"Rune" comes from the Nordic word for mysticism. Not even after the development of an alphabet have these amazing spells lost their mystery.
Some were used as a warning, others to tell of fallen warriors.
Runes can be written in any direction and have an existential role in our Nordic identity, the stories of our ancestors and their adventurous spirit.
This comb of bone may have belonged to a man named Harja about 1850 years ago. It has been found in Vimose on Funen and laid in the bog around 150 AD.
Its runic inscription is the oldest we know, and the male name Harja is thus the oldest personal name we know from our ancient times.
The oldest known alphabet from the Nordic countries is the runic alphabet 'futhark', which consists of 24 characters. The alphabet is named after the first six runes in the alphabet, and the inspiration for it comes from the Mediterranean, where the Latin alphabet was used in the Roman Iron Age.
The comb from the Roman Iron Age can be seen in room 19 at the National Museum.
Rökstenen is a well-known runestone from Östergötland in Sweden. The granite stone is approximately 382 cm high (of which 125 cm below the ground), 138 cm wide and between 19 and 43 cm thick.
The smoke stone contains the world's longest runic inscription.
In the 12th century, Rökstenen was used as a building material for a wall in a stone church. Therefore, only the front page was visible. When the stone was taken out of the church in 1862, it was discovered that the granite block also had runes on the back, both side surfaces and on the top.
The runes used are a mixture of twig runes, maple runes, a combination of younger and older runes as well as difficult-to-read characters.
Vadstena is a brekteak of gold with runes from 500 s 1774, found in Vadstena region.
The motif on the front shows a human head on the back of an animal, above them a bird. The image is surrounded by a text to be read from right to left (ᚠᚢᚦᚨᚱᚲᚷᚹ ᛬ ᚺᚾᛁᛃᛇᛒᛘᛋ ᛬ ᛏᛒᛖᛗᛚᛜᛟᛞ): fu þ arkgw: hnije / P R / zs: tbeml N O (d). The word tuwatuwa is written before futhark.
The bracteate was stolen in 1938 from the State Historical Museum and has not reappeared.
Another stamp-identical bracteate - the Mariedamm bracteate - was found before 1906.
Codex runicus is a runic manuscript of 101 leaves of velin from approx. 1300 and contains one of the oldest and best preserved versions of Scanian Law as well as other, smaller texts.
The manuscript is defended in the Arnamagnæan Collection (AM 28.8 °) in Copenhagen and is unique to Nordic legal texts. The most well-known are the notes to the melody "Dreamed me a dream last night", which for over 50 years has been used as a pause signal by Denmarks Radio.
Although the excavation under I. Vilhelm Werner's Square in the center of Odense has been completed, new finds are still emerging that bring us closer to medieval man than we dared hope for. In the finishing work, not just 1, but 3 small pieces of wood have appeared, which should turn out to be the first find of a rune stick from a Danish city excavation for more than 50 years.
An unusual gold treasure, which appeared on Lolland-Falster, namely at Magletving on northwestern Lolland, contained i.a. an Odin amulet - or bracteate - in the form of a small, round, thin gold disc with a decorated front, framed by a beaded gold thread and provided with an eyelet so that one could wear it on a string or chain around the neck.
The gold bracteate shows the face of a large man hovering over a horse. The motif is known from other bracteates and is believed to be Odin, the king of the gods. This is based on other finds of this type of bracteate, where in addition to the motif there is a runic inscription with the words "Den Høje", one of Odin's nicknames known from the Viking Age.
What makes this gold bracteate particularly exciting is that it is one of the earliest depictions of Nordic religion, the asatro. Therefore, Odin must also be interpreted as a shaman.
During the installation of a lightning conductor at a church in Hagby / Sweden, the workers discovered an old rune stone, which was later dated to the middle of the 11th century. The stone is 1.8 meters long and 1.3 meters wide, and experts believe that it is a masterpiece, worked in a class of its own. Although the stone is not signed, the runes correspond to discoveries attributed to the 11th century. Only a true master of stonemasonry has been able to tackle a project like this stone.
The rune stone has been missing for almost 200 years. It can be seen in the 18th century depictions of the original church that stood on the site, but when the old medieval church was demolished in the 19th century and a new one was built, the stone was listed as "missing".
This rune stone has been piste away, disappearing at a time between 1767 and 1841, when the landscape painter R.H. Kruse tried in vain to find it.
In 2016, it turned out that the Kappel family in Boddum, quite ignorantly for more than 20 years, had been drinking coffee on the terrace, which consisted of a large piece of the Ydby stone. One day a guest noticed that it might well look like something of a rune stone.
Two additional fragments have since been found in the paving of an acquired farm nearby.
Pieces of the stone are still missing, so the hunt for the last bites continues at Ydby.
On the stone is written: Þōrgīsl satti ok syniR Lēfa ī stað þannsi stēn øftiR Lēfa - Troels put together with Leves sons in this place the stone after Leve
The tracks of the Vikings spread far away from the north, with no nuanced written sources that can explain why they did as they did. On the other hand, they left concise runic texts that give a clear picture of their whereabouts.
In the mosque Hagia Sofia in present-day Istanbul / Turkey, two Vikings, Halvdan and Areværet, have visited and carved their names with runes into the church at the time.
Istanbul, then called Constantinople, was the capital of Byzantium - one of the great powers of the 10th century. Stories tell of the Vikings' looting expeditions to Constantinople, and it is said that they were employed as bodyguards for the Byzantine emperor. Perhaps Halvdan and Are have been employed as bodyguards at court.
Björketorpsstenen is located about 7 km east of Ronneby in Blekinge. Together with two other high stones, it forms an ancient monument next to a burial ground from the Late Iron Age. Björketorpsstens is dated to the 600-700s.
The monument is located in a national area of interest for cultural preservation with many traces of settlements from the Stone Age and later. Near the monument is Kasakulle with tombs and stone monuments from the Iron Age and the Viking burial site Hjortsberga.
The stone is carved with the older 24-type futhark, which was used in the period 150-800 AD. During this time, Scandinavia seems to have spoken a uniform language called Old Nordic.
On the front of the stone it says: 'hAidz runo ronu fAlAhAk HAiderA ginArunAz ArAgeu hAerAmAlAusz utiAs welAdAude sAz bArutz', on the back 'abArAbA sbA'.
Normalization: HaidR runo runu, I want to honor that showarunaR. Argiu distant, ... veladauthe, so it breaks. Excessive spa
Translated, it could mean, "The secret of mighty runes I hid here, powerful runes. Whoever breaks this memorial must be constantly plagued by rudeness. The deceptive death must meet him, I will destroy."