Runes

Category archives for Runes

Secrets of the Runic Lion

The Lion of Pireus is a large 4th century BC marble statue that was moved from Pireus, the port of Athens, to Venice in 1688. It is now at the city’s Arsenal. The Lion has unmistakeable Swedish 11th century runic inscriptions which have been known to Scandinavian scholars since 1798/99. Clearly they have something to…

We interrupt this transmission for a puerile message from Medieval Bergen. It was found carved with runes on a stick at the Hanseatic docks. ion silkifuþ a mek en guþormr fuþcllæikir ræist mik en : ion fuþkula ræþr m(e)k (N B434) “John Silkencunt owns me and Guttorm Cuntlicker carved me and John Cuntball reads me”…

The Stone of Sälna is a runestone (U 323) erected about AD 1000 at Sälna hamlet where a major road crossed Hargsån stream in Skånela parish, Uppland. (This is not far from where Arlanda airport now sprawls.) None of this is unusual. But the stone’s great height, its inscription and its later fate are. Here’s…

Re-Used Picture Stone Paper On-Line

My paper on the re-use of Late Iron Age picture stones during that same period (mainly in late male graves) has been published in English and Swedish parallel versions of Gotländskt Arkiv 2012. That’s the annual of the Gotland County Museum. Have a look! Questions and comments are most welcome.

Here’s an extremely useful resource. The Swedish National Heritage Board has scanned the great multivolume corpus publication of Swedish runic inscriptions, Sveriges runinskrifter, and put it on-line for free. Currently as PDF files, but in the future there will also be a structured database. Though the PDF:s have been run through optical character recognition, they…

Airport Runestone

I’ve written before about the archaeological landscape surrounding Arlanda International Airport north of Stockholm. Following on yesterday’s post about the fake archaeology in Oslo airport, here’s a piece of landscape that has been moved inside Arlanda’s terminal 2. It’s an 11th century runestone commemorating one of the men who died on Ingvar the Far-travelled’s disastrous…

The Kensington runestone of Minnesota is a rather obvious 19th century fake. But in a recent paper in Saga och Sed 2010, Mats G. Larsson shows something less obvious: the hidden signature of the stone’s carver, who also was its finder. Olof Öhman came from Forsa in Hälsingland, central Sweden. He claimed to have found…

If we look only at contemporaneous written evidence and disregard kings, Iarlabanki Ingefastson is probably the most copiously documented Scandinavian of the Viking Period. But his name does not occur even once on vellum. His memory lives entirely in the many rune stones he commissioned. Iarlabanki (Jarlabanke in modern Swedish) was a major landowner in…

Kalv’s Runestone

Driving through Hagby parish in Uppland on a tiny road Friday, I was lucky enough to cross the bridge at Focksta right at the moment when the afternoon sun hit this lovely runestone straight on. I didn’t even have to get out of the car to take the photograph. Dating from the early 11th century,…

The recently found Norwegian 5th century runestone of Hogganvik carries a memorial inscription and so might be expected to have stood on or near a grave. My buddy Frans-Arne Stylegar has excavated the site and sadly found no preserved burial, but he did find the original stone setting of the monument. This is a rare…