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Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum plus. 2014. No.5

E. A. Melnikova (Moscow, Russian Federation)

“I remember you...”: Everyday Runic Writing in Scandinavia




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Pages: 213-223


The article deals with the emergence and spread of everyday runic writing in Scandinavian countries. Archaeological study that started after a devastating fire in Bryggen (Bergen, Norway) revealed more than 700 wooden sticks, planks and bones with runic inscriptions, and these finds were supplemented by discoveries in Sweden (Lödöse, Lund, Sigtuna, etc.), Norway (Trondheim), Denmark (Hedeby, Ribe). Everyday runic writing emerged in the ninth century (Hedeby and Old Ladoga sticks). It differs in its paleography (short-twig runes) from the writing on memorial stones (long-twig runes) and it was used in everyday life. These inscriptions are of various contents. Business correspondence, debt records, love letters and magic incantations dominate the corpus. Many objects contain alphabets, mostly 16-signs Futhark, whole or fragmentary, and syllabaries which served for training purposes but could be used as magic formulas. Runic alphabet could have been used also for writing down Latin texts, prayers, burial inscriptions, etc.


Keywords: Scandinavia, Runic alphabet, short-twig runes, business correspondence, debt records, love letters, Futhark


Information about author:

Elena Melnikova
(Moscow, Russian Federation). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences. Leninsky Pr., 32a, Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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