By R I Page

ISBN-10: 0585213844

ISBN-13: 9780585213842

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Extra resources for An introduction to English runes

Sample text

1 Their appearance in the English language reflects the enthusiasm for the Dark Ages, their history and antiquities, which became such a feature of European scholarship in that century. It was perhaps the Dane, Ole Worm, whose work provided the most vigorous stimulus to runic studies in this country. His books, Runer, seu Danica Literatura Antiquissima, published in Copenhagen and Amsterdam in 1636, Danicorum Monumentorum Libri Sex (Copenhagen 1643) and Specimen Lexici Runici (Copenhagen 1650), English scholars read eagerly and quoted often.

14 This monument presents quite a long text, fairly well preserved; so there should be enough for the runologist to get his teeth into. Interpretations of one baffling section of it range from the practical, 'May Eirikr, son of Griótgarðr in Véby, acquire . ' to the informative, 'I am guardian of the sanctuary. I cut these runes, may he read them who can. I make them binding . '; from the threatening, 'A holy thing must not be profaned. He who alters this inscription, let him be outlawed, a pervert, openly known to all the people' to the romantic, 'The priestess's mighty work.

15 A more recent case is the Loveden Hill (Lincolnshire) cremation urn with its fifteen runes apparently divided into three groups. In 1980 Odenstedt interpreted them as a sentence, 'Siþæbæd gets bread'; in 1989 Elliott as a threefold description of a cinerary urn: 'bed for the journey (of death)'; 'dwelling'; 'sepulchre'; in 1990 Eichner as 'Siþæbald consecrates you. 16 These valiant attempts do not have a lot in common. In fact, examples like these illustrate a primary epigraphical difficulty facing us when we deal with peoples who were otherwise illiterate.

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An introduction to English runes by R I Page


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