Futharks

The Futhark or rather a grouping of futharks dependant on which time line you are referring to were used extensively by the early Northern European Germanic peoples (the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish) around the 3rd through to the 17th centuries A.D. Approximately 3500 runic stone monuments, mostly in the Younger Futhark exists in Europe, concentrated mostly in Sweden and Norway. Some of the more recent theories about the origins of the runes are:

1) The Elder Futhark is of the same origin as the ancient Turkish inscriptions of the Gokturk alphabet.

2) The runes were introduced to Scandinavia during the same period that spiral ornaments were introduced to Crete-somewhere between 1800 and 400 B.C.E. Evidence shows that the Goths were already familiar with the art of runes before they left Scandinavia, between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E.

3) The Norwegian runes are identical with runes used in Semitic-language areas, such as Trojan Asia Minor and Canaan (Palestine) as far back in history as 2000 B.C.E. To this conclusion, some scholars postulate that the runes were not inspired by the Greek and Latin alphabets, but that they all developed from the same original, Oriental writing systems. Some of the first Norwegian runic inscriptions were written in a Semitic language. New archaeological finds suggests that people from the Mediterranean Sea area often travelled north on trading tours.runes were a primary means of passing down information through the generations. Historical evidence indicates that initially they were a series of sounds and postures related to natural and divine forces, which later evolved into the letters of the alphabet used by the earliest Germanic tribes of Northern Europe. Prior to 200 B.C.E., tribes all the way from Romania to the British Isles, France, and northernmost Scandinavia had all developed the use of runes.

To my mind, there is an elementary misunderstanding in many (perhaps most) of the books on runes currently available, outside the specialist academic works. This is the treatment of “the runes” as if there were a fixed set of signs with some immutable core of “meaning” assigned to them, some changeless essence which can be captured and reduced to a key-word or two. Runes, being the product of human intellectual effort, have been subject to the same evolutionary processes as any other aspect of material or ideological culture: they have changed and grown, just as the societies which used them changed and grew. This fundamental fact appears to have been overlooked in a great deal of the popular literature.
Ref: Runes: Literacy in the Germanic Iron Age by Stephen Pollington 2016

Rune Origins

This volatile area of discussion amongst runologist has and will always be a hotly debated subject area. Amongst rune scholars the origins of runes will continue to remain a mystery due to the scant availability of evidence both in archaeology or the written text. However it must be said that similarities exists of runes being like the Latin and Greek alphabets systems and therefore given rise to theories that the runes must have come from these alphabets. More information is coming to pass to suggest that the age of the runes must have been older then previously believed. At this point they are being connected to some of the earliest writing systems. I must point out that the following information is not new and actually already known but ignored for some time by academics. This begs the question of why? I shall therefore attempt only to stimulate the reader with some qualifying recent although not new thoughts on the subject. I leave it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions. It really depends on whose theories you choose to believe.

The Golden horns of Gallehus were two golden horns, one shorter than the other, discovered in North Slesvig, or Schleswig, in Denmark. The horns were believed to date to the fifth century (Germanic Iron Age). The horns were made of solid gold and constructed from rings, each covered with figures soldered onto the rings, with yet more figures carved into the rings between the larger figures. These figures probably depict some actual events or Norse saga which is now unknown to us. The most probable theory is that the illustrations comes from Celtic mythology rather than Norse: the horns portray a man with horns and a necklace, very similar in appearance to the Celtic god Cernunnos (especially compared to the Cernunnos portrait on the Gundestrup cauldron, also found in Denmark), and several iconographic elements such as a he-goat, snakes and deer, commonly associated with Cernunnos. Several other archaeological findings from southern Scandinavia also show influence from Celtic religion.

This inscription dates from as far back as the 4th century, yet we can still see four major stressed syllables, connected by alliteration. The half-lines appear to be both of type A, the most common. Clearly, by the time the first lines of verse in English, German, and Norse arrive on the scene, the Germanic poetic tradition was already ancient.

The first horn (the long, intact one) was 75,8 centimeter measured on the outer perimeter, the opening diameter was 10,4 centimeter, and weighed 3,2 kg. This horn was discovered on July 20 1639 by a peasant girl named Kirsten Svendsdatter in the village of Gallehus, near Møgeltønder when she saw it protrude above the ground. She wrote a letter to the Danish king Christian IV of Denmark who retrieved it and in turn gave it to the Danish prince (also named Christian), who refurbished it into a drinking horn. The Danish antiquarian Olaus Wormius wrote a treatise named De aureo cornu on the first Golden horn in 1641. The first preserved sketch of the horn comes from this treatise. In 1678 it was described in the scientific journal Journal de Savants.

Odenstedt argues for a theory based on A. Baeksted's book "Målruner > og troldruner, 1952. He writes:

"It has been claimed that the reason why none of the supposed runic letters, list of customers, etc., have been preserved is that they were written on wood and have all rotted away. But against this it may be objected (as Baeksted did) that it is not feasible to postulate that what has been lost had an entirely different character from what has been preserved. Germanic spiritual culture was traditionally oral. The art of writing was a luxury which Germanic people had seen Romans practice and which they no doubt envied and tried to imitate, with very limited success."

Ref: Odenstedt, Bengt. On the Origin and Early History of the Runic Script. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1990