Runestone from Rök

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View of the east side of the Rök rune stone with the beginning of the inscription at the bottom left
The west side of the rune stone

The rune stone of Rök (Swedish Rökstenen, Ög 136 der Samnordisk runtextdatabas ) is a Swedish rune stone and is located in Rök at the church of Rök in the municipality of Ödeshög in the province of Östergötland . It is 3.82 meters high and has a runic inscription in the Old Norse language . With around 750 characters, it is the longest known rune script.


The stone was probably erected around 800. 200 years later it was walled into the town's tithe barn in the course of Christianization . When the old church was demolished in 1840, the runic inscription was noticed on the stone, but it was built into the porch of the new church. In 1862 it was removed and initially set up free in the churchyard until it was protected with a roof in 1933.

Letter games complicate the text of the Rök stone. Varin, the rune master of the stone, encrypted the text in some places with the help of secret runes . To do this, he used two types of runic alphabets , the Old Norse with 24 characters, but also a special Rök alphabet with 16 characters. The reading of the entire inscription is now largely certain, but the interpretation of the content still offers unsolved puzzles.

The first line on the front of the stone is aft uamuþ stonta runa r tha r ( "In Memory of Vämod are these runes") and then continues: "But Varin she wrote after the dead son."

The text then seems to initially deal with themes from the myth. It only becomes understandable again when it turns into verse; The rune master was obviously keen to deliver the poem in an understandable way:

Theodoric the bold courage,
the prince of sea warriors, ruled
over the beach of
the Hreidmeer.
Now he is sitting armed
on his Gothic horse,
the shield on his shoulder,
the hero of the fairy tales. "

The back is also sometimes difficult to read. There is talk of 20 kings on Zealand or 20 kings of the sea and of a battlefield on which they lie, and it is reported of a woman who sacrificed herself for Ingvald's family (the Ynglingers ). Presumably it is Asa (Ingvald's daughter married to Skåne), the mother of Ivar Vidfamne (king of Skåne around 655), the founder of the Scyldinger family , who is said to have committed suicide when Ivar came to power. This is roughly understood from the Chronicle of the Lombards , but cannot be proven and is considered mythical. Ingwald, who moves east with his car, could also be interpreted as a symbol of the sun.


According to a more recent thesis, the rune stone, which was probably erected around 800 at the latest, could be a reminder of a mythical battle between warmth and cold or life and death nine generations before it was erected, in which the fenris wolf devours the sun, which is then reborn through the sacrifice of a woman. One such event could have been the weather anomaly of 535/536 with its extreme cold just a few years after Theodoric's death, a so-called fimbulvetr ( Fimbulwinter ). As a result, around half of Scandinavia's residents were killed. The region around Rök was also affected: Here, fertile arable land turned back into forest. The Ragnarök legend, in which there is talk of a haze , probably also relates to this event . The erection of the rune stone around 800 could have been in a temporal connection with unusual sky redness as a result of a magnetic storm or gamma-ray outbreak in 775 or the solar eclipse in 810.

The text

Reading of the runic text in Alto-Eastern Norse .
Reading of the runic text.
Transliteration of the runes

aft uamuþ stonta runaʀ þaʀ n uarin faþi faþiʀ aft faikion sunu sakum | | mukmini þat huariaʀ ualraubaʀ ​​uaʀin tuaʀ þaʀ suaþ tualf sinum uaʀin | | numnaʀ t ualraubu baþaʀ somon o umisum | | monum 'þat sakum onart huaʀ fur niu altum on urþi fiaru miʀ hraiþkutum auk tu miʀ on ub sakaʀ raiþ | | þiaurikʀ hin þurmuþi stiliʀ flutna strontu hraiþmaraʀ sitiʀ nu karuʀ o kuta sinum skialti ub fatlaþʀ skati marika þat sakum tualfta huar histʀ si kunaʀ itu | | uituoki on kunukaʀ tuaiʀ tikiʀ suaþ o likia 'þat sakum þritaunta huariʀ tuaiʀ tikiʀ kunukaʀ satin t siulunti fiakura uintur at fiakurum nabnum burnʀ fiakurum bruþrum' ualkaʀ fim ra = þulfs | = þulfs | | suniʀ hraiþulfaʀ fim rukulfs | | suniʀ hoislaʀ fim haruþs suniʀ kunmuntaʀ fim (b) irnaʀ suniʀ * nuk m --- (m) - alu - (k) (i) ainhuaʀ -þ ... ... þ ... ftiʀ fra sagwm | | mogmeni (þ) ad hOaʀ igOldga Oaʀi gOldin d gOonaʀ hOsli sakum | | mukmini uaim si burin | | niþʀ troki uilin is þat knuo knati | | iatun uilin is þat (n) (i) (t) akum | | mukmini þur sibi uiauari ul niruþʀ

Old West Norse transcription German translation

Eptir Vémóð / Vámóð standa rúnar þær. En Varinn fáði, faðir, eptir feigjan son. Sögum múgminni / ungmenni þat, hverjar valraufar væri tvær þær, svát tolf sinnum væri numnar at valraufu, báðar saman á ýmissum mönnum. Þat sögum annat, hverr fyrir níu öldum án yrði fjör með Hreiðgotum, auk dó meðr hann umb sakar. Réð Þjóðríkr hinn þormóði, stillir flotna, ströndu Hreiðmarar. Sitr nú görr á gota sínum, skildi umb fatlaðr, skati Mæringa. Þat sögum tolfta, hvar hestr sé Gunnar etu véttvangi á, konungar tveir tigir svát á liggja. Þat sögum þrettánda, hverir tveir tigir konungar sæti at Sjólundi fjóra vetr at fjórum nöfnum, bornir fjórum brœðrum. Valkar fimm, Ráðulfs synir, Hreiðulfar fimm, Rugulfs synir, Háislar fimm, Hörðs synir, Gunnmundar / Kynmundar fimm, Bjarnar synir. Nú'km [inni] m [eð] öllu [se] gi. Einhverr… [svá] t… eptir frá. Sögum múgminni / ungmenni þat, hvar Ingoldinga væri goldinn at kvánar húsli. Sögum múgminni / ungmenni, hveim sé borinn niðr drengi. Vilinn he þat. Knúa / knýja knátti jötun. Vilinn er þat… Sögum múgminni / ungmenni: Þórr. Sibbi véaveri ól nírœðr. (The text is a transcription of the runes into Old West Norse.)

“According to Vämod, these runes stand. But Varin wrote it, the father, after the deceased son. I tell the young men the legend of the two pieces of booty that were taken twelve times, both pieces of booty at once, from different men. Second, I say who lived nine generations ago and lost their lives among the Hreid Goths. And he died among them because of his misdeeds. Theodoric, the daring, prince of sea warriors, ruled over the beach of the Hreidmeer. Now he sits armed on his Gothic horse with the shield on his shoulder, the hero of the fairy tales. I say that as the twelfth, where the Valkyrie's horse will see food on the battlefield, twenty kings lying there. I say that as the thirteenth, who sat twenty kings on Zealand, four winters, with four names, sons of four brothers. Five Valke, Radulf's sons, five Hreidulfe, Ragulf's sons, five Haisle, Harud's sons, five Gunnmunde, Bern's sons. Now everyone tells the young men ... everything investigated. I tell the young men which of Ingevald's descendants was made amends thanks to the sacrifice of a housewife. I tell the young men which hero a descendant is born. It is Vilen. He could cut a giant. It is Vilen. ... I say to the young men: Thor. Sibbe, the keeper of the shrines, fathered (a son) at the age of ninety. "

See also

Web links

Commons : Rökstenen  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. a b Per Holmberg, Bo Gräslund, Olof Sundqvist, Henrik Wiliams: The Rök Runestone and the End of the World. In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies , ISSN 1892-0950, E-ISSN 2003-296X, Vol. 9-10, pp. 7-38.
  2. Bo Gräslund, Neil Price: Twilight of the gods? The 'dust veil event' of AD 536 in critical perspective. In: Antiquity Volume 86, No. 332, January 2012.
  3. See Per Holmberg; Bo Gräslund; Olof Sundqvist; Henrik Williams: The Rök Runestone and the End of the World. In: Futhark 9-10 (2020).

Coordinates: 58 ° 17 ′ 43 "  N , 14 ° 46 ′ 33"  E