Medieval runes -again

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Medieval runes -again

Postby Johan Käll » 13 Nov 2008, 16:14

Since the last post evaporated and i have had some questions about it i'll make a new one.

The runes of scandinavia did not die out after christianisation around 1100. It flourished as the way normal people wrote to eachother. The latin writing was used for official writing and legal dokuments. For writing letters to eachothers, notes or spreading gossip the runes where used. They where also used to mark things. The most common being 'Johan A mik' (A being short for Aaga-äga,) meaning "Johan owns me".

Notes where easy to write since runes are made for being carved on wood (that is why they dont have any horisontal lines. These would dissapear into the grain of the wood). Since everyone hhas a knife, you could just take up a stick and carv the runes into and send it away to the reciever. It is thought that the litteracy with runes where quite high. Much higher then with latin letters. runesticks with gossip have been found here end there and also doodles and other notes like one found in Bergens drinkinghousedistrict stating "Gyda says you are to go home now" on the back someone has tried to carve some runes, but they are not readable..

So, runes where in common use during the 14:th century in Sweden and scandinavia. They where used for the everyday notes and small letters. Also for marking your belongings and to do grafitti, mostly in churches it seems. The latest use of runes among the swedes are the so called "dalrunor" (named after the province of Dalarna where they where used) that was in use well into the 19:th century.

In the middleages the runes had evolved to include most of the letters from the latin alphabet. In the early runelines many runes stood for the similar sounded letters, now you marked what kind they where by making small marks on them, stinging them.


Our group uses runes for marking stuff and to write small things on stuff that is only meant to be read by other soldiers and such. Decorative writing is made with latin letters.
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Johan Käll
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