Norway .

The use of writing was not rooted in the Germanic cultures before the birth of Christ. However, there were regular trade contacts with the literate Greeks from an early stage. Perhaps there were ideas that spoke against adopting this innovation. A written culture therefore developed very late and only in the beginning. It barely went beyond a small elite of scribes and was given magical meaning. The runic writing therefore never developed into a full-fledged book and document writing and never covered areas of everyday communication and collective memory , as was the case with the writing systems of the Romans, Greeks or Persians. Literature, liturgy, history and law were first passed on orally and later in Latin script. Runes were mainly used for inscriptions commemorating the deceased or special events, for consecration or for giving away objects, as owner information and as coin inscriptions. It was not until high medieval Scandinavia, in competition with the Latin script, that a kind of usage script developed in runes.

Designation origin

In the 17th century, the New High German word rune was borrowed from Danish philological literature, initially as a scholarly term for the Germanic singer ( runes and skalds , Schottel), then for the Germanic characters (18th century), alongside run letters . The Danish word rune had previously been revived from Old Danish .

The meaning of the word in the sense of "characters" goes back to Old Norse rún , plur. Rúnir, rúnar "magic, written characters". The Old Norse word corresponds to Old English rūn "secret, secret advice, runic sign", Gothic rūna "secret, advice" and Old High German rūna "secret advice, secret, whisper". The old high German meaning has been preserved in the verb raunen . Up until the 19th century, the Swiss noun Raun was also used for a “secret vote, casting a vote in the ear of a sworn magistrate”. All of the word forms mentioned are based on ancient Germanic * rūnō with the basic meaning "secret".

The designation of the Germanic characters with the ancient Germanic word * rūnō - can already be found in the runic inscription on the stone of Einang (approx. 350–400) as an accus. runo . Outside of the runic inscriptions, the word can be found in a poem (around 565) by Venantius Fortunatus ( Carmina VII, 18), who may have come into contact with runes in the Franconian Merovingian Empire : Barbara fraxineis pingatur rhuna tabellis / quodque papyrus agit virgula plana valet (" The rune of the barbarians may be drawn on ash-colored tablets; what the papyrus can do, the smoothed branch does ”). According to one theory, the word letter is derived from the beech sticks on which the runes were scratched. According to another theory, the name goes back to the strong vertical line, the so-called stick, which is common to many runes. For a more detailed description of the assumed etymology cf. the corresponding entry in the article letter .

In Finno-Ugric Studies and in some translations, rune is also the name for the individual chants of the Kalevala and other works of Karelian and Finnish folk poetry.


The runes were probably neither developed independently, nor were they adopted by the Germanic peoples as a finished writing system, but were largely developed independently based on the models of southern European scripts. However, they appear very early as a complete alphabet with 24 letters. Above all the Latin script, but also the numerous scripts of the Celtic-Alpine-Italic area that have been displaced and disappeared by Latin come into consideration as models. Runes belong to the large Phoenician - Aramaic family of alphabets, to which all modern European scripts are also counted - both in their principle of a letter writing and in the form of many phonetic signs .

The origin of runic writing can hardly be elucidated in terms of time and space, because the oldest evidence already presents an established set of characters. The oldest known finds of runes to date are on the Jutland peninsula . But also in Schleswig-Holstein about the same old finds appear. Also in Sweden. They can all be classified in the second half of the 2nd century. These are items from bog sacrifice sites in Jutland such as Vimose , Illerup Ådal , Nydam and Thorsberg . The preliminary stages of this writing, which could be used to trace its origin, could not be identified beyond doubt. The external characteristic of the runes in older Futhark is the avoidance of horizontal and curved lines, which used to lead to the assumption that it was a letter transformation that should be suitable for scratching, especially in wooden material. It was consequently assumed that preliminary stages of the runes are only not preserved because their presumed support wood has not preserved as well as metal. Nevertheless, it should also be assumed that these testimonies were destroyed in the course of Christianization. More recent finds (e.g. bog finds from Illerup Ådal, Denmark) also show rounded shapes (e.g. the Odal rune) on metal weapon parts.

Four theses on the origin of runic writing are presented:

Italo-Etruscan thesis

The runes are said to be modeled on a North Etruscan alphabet or taken from the numerous different alphabets of northern Italy and the Alpine region ( 4th to 1st century BC ). All of these alphabets, like the Latin script, are themselves descendants of the western Greek alphabet (Greek cultural influence through traders and colonies in Italy from the 7th century BC ).

The Negau helmet in particular was used to support this thesis. The helmet with a possibly early Germanic name inscription ( harigasti ... ) in a northern Italian alphabet is supposed to prove the origin of some runic characters from the northern Italian variants of the Greek script. However, the Germanicity and the dating of the inscription remain controversial, especially since the helmet from the 5th century BC. Chr. Originates and the inscription itself until later (probably in the 3rd / 2nd century BC. Chr. Was installed). According to some researchers, the inscription has nothing to do with runes.

The strongest argument for the Italic-Etruscan thesis are the letter forms, the writing style and the method of separating words with dots. In no other script are there so many similarities with individual runic characters. From the cultural-historical point of view, however, this thesis is difficult to substantiate, because it implies that the runic script was used in the northern Italian, western Alpine or Noric regions in the 1st century BC. BC or in the 1st century AD and then would have spread to the north of Germania by around 200 AD, where it clearly appears in the light of history. The ancient scientist Jürgen Zeidler tried to prove precisely that missing link (between 100 BC and 100 AD) in the area of ​​the Celtic La Tène culture .

This thesis is also supported by the fact that in runes, as well as in Etruscan and Alpine scripts, homorgane nasal sounds are often not written before plosives . In addition, the puzzling formula word alu can be identified with Etruscan alu , the verbal noun present active or passive to al (i) - "give", "consecrate"; alu can therefore be translated as “who gives / consecrates”, “giver / consecrator” or “given / being consecrated”, “(consecration) giving”, which seems appropriate.

Latin thesis

The Latin script is a sister script of the Italic alphabets and therefore has some matching letter forms. In contrast to the regional scripts, with the great power of Rome it prevailed nationwide and was distributed as an administrative script to all corners of the Roman Empire. Even in the remote southern Scandinavian region, which never belonged to the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes would have got to know the Latin Capitalis monumentalis of the imperial era through contact with Roman culture (via traders, hostages, mercenaries, visitors, etc.) and, inspired by this, developed their own script can. This thesis is supported by individual correspondences of character forms, which can, however, also be traced back to the common Phoenician origin of the writing systems. Many runologists today start from the Latin thesis.

However, the mentioned similarities are opposed by significant differences that suggest a Greek or at least an older Italian alphabet as the origin.

Greek thesis

Several attempts to ascribe the origin of the runes to the Goths in the Black Sea region (today's Ukraine ) are only relevant in terms of the history of science . The prototype should either be in the 2nd / 3rd Century AD an Eastern Greek lowercase script or an archaic Greek alphabet of the 6th century BC Have been. These theses have largely been abandoned because, according to archaeological dating, the oldest Scandinavian rune monuments were created before the Goths came into contact with the Roman Empire. This conception is also ruled out for linguistic (linguistic) historical reasons: the oldest rune series clearly reflects North Germanic or still Common Germanic and no East Germanic phonetic relationships that have already been differentiated .

However, this argument cannot rule out contact between the Germanic peoples and the Greek alphabets (for example through trade).

Punic thesis

It is difficult for the three textbook theses mentioned to explain the acrophonic principle of the runes, i.e. the method of naming the letters of a script after a word that begins with the letter in question. The acrophony had already been abolished when the Greek was adopted from the Phoenician script. Here only the letter names (Alpha, Beta, Gamma ... from Aleph, Beth, Gimel ...) were adopted, which then also disappeared when passed on to Latin and Etruscan. It is noticeable that the first letter of the Phoenician alphabet PhoenicianA-01.svg"aleph" is cattle and in the runes the first letter ᚠ is "fehu", which u. a. Cattle, means cattle . Further correspondences are the non-writing of the vowel quantity (short versus long vowels), the non-writing of consonant geminates and the omission of nasals (m and n) before homorgan consonants (Kamba = Kaba - Frienstedt comb ), everything Features of both the runes and the Punic script, but not the Greek or Latin.

With the adoption and adaptation of the Phoenician script by the Greeks, the graphemic consonant gemination (e.g. ἔννεπε, πολλ neu) was newly developed. This concept was later adopted into the Latin script by the Romans. The Urgermanic also had a meaning-relevant consonant length (opposition Simplex - Geminate). If one follows the Latin or Greek thesis, it remains unexplained why this tried and tested procedure was removed again when it was presumed to be passed on to the runes.

Theo Vennemann therefore suggested in 2006 in Germanic Runes and Phoenician Alphabet that the runes should be viewed as derived directly from the Phoenician alphabet in its westernmost form - the Punic alphabet. The colonization efforts of the Carthaginians on the west coast of Europe would have provided the communication framework, manifested above all by the journey of Himilkon , who lived around 500 BC. Explored the west coast of Europe with the aim of founding new colonies.

Rune rows

The term "rune series" stands for the orderly sequence of rune symbols that has been handed down several times. It differs significantly from the order of the alphabets we are familiar with. In the course of time, different sounds for the rune signs have developed due to the change in language. The number and order of the runes also change over time.

The Elder Futhark: The oldest rune series

The elder Futhark

The oldest surviving runic series ( called fuþark after the first six letters ) consisted of 24 characters, which were divided into three sections (later called ættir in Old Norse ). At first it was only used by North Germanic tribes, during the migration period it was also used occasionally by East Germans (especially Goths, from the 3rd century?) And West Germans (from the 5th century). A good 350 inscriptions in this oldest rune series have been discovered so far. All younger rune series from around 700 are derived from the older Futhark.

Each grapheme (letter) corresponds to a phoneme (sound). For the older Futhark there is a remarkably good correspondence between the character inventory and the phoneme inventory of the common Germanic or runic Nordic language (s) written with it from approx. 550 to 650 . Only the doubling of the i- rune ( ice and yew ) must be a relic of an earlier language level and is probably proof that the 24-letter Futhark was created some time before the first traditional inscriptions. ( * Special characters illegible? )

rune Name (reconstructed) Sound value rune Name (reconstructed) Sound value rune Name (reconstructed) Sound value
fehu "cattle" f / haglaz "hail" H teiwaz, tīwazHimmels- u. God of war Tyr " t
ūruz 'Ur, aurochs ' u naudiz "need" n berkanan, berk (a) nō "birch branch", berkō "birch" b
þurisaz "giant" þ (th / theta ) īsan "ice" i ehwaz "horse" e
ansuz ' Ase ' a jēran "(good) year" j man - "human" m
raidō "ride, carriage" r īwaz " yew " e ~ i (ei?) laguz "water, lake" or laukaz "leek" l
kaunan (?) "ulcer" k perþō? perþrō? pezdō? p (extremely rare sound) ingwaz "Gott Ing ", also "fire" ng
gibō "gift" G algiz (?), elhaz ' elk ' -z, -R (ending consonant) dagaz "day" d
wunjō "bliss" (?) w / sōwulō "sun" s ōþalan " ancestral property, property" O

Note on the table: Names are reconstructed in common Germanic, nowhere used. Vowels with bars indicate long vowels, all other vowels are short.

A characteristic of the Germanic rune script is that each rune has a name, usually a meaningful word that begins with the respective sound; so the f- rune was called fehu , which means “cattle; Cattle piece, movables ; Wealth". These rune names have not been passed down for the oldest Futhark. They can be made accessible because the names are largely identical in all of the younger runic series of the Germanic tribes; Wulfila , the creator of the Gothic script in the 4th century, may even have applied it to Gothic script , which was not runic script. In the 9th and 10th centuries, when runes were no longer in use outside of Scandinavia, monastic scholars, both in England and on the continent, repeatedly recorded the various series of runes by name or in the form of rune memorial verses. The run names of the oldest Futhark are reconstructed from these sources; however, not all forms are undisputed.

By the 7th century, the sound systems in the individual Germanic languages ​​had changed significantly. Previously differentiated sounds coincided, new vowels were formed. This inevitably meant that the older Futhark's sound-letter assignment was no longer correct. The individual languages ​​and dialects each developed their own series of runes, the so-called younger Futhark.

Anglo-Saxon runes (also fuþork ) on the Sax of Beagnoth found in the Thames .
At the end there is the name of the rune master Beagnoþ.

The Futhork: The Anglo-Saxon runic series

Anglo-Saxon runic series

The Anglo-Saxons extended the Futhark because of the rich development of vocalism in Old English gradually to 33 characters (including, in addition to standing only displayed actually used). The 33-letter Futhork was developed in this form in the 9th century. In addition to handwritten records, it was also used in Northumbrian inscriptions.

The long juxtaposition of runes and Latin script in the 7th to 10th centuries in England meant that the corresponding runes were still used for sounds of the Anglo-Saxon language , which had no equivalent in the Latin alphabet. In this way, the thorn rune (Þ þ) as the spelling for / th / and the wen or wynn rune (Ƿ ƿ) for the bilabial / w / came into the Latin script.

The Younger Futhark: The Old Norse Runes

Nordic runic series
Dotted runic alphabet

In Scandinavia, too, the Futhark was subject to changes: In the 7th to 8th centuries it was reduced to 16 runes (fu th ork: hnias: tblm R). Individual runes then had to denote numerous different sound values: the u-rune for example u, y, o, ö and w . This loss of characters was compensated for at the end of the 10th century with the introduction of dots; later there were other systems that even introduced a rune for sounds like Q. In the high Middle Ages, starting from Norway, a dotted row of runes was created in alphabetical order, in which every Latin letter had a correspondence. The first dated evidence of the use of the fully dotted runic alphabet can be found on the smaller church bell of Saleby ( Västergötland ), the inscription of which indicates the year 1228.

Perhaps because of the greater appreciation for the old pre-Christian mythology and tradition (cf. the Edda ), the runes remained in use in Scandinavia alongside the Latin script. It was not until the 19th century that they were finally ousted, while this process in the other Germanic areas was partly completed in the 7th and 11th century.

Direction of writing and peculiarities: reversible, lintel, unlinked and rodless runes

Binder rune from e + m (inscription B, chaplet from Thorsberger Moor (KJ 20; DR 7)

Runes have mostly been written clockwise (from left to right) since the Viking Age. In the earliest times, however, the direction of writing was not yet determined. Single-line inscriptions can be written either from left to right (clockwise) or from right to left (counterclockwise). In multi-line inscriptions, all lines can either be clockwise or counterclockwise, or there is a writing direction that alternates from line to line. a. is also known from ancient Greek inscriptions and is called boustrophedon ("how the ox turns when plowing"); in addition, so-called “false” boustrophedons occur. The direction of writing can usually be determined with certainty by the runes pointing in one direction ( f , u , þ , a , r , k , w , s and b ). If individual runes are turned against the direction of writing of the line, they are called turning runes , if they are occasionally upside down, they are called fall runes .

Rodless runes on the runestone of Hogs kyrka

Rodless runes were the culmination of the simplification process in development. It began when the older was replaced by the younger Futhark. To create batonless runes, vertical markings (or staves) have been removed from individual runes. The name "rodless" is not quite correct, since the i-rune consists of a whole and the runes f, þ, k and s of shortened main sticks. Since they were discovered on rune stones in Hälsingland in the 17th century, batonless runes have also been known as Hälsinge runes. But they also occur in Medelpad , Södermanland and the Norwegian city ​​of Bergen . The rune stones from Aspa Sö 137, Skarpåker Sö 154, Österberga (Sö 159) and Spånga Sö 164 have, partly mixed with others, runes without baton.

The ribbon-like form of rune lines is often emphasized by scratching the characters between two uninterrupted parallel “guide lines” (see the stone by Rök , fig. Above). We encounter such marginal lines in the oldest scratches. In many inscriptions, the individual words are separated from each other by word separators consisting of one to five points or small lines placed one above the other. The oldest evidence can be found on the fibula from Skovgårde (Udby), which can be dated around 200: lamo: talgida “Lamo carved”. In the case of single words, there are also end marks of the same form. Later, under Christian influence, small crosses can also be found.

Like the Latin script, the runic script also knows ligatures , i.e. the merging of two letters into one character. These binding runes are marked in the scientific transcription with a bow above the line.

“Antiquarian” runic alphabets from the early Middle Ages

"Marcomannic Runes"

Very early on, after they went out of use, runes were collected by churchmen who knew Latin as encyclopedic curiosities and supposed secret scripts - the runes were placed alongside the Greek, Hebrew and "Chaldean" alphabet , the Tironic notes and the fantasy alphabet of Aethicus . In the 9th century, the Fulda Monastery in particular, with its strong island tradition, it seems, had a research and collection focus on “Runica”.

In some manuscripts of the 8th / 9th centuries Century from Upper German monasteries in a treatise "On the invention of letters" ( De inventione litterarum ) a strange runic alphabet in the order of the Latin letters. It consists of the characters of the older Futhark with prescriptions or Anglo-Saxon influences by adding runes from the Futhorc and is said to go back to Hrabanus Maurus , the abbot of Fulda and Alcuin pupil ("Hraban runes"). Since this series (which used to be misleadingly referred to as "Marcomannic Runes") only appears in some manuscripts but is nowhere inscribed, it is likely only an attempt by the monks to assign runes to all letters in the Latin script.

Beginning of the Abecedarium Nordmannicum

feu forman
ur after
thuris thritten stabu
os is th (em) o oboro ...

Cattle first,
Ur after,
Thurse as the third staff,
Ans is on the right ...

In the same Alcuin manuscript, in which a Gothic alphabet and Gothic text examples are recorded, the so-called Salzburg-Vienna manuscript (Vienna, Ms. 795, late 8th century?), There is also a 28-letter Anglo-Saxon Futhark with run names.

There is also a series of rune poems in which the order, the names and the meaning of the runes were brought into a memorable form: The so-called Abecedarium Nordmannicum and the oldest surviving example (9th century, handwriting Walahfrid Strabos ) in a mixture of Old Saxon, Old High German, Anglo-Saxon and Nordic, the Anglo-Saxon rune poem in 94 stick rhymes (11th century) and specimens from Norway and Iceland (13th and 15th centuries) from the Middle Ages.

From the song Edda, the Rúnatal ("rune speech") in the Sigrdrífomál and the Rúnatals Þáttr Óðins in the Hávamál , also from the Middle Ages, have been handed down poetically and literarily. In these verses, the meanings of the individual runes by name or related to their meaning are placed in a mythical context, especially with regard to the figure of Odin as the creator of the runes. Here there are deviations from the meanings of the individual rune names from the rune poems.

Runes as a conceptual symbol

Stentoften stone

In addition to the normal phonetic spelling principle (rune stands for a sound), the individual rune sign could also be used as a kind of ideographic symbol in the sense of its "name" . The single character o could therefore stand for "inheritance". In this case one speaks of term runes . An example of the use of term runes is the line “Hathuwolf gave j ” on the so-called Stentoften stone (southern Sweden, 7th century). The j- rune can be read here with its conceptual value "a (good) year".

This technique can be found unsystematically in the practice of medieval scribes, especially in Old English and Old Icelandic manuscripts . There certain single runes can be used in the middle of the Latin text like logograms : the M rune can be used for old English. man, mon ("human", "man") or for Altisl. maðr ("human", "man") stand.

Runes as magical symbols

Spear blades from Müncheberg and Kowel (right)

In all archaic cultures, writing was (also) viewed as a medium of magical power and aura. Many of the ancient cultures believed their scriptures to be the invention or gift of a god. Undoubtedly, the runes, especially in the most ancient times, were associated with sacred and religious purposes (grave inscriptions, sacrifices to gods , amulets, etc.). Among the oldest finds are several carvings on lance and spear tips that evoke the function of these weapons with poetic-magical names: raunijaR - "challenger", "prober" ( Øvre Stabu ), tilarids - "target pursuer" ( Kowel ), ranja - "attacker" (Dahmsdorf) or wagnijo - "Renner" ( Illerup ). A magical function of the runes is suggested by the numerous inscriptions that contain the runes (fu th ark ..., often supplemented by the rune master's signature). The names of the rune masters Hjälle, Hjälm, Huarpr, Osbjörn and Tryggve have been handed down in Sweden. This string of characters does not have a communicative value - it has to be regarded as writing magic and / or as an expression of an awareness that writing itself has an intrinsic value. The name of the runes, which means "secret", testifies to this aura.

The origin of the runes is often assumed in connection with oracle customs ; however, such a connection is not certain. An early testimony to the Germanic Losoracle in the 1st century AD is preserved in the 10th chapter of the Germania of Tacitus . Wooden sticks marked with “certain signs” ( notis quibusdam ) were sprinkled on a white cloth. Then three of these chopsticks were picked up and interpreted with luck. This was done three times in succession. It can hardly be determined whether these signs were forerunners of the runes or even runes themselves. Archaeological finds have nowhere unearthed such oracle sticks.

The use of the runes for magical purposes is particularly attested in the north. The term runes meant z. B. cattle, (good) year, gift, ride a corresponding blessing, conversely, need, ulcer should banish a fear or cast a curse. Many early inscriptions consist of a single word such as alu, laukaz, laþu , which are mostly understood as magical formulas (“Heil”, “Flourish”). Here, too, the Nordic world follows ancient models; escape tablets were widespread and popular throughout classical antiquity. In the more recent Scandinavian monuments, magic runes are mentioned for specific purposes, such as siegrunes , beer runes, mountain runes (for obstetrics), sea runes (to protect ships), reed runes (to speak wisely), release runes (in captivity), runes for discussion (blunting ) of swords and the like.

The god of runic knowledge and runic magic is Odin . A song of the gods of the Song Edda ( Hávamál ) tells how Odin sacrificed himself and hung upside down in the world ash Yggdrasil for nine days before he became aware of the power of the runes and was able to free himself. In the further course of the song magical powers of the runes are described and finally 18 spells are mentioned. Another Edda song, Skirnir's journey , illustrates a more profane use of magic runes : to break the resistance of a refusing woman. As a courtier for the god Freyr , Skírnir threatens the giant daughter Gerd with perpetual curse if she does not want to get involved with the god. To this end, at the end of his impressive threatening speech, he scratches a Thursen (i.e. the harmful th-rune) and the three runes: indignity and restlessness and madness , and then Gerd agrees to a rendezvous with Freyr.

In the Egils saga , the effect of the runes in connection with a disease is described:

"Og er þeir Egill sátu og mötuðust, þá sá Egill, að kona sjúk lá í þverpallinum; Egill spurði Þorfinn, hver kona sú væri, er þar var svo þunglega haldin. Þorfinnur segir, að hún hét Helga og var dóttir hans - 'hefir hún haft langan vanmátt', og það var kröm mikil; fékk hún enga nótt svefn og var sem hamstoli væri. 'Hefir nokkurs í verið leitað', segir Egill, 'um mein hennar?' Þorfinnur segir: ‚Ristnar hafa verið rúnar, og er sá einn bóndason héðan skammt í brott, er það gerði, og er síðan miklu verr en áður, eða kanntu, Egill, nokkuð gera að sl?'Íkum Egill segir: 'Vera can, að ekki spillist við, þó að eg komi til.' Og er Egill var mettur, gekk hann þar til, er konan lá, og ræddi við hana; hann bað þá hefja hana úr rúminu og leggja undir hana hrein klæði, og nú var svo gert. Síðan rannsakaði hann rúmið, er hún hafði hvílt í, og þar fann hann tálkn, og voru þar á rúnarnar. Egill las þær, og síðan telgdi hann af rúnarnar og skóf þær í eld niður; hann brenndi tálknið allt og lét bera vind í klæði þau, he hún hafði haft áður. Þá kvað Egill:

Skalat maðr rúnar rísta,
nema ráða vel kunni,
þat verðr mörgum manni,
es of myrkvan staf villisk;
sák á telgðu talkni
tíu launstafi ristna,
þat hefr lauka lindi
lang ofrtrega fengit.

Egill travels rúnar og lagði undir hægindið í hvíluna, þar er hún hvíldi; henni þótti sem hún vaknaði úr svefni og sagði, að hún var þá heil, en þó var hún máttlítil "

“When Egil and his family had sat down and ate, Egil saw that a girl was sick on the transverse bed. Egil asked Thorfinn who the woman was who was lying there so sick. Thorfinn said her name was Helga and that she was his daughter - 'she had been sick for a long time. She suffered from emaciation. She never slept one night and was like mad. ' 'Have you used any remedies for the disease?' asked Egil. Thorfinn said: 'Runes have been carved, and it is a peasant's son in the neighborhood who did it. But things have been much worse since then than before. Can you, Egil, do something against such evil? ' Egil said: 'It is possible that it won't get worse if I do it.' When Egil had eaten, he went to where the girl was lying and spoke to her. He asked that she be lifted from the place and put clean stuff under her. This happened. He then searched the place where she had been and found a whalebone with runes scratched on it. Egil read it. Then he scraped off the runes and threw them into the fire. He burned the whole whalebone and let the stuff the girl had carried in the wind. Then Egil said:

No one
carve runes, don't advise how it is!
Some sense, I mean,
tangled man's staff was wrong.
Ten of the
magic runes were bad for the gills: recklessness,
unfortunately, made
Lang the girl's disease.

Egil carved runes and placed them under the cushion of the bed on which the girl was resting. She thought she was waking up from sleep, and she said she was healthy, if still weak. (Gill is the whale bone on which the runes were scratched. The farmer's son in love had scratched the wrong runes.) "

- Egils saga chap. 73. In the translation by Felix Niedner, chap. 72.


Runic box by Auzon (late 7th century) with old English stick rhymes in runes, front panel: scene from the Wieland saga

The runes were only used to a limited extent by the Germans of the continent for coherent writing. There are no rune stones in Central Europe. The only rune carvings preserved there are found on jewelry, weapons and (less often) on everyday objects. The use of runes for this purpose was not common in England either: the largest monument, the inscription on Ruthwell's cross , dates back to Christian times. The rune carving on the whalebone box by Auzon (also: Franks Casket ) reproduces Old English staff rhymes, the earliest ever passed down. This piece, created in northern England around 650, is one of the most impressive handicraft creations of the Germanic era.

In the early days, however, profane use was common, as it were, as a trademark on objects. Formulas like "(Name) made ..." are not uncommon. Both the (art) craftsman and the rune scorer can use this to describe his work. A special find of this kind is a wooden plate from the boat grave of the Wurt Fallward (Cuxhaven). The wood, which presumably served as the upper part of a stool, could be dendrochronologically dated to the year 431. The owner, who was possibly in Roman service, had the inscription ksamella lguskathi ( scamella , Latin for stool) attached to the edge . Combs were often labeled as combs and planes as planes , which perhaps testifies to a playful approach to written culture.

The runes in Central Europe

In Central Europe, the first runes appear from the 3rd century (lance tip from Dahmsdorf east of Berlin, ridge from Erfurt-Frienstedt). From the middle of the 6th century onwards, they are found to be heavily accumulated regionally and temporally, with Christianization in the 7th century they disappear again. Especially among the Alemanni and on the Middle Rhine (today southwest Germany) and southern Bavaria there are relatively many rune carvings. It is characteristic that runes only occur where Germanic speaking people lived (in the west to Charnay , Burgundy, see Burgundy ). The Central European inscriptions, as far as they are clearly and legible, are always in Germanic, more precisely in West Germanic or one of its variants, such as an early form of Frisian.

So far, about 80 inscriptions are known, almost exclusively from objects from graves. Mostly it is about jewelry for women ( fibulae ) or, far less often, belt and weapon parts for men. There are also very seldom organic objects made of wood and bone . Since almost all rune finds come from graves and metal objects are much better preserved there than z. B. wood, one must not conclude from this that runes were preferentially carved into metal objects. The clear majority of women's graves with rune objects can be attributed to the fact that scratches have been preserved particularly well on precious and non-ferrous metal jewelry than is the case with the much more heavily corroded iron weapons and belt parts of men.

The runes were only used for a short time in Central Europe, as runes were no longer found by the middle of the 7th century at the latest. Runic carvings are particularly numerous between 550 and 600 AD.


The inscriptions are short, often just a word, sometimes just a single rune. The longest inscriptions ( Neudingen , Pforzen ) are just one or two sentences long. Often the inscriptions are not clearly recognizable or legible. In addition to the single runes, there are "misspelled" runes and pseudo runes.

Even if the inscription is easy to recognize and longer, there is often hardly any scientific unanimous opinion on a translation of the content. More clearly is z. B. the wooden stick (part of a loom ) from Neudingen (Baden-Württemberg): "lbi (added to leub / liubi): imuba: hamale: blithguth uraitruna" (love of the Imuba: (from) Hamale: Blithgund scratched / wrote the runes ) or the primer from Bad Krozingen (Baden-Württemberg) "Boba leub Agirike" ("Boba is dear to Agerich" or "Boba wishes love to Agerich").

Runes as a secret script in medieval glosses from the 7th to 11th centuries

Numerous examples of cloister manuscripts are known from the Middle Ages. These contain annotations that are designed as stylus glosses. These secret runes mostly use a Futhark based on Anglo-Saxon. Examples are e.g. B. in the Abbey Library of St. Gallen , z. B. Cod. 11, p. 144 (secret glosses in runic script). The source collection by Andreas Nievergelt (2009): Old High German in Runenschrift. Cryptographic vernacular pen glosses. In: Supplement ZfdA 11. Stuttgart: Hirzel.

Magical runes in Central Europe

In contrast to the Scandinavian finds, fewer inscriptions in the Central European region can be interpreted as clearly magical or as magic formulas. These are mostly rather mundane private notes, affirmations of love or donations. Quite a few of the incisions bear the signature of a woman.

The formula words “alu” ( ale / beer = health / protection?) And “ota” (terror / defense?), Which are also known from the north, can be found on the bracteates of Hüfingen (Baden-Württemberg) . Possibly these are magical formulas that are supposed to ward off disaster and wish for prosperity.

On the fibula from Beuchte (Lower Saxony, 6th century) there are two inscriptions (1. Buirso , probably the name of the rune master, 2. the Futhark series from f to r , expanded to include z and j ), with one in contrast shows no signs of wear on the primer and may have been scratched after the wearer's death (the Futhark series, i.e. the first eight characters, as an “alphabet” magic, which is a kind of magic “formula”?). This could indicate that the inscription was intended to ward off a " revenant ".

The inscription “muniwiwoll” (first part not meaningfully legible) was scratched on the silver scabbard from the men's grave 186 in Eichstetten (Baden-Württemberg). This is read as “mun (t) wi woll” and translated as “protection as well as well” (Munt / mouth means protection and is still in the word “ward” (protégé)) or simply “good protection / protection as excellent”. Apparently the owner hoped the runes would provide protection in battle.

The numerous "Futhark" incisions on jewelry and weapons are usually interpreted as a happiness fetish.


On the fibula of Nordendorf (near Augsburg, end of the 6th century) a god triad is perhaps mentioned: "logaþore wodan wigiþonar" . The South Germanic gods Wodan and Donar , known from later sources, are easy to recognize , who are named here with the prefix wigi- as particularly worthy of reverence (ahd. Wîh , still in the 19th century. Dialect softly “holy” <germ. * Wīgian 'consecrate '; but maybe also to German * wīgan to put' fight '). Logathore could have been a third, local god who cannot be connected to the North Germanic Loki or Loðurr .

Klaus Düwel, on the other hand, reads logaþore as "schemer / magician" and interprets the inscription as "schemer / magician (are) Wodan and Weihe-Donar". This would then correspond to a condemnation of the old gods and a commitment of the wearer to the new Christian faith. In contrast, U. Schwab reads "Zauberhaft / Zauberer (in a positive sense) (are) consecration-Donar and Wodan", with which the wearer would have attached to the old faith. But logaþore could also stand as kenning for another deity (perhaps Tyr), which in turn made the triad complete.

In some cases, formulas are attested that cannot be read otherwise than as turning away from the pagan deities. On the Osthofen disc fibula with the inscription "God with you, Theophilus (= God-friend)", the turn to Christianity is clearly completed. In a church grave in Arlon (Belgium) there was an amulet capsule with runes, which was identified as Christian by a cross, which clearly identifies the deceased buried there as a Christian. In a richly decorated women's grave near Kirchheim unter Teck (Baden-Württemberg) from the end of the 6th century, a gold leaf cross was found next to a large rune brooch , which makes an approximation of Christian ideas at least conceivable.

Beginning and end of the rune carvings

The Teutons of Central Europe only adopted the runes almost 400 years after the first use of this writing system in Scandinavia. The question arises as to why they did not immediately (or earlier) use the Latin script of the neighboring Roman areas. In this context, it is remarkable that the runes appear here for the first time when the areas were incorporated into the Franconian Empire ( Alemanni 496/506/535, Thuringian 529/532) and Bajuwaren (mid-6th century). One thesis is that after the fall of the Thuringian Empire in 531, the “Romanesque” Franks and Alemanni became direct neighbors of the Saxons and the exchange between north and south intensified.

In terms of time, the same applies to the so-called “Nordic” fashion wave, with which many elements and shapes (fibula shapes, bracteates , ornaments in animal style I and II) increasingly came from Scandinavia to Central Europe from around 530 AD or were copied there stimulate their own forms (continental animal style II). It is entirely possible that the runes also came south in the wake of this fashion wave; Also consider the formula words alu and ota , on the Hüfinger bracteates , which are common in Scandinavia. How these “northern” elements spread and why they were so readily received in Central Europe has not yet been adequately explained. It could be a question of intensified trade relationships or closer social contacts (marriage relationships, immigration, traveling craftsmen or warriors joining new followers on the mainland). Another thesis is that these "Nordic" elements were specifically adopted by some Germanic groups in order to give themselves their own identity and to demonstrate this to the outside world (possibly against the more Romanized areas / groups and the influences from the Mediterranean region) and to demonstrate themselves thereby delimit. However, everything indicates that the use of runes on the soil of the Frankish Empire was a short-lived and secondary phenomenon.

Why the custom of carving runes died out in Central Europe in the 7th century is not clear. It is unlikely that the Roman Church actively opposed the use of runes. Such a prohibition has not been passed down, nor do Christian beliefs and runes seem to have been incompatible. Some of those buried with rune objects were apparently already Christians (Arlon, Kirchheim). In addition, the Church in England and Scandinavia arranged itself quite casually with runes as script. Nevertheless, the Christianization that started in the Franconian Empire was likely to have been accompanied by a change in many customs and a latent Romanization (to be read, for example, from the loan vocabulary ) and thus indirectly also responsible for the extinction of the runic culture.

Since the runes were only in use for a very short period of time (approx. 100 to 150 years) and the inscriptions often reveal an uncertain hand, knowledge was probably never very widespread or firmly rooted. Many of the inscriptions make a decidedly "private" impression. Something that corresponded to the Scandinavian rune master culture with its formation of tradition apparently did not exist in Central Europe. Instead, under the indirect influence of the churches and monasteries, they switched to the more common, “more international” and more prestigious Latin script.

The runes in Scandinavia

In the Scandinavian north, where the Latin script only came to be used in the Middle Ages in the course of Christianization, the use of runes continued to increase until the high Middle Ages, for example runic inscriptions are particularly common in churches in Norway, but also in grave inscriptions or in memory of family members Rune stones. From the time of the older Futhark, the inscription on the smaller of the gold horns from Gallehus has become very famous.

Runestone in Uppsala

The inscriptions in shorter Futhark begin around 800; Examples of this are the stones from Helnæs and Flemløse on Fyn . However, only the younger Jelling stones from the 10th century can definitely be dated . They are particularly numerous in Sweden and go up into later times, on Gotland into the 16th century; some (for example the Karlevistein on Öland and the Rökstein in Östergötland) contain rhyming verses. These more recent inscriptions from the Viking Age make up the majority of all surviving rune monuments with over 5000. In Uppland, Sweden alone, there are 1200 rune stones (around 2500 in all of Sweden). Most of the stones bear inscriptions of the type “(name) erected for (name)”, after which the degree of relationship is stated. Some of the inscriptions are encrypted. The use of the runes for literary purposes, i.e. in manuscripts, on the other hand, is rare and should only be regarded as a learned gimmick. The most extensive monument was the so-called Codex runicus with the Skåne law from the 14th century. Runes on calendar sticks were used for a particularly long time .

Since myths, sagas and epic songs were passed down orally and the Icelandic prose sagas were a (Latin) written text genre from the beginning, runes played hardly any role as a medium of literary tradition. But it is not only the widespread use of inscriptions that makes it probable that since the Viking Age, at least in the wealthy upper class of Scandinavia, a fairly large proportion of people have been able to read and write runes. The great majority of the simple rural residents, however, will have known what was written on the distinctive stones and for whom they were built, even without being able to read and write themselves. Runes often also served profane purposes. These include property marks with which merchandise and other property were identified, business communications, but also occasional inscriptions in the form of short private messages, such as the request “kysmik” (kiss me), which was scratched on a bone in Oslo in the 11th century has been. Many rune woods and strips of lead with such affirmations of love, poems or trading notes have come down to us. Curses also remained in fashion.

It was not until the 16th century that the runes came to an end in Scandinavia. Only in the Swedish province of Dalarna did runes still be used until the early 20th century.

As a legacy of the long coexistence of Latin and runic script, the Icelandic alphabet still contains a character that was originally a rune: Þ ( thorn ) stands for the voiceless th sound (as in the English word “thing”).

Runes on the gallery of Hagia Sophia, 9th century AD

The runes outside Scandinavia and Central Europe

In Byzantium left several Nordic travelers, possibly warriors of the imperial Varangian Guard , runic graffiti on galleries of the Hagia Sophia . Among the runic inscriptions on the British Isles, there are around 220 inscriptions in Old Norse from the Viking Age in addition to the Old English . Runes have also been found in the Faroe Islands , Iceland and Greenland .

Runes in modern times

Alamannicarum Antiquitates from 1606

Scientific research begins

The runes were never completely forgotten. The scholarly study of runic monuments and runic writing continued throughout the Middle Ages, up to humanism, on the same tracks as the encyclopedic and historical study of other antiquities. Humanists such as the Swiss Melchior Goldast search medieval manuscripts for the history of their own “tribe” when they print Old High German texts as well as the monastic runic treatises of the 9th century (see illustration). In the north, attention could be drawn to the inscribed monuments themselves. Academic collections and studies have been published since the 16th century, but the derivations of the script appear e.g. B. from the time of the flood ( Johan Magnus , 1554) or from the Hebrew script ( Ole Worm , 1639) rather curious. Johan Göransson's architectural style from 1750, with his illustrations of 1200 Swedish rune stones, is still of scientific importance, even though he argued that the runes were around 2000 BC. Brought to the north by a brother of Magog . The lost golden horn from Gallehus can only be grasped by engravings from the 18th century.

Today runology ( runology ) is not an independent academic subject, but an established field of research in the area of ​​contact between comparative linguistics, northern studies , history and archeology.


Armanen-Futhark as a number
and as a series of letters

Towards the end of the 19th century, interest in the runes arose in some esoteric circles. Above all, it was folkish-mystical-minded people who reinterpreted the runes in their own way, attributed magical power to them and came up with new runic alphabets. The völkisch movement never used the historical runes, but invented rune-like symbols. The most important source of inspiration was Guido von List (1848–1919), an Austrian romantic and co-founder of right-wing esoteric ariosophy . According to his own admission, he received the majority of his occult “runic knowledge” in the form of visions and was regarded by his followers as a kind of prophet. He postulated a pseudo-historical priesthood of so-called Armanen , who were initiated into these secrets, and his fictitious Futhark, which is only loosely based on the younger Futhark, was therefore also called Armanen-Futhark . List also postulated an ancient people with their own original language called "Ariogermanen". He claimed that this people, this pure-blood "race" of blond, blue-eyed people, had used an 18 rune writing system since ancient times.

Until the 1970s, runesotericism worked almost exclusively with this Armanen futhark. Later authors relied on this Futhark, such as Karl Maria Wiligut (better known as Sturmbannführer Weisthor), the " Rasputin " Himmler, and Friedrich Bernhard Marby , the inventor of rune gymnastics (also known as rune yoga), in which the figures to be performed are runes symbolize and with which the “racially conscious Nordic man” should ennoble his mind and body.

Modern runesotericism

The more recent runesotericism often refers to the work of the American rune magician Edred Thorsson (i.e. Stephen Flowers ), chairman of the Rune-Gild ( lit .: Edred Thorsson, 1987). Flowers, who did his doctorate in Northern Studies / Old German Studies, again used the older Futhark with 24 runes instead of the Armanen Futhark.

In general, the teachings of runesotericism are characterized by a strong eclecticism . Esoteric rune magicians, when dealing with runic magic and runic oracles, use on the one hand "their own" thoughts and considerations, but often also fall back on the few written sources of the high and especially late Middle Ages in which something is reported about the magical use of runes . These include, for example, phrases or paraphrases from the Eddic writings and from other other Norse literature such as the sagas and the rune poems . It is often overlooked that these late written traditions originate from an already completely Christianized environment and accordingly hardly reflect pure “Germanic-pagan” ideas. However, runic magic does not value historical accuracy (after all, it is not a science), but rather the practical-subjective approach, which makes any (objective) misinterpretation forgivable. Most publications on the esoteric and magical use of runes emphasize that the respective author only wants to provide assistance and ideas, but that when working with runes, every new adept individually "understands" the runes and their power and the Must learn to deal with them - for example through meditation, trance, etc. Ä.


Various items with runes

In Ásatrú are the runes as font , for rune magic purposes and occasionally as oracles used. Runes are also used on clothing, jewelry and a wide variety of everyday objects as well as on metal bands .

Volkish ideology and right-wing extremism

Membership certificate of the
Floridsdorf gymnastics club for the German national politician Schönerer in runic script

As an autochthonous, purely Germanic achievement, the runes were susceptible to being instrumentalized for ideological and political purposes during the time of nationalism . As early as the 17th century, Denmark and Sweden developed an ahistorical pride in “their” runes. Pre-Christian, “Nordic” traditions came in handy for a culturally critical trend at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, which expressed itself in neo-pagan and anti-Semitic tendencies. The appropriation of the völkisch " Sig-Rune " (as well as parts of Nordic mythology) by the Hitler Youth and the SS in the time of National Socialism and the Odalrune by neo-Nazis (see right-wing extremist symbols and signs ) is only the best known form of this ideological exploitation. Individual runes, especially those from List's Armanen-Futhark, and rune-like symbols such as the Black Sun are used as identifiers in right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi circles.

Metal scene

In the metal scene , runes are also enjoying a certain popularity. The use of runes and other symbols from Norse / Germanic mythology is particularly popular in the sub-genre Viking Metal . However, this usually happens without a serious mystical or political background (similar to the use of the iron cross, which is also popular in metal). These symbols are mostly used for aesthetic reasons only, or because of an interest in mythology based solely on entertainment.


The Unicode block runes (16A0–16FF) contains the Germanic runes, the order being based on the traditional runic alphabet Futhark and all younger variants and modifications being sorted according to the respective basic rune.

See also

Formally similar, unrelated fonts:


  • Runor . In: Theodor Westrin, Ruben Gustafsson Berg (eds.): Nordisk familjebok konversationslexikon och realencyklopedi . 2nd Edition. tape 23 : Retzius – Ryssland . Nordisk familjeboks förlag, Stockholm 1916, Sp. 1211–1220 (Swedish, - with illustrations for inscriptions).
  • Helmut Arntz : Handbook of Runic Studies. Second edition. Niemeyer, Halle / Saale 1944. (Reprint: Ed.Lempertz, Leipzig, 2007).
  • René Derolez : Runica Manuscripta. The English Tradition. De Tempel, Brugge 1954 (standard work on the “book runes”).
  • Alfred Becker: Franks Casket, to the pictures and inscriptions of the rune box by Auzon. Language and literature. Regensburg work on English and American studies. Vol. 5. Hans Carl, Regensburg 1973, ISBN 3-418-00205-6 .
  • Klaus Düwel : To evaluate the bracteate inscriptions. Knowledge of runes and runic inscriptions as characteristics of the upper classes. In: Karl Hauck (ed.): The historical horizon of the billy gods amulets from the transition period from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages. Goettingen 1992.
  • Klaus Düwel (Ed.): Runic inscriptions as sources of interdisciplinary research. Treatises of the Fourth International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions in Göttingen from August 4th to 9th, 1995. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-11-015455-2
  • Klaus Düwel: Runic lore . 4th edition Metzler, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-476-14072-2
  • Lars Magnar Enoksen: Runor: historia, tydning, tolkning. Historiska Media, Falun 1998. ISBN 91-88930-32-7
  • Ulrich Hunger : The runic lore in the Third Reich - A contribution to the history of science and ideology of National Socialism. European university publications. Row 3. Lang, Frankfurt M 1984, ISBN 3-8204-8072-2
  • Heinz Klingenberg : Runic writing - writing thinking - runic inscriptions . Carl Winter, Heidelberg 1973. ISBN 3-533-02181-5
  • John McKinnell , Rudolf Simek , Klaus Düwel: Runes, magic and religion. A source book. (= Studia Medievalia Septentrionalia  ; 10), Fassbaender, Vienna 2004, ISBN 978-3-900538-81-1 .
  • Wolfgang Krause , Herbert Jankuhn : The runic inscriptions in the older Futhark . (= Academy of Sciences in Göttingen; Philosophical-Historical Class, Volume 3, No. 65.1 (text), No. 65.2 (plates)), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1966.
  • D. Gary Miller : Ancient scripts and phonological knowledge. (= Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of linguistic science. Series IV, Current issues in linguistic theory, 116). John Benjamin Publishing, Amsterdam / Philadelphia 1994, ISBN 90-272-3619-4 , ISSN  0304-0763 .
  • Stephan Opitz : South Germanic runic inscriptions in the older Futhark from the Merovingian period Freiburg 1977
  • Robert Nedoma : Personal names in South Germanic runic inscriptions . Carl Winter, Heidelberg 2004. ISBN 3-8253-1646-7
  • Rochus von Liliencron , Karl Müllenhoff : To the rune theory. Two papers. Schwetschke, Halle 1852
    Internet Archive.
  • Runes , rune seal , runes fakes , rune poems , inscriptions , rune master , runic coins , runes name , rune rows , runic writing , rune stones . In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . Volume 25. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-017733-1 , pp. 499-596.
  • Wilhelm Carl Grimm: About German runes. Dieterich, Göttingen 1821 ( ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Rune  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Runes  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Runestone  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Codex Runicus  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Tineke Looijenga: Texts and Contexts of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions.
  2. ^ Klaus Düwel: Runenkunde. 3rd, completely revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2001, p. 3. ISBN 3-476-13072-X .
  3. ^ Klaus Düwel: Runenkunde. 3rd, completely revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2001, p. 23. ISBN 3-476-13072-X .
  4. ^ Klaus Düwel: Runenkunde. 3rd, completely revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2001, p. 24. ISBN 3-476-13072-X .
  5. whisper. In: Duden online
  6. Wolfgang Pfeifer et al .: Etymological Dictionary of German. 8th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2005. Keyword: “Rune”.
  7. See rune. In: Duden online
  8. ^ Alfred Bammesberger, Gabriele Waxenberger, René Derolez: The fuÞark and its individual language developments. Files from the conference in Eichstätt from July 20 to 24, 2003 . W. De Gruyter, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-11-092298-3 .
  9. ^ Heinrich Beck, Klaus Düwel, Dieter Michael Job, Astrid van Nahl: Writings on Runology and Indo-European Studies . Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-030723-8 .
  10. Comparative table and illustration of the helmet
  11. ^ Robert Nedoma, Otto H. Urban: Negauer helmet. In: Heinrich Beck , Dieter Geuenich , Heiko Steuer (Hrsg.): Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . Volume 21: Naualia - Østfold. 2nd, completely revised and greatly expanded edition. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, pp. 58–60 ( ).
  12. Jürgen Zeidler: A disregarded Celtic script at the End of the First Millennium BC. Online publications by the Celtic Studies Forum and its members. University of Trier, Trier 1999. (PDF; 220 kB) Retrieved on April 3, 2011.
  13. On the Greek thesis see Miller: Ancient scripts and phonological knowledge. Amsterdam 1994, p. 61 ff., 66: “all of the Runic letters can be derived from pre-Classical Greek prototypes.”
  14. Theo Vennemann: Germanic Runes and Phoenician Alphabet , Linguistics Year 2006 No. 31, pp. 367–429.
  15. Wolfgang Krause: Runes. de Gruyter, Berlin 1970, p. 14 ff.
  16. ^ Klaus Düwel: Runenkunde. 3rd, completely revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2001, page 11. ISBN 3-476-13072-X .
  17. Aswynn, Freya: The leaves of Yggdrasil. Runes, gods, magic, Norse mythology & feminine mysteries . 2. through Edition. Ed. Ananael, Bad Ischl 1994, ISBN 3-901134-07-7 .
  18. File: Runenglosse stgallen cod11.jpg . In: .
  19. a b Dictionary network - German dictionary by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm . In: .
  20. Axboe, Morten .: The gold bracteates of the migration period. Manufacturing problems and chronology . Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-11-092646-6 .
  22. Lise Brix: Isolated people in Sweden only stopped using runes 100 years ago. In: Science Nordic, March 21, 2015 ( ).
  23. ( Memento from April 30, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  24. For example, the booklet of the CD " Gods of War (Manowar-Album) " (cf. booklet description under "Trivia") is completely in runes; Another example: CD cover by the Finnish band Kivenkantaja
  25. ^ Rudolf Simek : Runes yesterday, today, tomorrow . Federal Agency for Civic Education, October 10, 2017. 5th February 2018.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 31, 2006 .