Rune Scholars

                Rune Scholars

This 6th century Noleby futhark inscriptions says :I prepare the suitable divine rune ... for Hakoşuz.

Rune stone from Västergötland, with the older type of futhark

The first academic scholars who made systematic surveys of runic monuments per se' were Johan Bureus (d. 1652) in Sweden and Ole Worm (d. 1654) in Denmark and Norway.1 The first usage of runic monuments as historical sources was published in 1893 by the Danish scholar Ludvig Wimmer.2 References to the work of Ole Worm and Ludvig Wimmer permeated the modern runologic literature. It is generally assumed that the runic script entered the Germanic world around the first several centuries after Christ as a result of commercial interactions with the Roman Empire. The oldest known runestones are on the Scandinavian peninsula and date from ca.300-400 AD. The oldest known example of the script itself has been dated as ca. 200 AD.

Professor Eric Moltke3 gives a detailed comparative analysis of the fuŞark with the major variants of the Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Latin alphabets and arrives at the conclusion that the Latin alphabet of circa 0 A.D. was the basis for the fuŞark. Ludvig Wimmer also believed that the futhark was based on Latin letters. The Greek and Etruscan alphabets have been taken seriously by scholars in the past as possible sources for the futhark. The latest 'Greek' theory was published in 1988.4

1Omeljan Pritsak, The Origin of Rus', Vol. I: Old Scandinavian Sources other than the Sagas (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981), p.773. 

2Ibid, p.774. 

3Erik Moltke, Runerne i Danmark og deres oprindelse (Copenhagen: Forum, 1976), pp.32-58. 

4Bengt Odenstedt, "A New Theory of the Origin of the Runic Script: Richard L. Morris's Book Runic and Mediterranean Epigraphy," in Old English Runes and their Continental Background, ed. by Alfred Bammesberger (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitatsverlag, 1991), p.359.


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