Friday, 11 November 2016

The Origins of the Runes

The runes are presumed to have been derived from one of the many Old Italic alphabets in use among the Mediterranean peoples of the first century CE, who lived to the south of the Germanic tribes.

Earlier Germanic sacred symbols, such as those preserved in northern European petroglyphs, were also likely influential in the development of the script.

The earliest possibly runic inscription is found on the Meldorf brooch, which was manufactured in the north of modern-day Germany around 50 CE. The inscription is highly ambiguous, however, and scholars are divided over whether its letters are runic or Roman. The earliest unambiguous runic inscriptions are found on the Vimose comb from Vimose, Denmark and the Øvre Stabu spearhead from southern Norway, both of which date to approximately 160 CE. The earliest known carving of the entire futhark, in order, is that on the Kylver stone from Gotland, Sweden, which dates to roughly 400 CE.

If Odin was first and always the highest magician, we realize that the runes, however recent they may be, would have fallen under his sway. New and particularly effective implements for magic works, they would become by definition and without contest a part of his domain. … Odin could have been the patron, the possessor par excellence of this redoubtable power of secrecy and secret knowledge, before the name of that knowledge became the technical name of signs both phonetic and magic which came from the Alps or elsewhere, but did not lose its former, larger more>>>...