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: 2016-12-30
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History of runic alphabets ()
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Word Doc



History of runic alphabets


Fulfilled by the second year student of


Rostov State Pedagogical University


Translation Department


Neustroev Cyril


Checked by






From ancient times mankind was appealed by unknown writings:

half-forgotten antique languages, Egypt hieroglyphs, Indian

inscriptions The fate of runes was much happy their sense wasnt lost

in the course of time, even when Latin alphabet became dominating one in

Europe. For instance, runes were used in calendars till the end of the

18-th c.


Modern linguists think that runes posses another kind of meaning, which

we cannot find in ideograms, hieroglyphs or in modern exotic alphabets

this meaning exists in subconsciousness level. Runes were the

personification of the surrounding world, essence of outlook. With the

help of special links between runes a man could express nearly

everything, compiling them (so called combined runes). In different

times runes could change their meaning, so we can say this adjusting

system created dozens of meanings of one and the same symbol. (Linguists

find confirmation of this theory in the following example every rune

in different languages had separate and original meaning, which didnt

fully coincide with another one in the second language.


Like all others components of language, runes endured numerous changes:

in form, style of writing, system of sounds and letters, which expressed

them. We can say, that these alphabets took wide spreading not only

among Scandinavian and German tribes, but we can also trace its

penetration in Celtic and Slavonic languages. Now runes keep their main

original meaning - in the beginning they were the symbols of

fortunetelling lore with sacred sense and mystic signs (The general

matter why they didnt get wide diffusion before AD). Even the word

rune corresponds as secret (compare old Celtic run, middle welsh

rown, modern German raunen). The last 1000 years in Iceland runes

have been used for divination. In Anglo-Saxon England the hours of king

council were called runes.


The most important sources about runic history are ancient texts of

Scandinavian pagan religion Old Edda by Brynolf Swesson and Lesser

Edda by Snorri Sturlusson. They were two missionaries who discovered

these manuscripts in the time of Christian expansion. Another documents

containing the information about runes origin are Northern king sagas

Red leather and Icelandic kin chronicles. Tombstones, altars, pagan

pillars called runic stones played quite catholic role in scientific

researches - usually they are found dappled with miscellaneous writings

(Gothland, Upland, Norway). The most famous is Cilwer stone, which dates

from the 5-th c. So we can find a lot of writings on jewels and weapon,

for barbarians believed things had to posses their own names



German and Slavonic runic writing was the letter system of peculiar

look, accounted by the writing technique on bone, wood and metal.

Nowadays we have the main runic alphabet, consisting of 24 signs, may be

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