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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - Runes and Rune Stones - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! This week I'm delving into those fascinating markings the Vikings left behind - Runes.

During this time period, most histories were passed along orally from one generation to the next.


Futhark or the Runic alphabet was developed over 2000 years ago. It was originally made up of 24 characters. The characters were straight and could be carved into stone or wood.

Short messages could be carved into rune-sticks and passed along.

Most Vikings were literate and could read and write runes but only a select few became poets or Lawspeakers.

  
Rune stones often depicted major events or to honor the memory of an exhalted warrior or deceased family member. This one in Jelling (dating around 965) commemorated the conquest of Denmark and Norway by Harald Bluetooth and the adoption of Christianity in Denmark. This image of Christ is the oldest from Denmark.


This example from Prastgatan in Sweden of a stone containing Christian symbology.


And this fine example is from Lingsberg.

The majority of existing rune stones can be found in Sweden. Some can also be seen in Denmark and Norway. A few have also been found in the UK. Many of the stones are found near Christian churches (which invokes a very different imagine than the heathenistic warrior who raped and pillaged along the coasts).

A fun rune stone walk in Sigtuna - http://destinationsigtuna.se/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Runornas-Sigtuna-eng.pdf

Picture References:
Lingsberg Runestone - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2287417
Jelling Stone - https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/the-monuments-at-jelling/the-jelling-stone/
Prastgatan Stone - http://destinationsigtuna.se/en/attraktion/runic-stones/
Futhark Alphabet - http://viking.archeurope.info/index.php?page=runes

References:
Viking Archaeology - http://viking.archeurope.info/index.php?page=viking-rune-stones
National Museum of Denmark - https://en.natmus.dk
Sigtuna (Swedish Travel Info Site) - http://destinationsigtuna.se/en/attraktion/runic-stones/
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

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