NORWEGIAN RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS
Here I will introduce to you some Norwegian runic inscriptions. The translation of these inscriptions are often very uncertain and the researchers often disagree over the right meaning. Therefore I will have more than one interpretation of the inscription in some cases.
When I reproduce a runic inscription with the Latin alphabet it may look like this:
?iR hlaiwidaR þar, or *faihijan, or a(n)sugasdiR
????? = unreadable runes.
?iR hlaiwidaR = the letter l is here an uncertain rune.
* in front of one word = the word is not covered, but constructed.
(n), (was) = an inserted letter or word which do not exist in the inscription.
R = the Algiz-rune (the Raidho-rune is written as r)
[--- = the inscription continue, but it's lost.
ng = the Ingwaz-rune.
Norse language = gno.
Native Scandinavian language = nSl.
Masculine gender (word) = m.
Female gender (word) = f.
Neuter gender (word) = n.
INSCRIPTIONS WITH THE ELDER FUTHARK
AMLA RUNE STONE
The rune stone was found at the Amla farm in Kaupanger in Sogndal, Sogn and Fjordane. The rune stone was found laying with the runic inscription upturned. The language and the design of the runes tells us that the inscription can't be dated younger than approximately 450 AD.
The inscription says ?iR hlaiwidaR þar.
It may be a grave or memorial stone. The inscription may be interpreted "?????iR entombed there". Perhaps the inscription tells about a person, whose name ends with -iR, who was entombed far away from his native district. There are no marked graves in the neighborhood, only another laying stone without runes.
BARMEN RUNE STONE
The rune stone was found on the Barmen isle in Selje, Sogn and Fjordane. The stone is 1,55 meter high, the width 60 - 70 cm and the thickness is approximately 20 cm. Close by, 50 meters beyond, stands another stone monument without runes.
The runes are written vertically and the inscription should be read from the top to bottom in a clockwise direction. It is dated to the first half of the 400's AD. Usually the inscription is read:
111ek þirbijaR ru
Carl Marstrander identified þirbijaR with the verb in the nSl. *þirbijan (gno. þjarfr) which means "to make powerless, inane", and translate the inscription as: "I þirbijaR, i.e. he that makes people powerless, (wrote these) ru(nes)." He took it for granted that the two last runes ru are read as a shortening of runoR, which means runes.
This inscription may have been written as a curse against to those who would interfere with his ownership of the isle.
BELLAND RUNE STONE
The original position of this 1,65 m x 70-90 cm x 20-30 cm stone is unknown, but when it was found it was being used as a bridge crossing a creek on the Belland farm in Lyngdal, Vest-Agder. The runic inscription was laying upturned. It is dated to approximately 500 AD, but it might be older.
keþan might be the genitive of a week inflect m. word which would be in nSl. *keþa, (gno. *kjaði). The name is present in the farm name Kiaðabærghi, now Kjaberg in South-Odal.
The runic inscription may therefore be translated "Keþa's (grave)"
BJØRNERUD GOLD BRACTEATE
Bracteates were used as amulets and carried around the neck. This one was found on the Bjørnerud farm in Sande, Vestfold. On the bracteate alu is written in runes.
Some maintains that alu is a magic word, other maintain it means "protection". Still others translate it "ale" - beer. Read also about the runic inscription on the Førde rune fishing line sinker, Årstad rune stone, Elgsem rune stone and Fosse bronze fittings.
THE BRATSBERG BUCKLE
The 13,8 cm long Bratsberg buckle is made of solid silver, and was found on the Bratsberg farm in Gjerpen, Telemark. The runic inscription is written on the buckle's back side, and should probably not be read by anyone other than the owner. The runes may have been written to give magic protection and security to the owner.
The inscription is dated to 400-500 AD and says:
The runic inscription has been interpreted as "I (am) erilar", "I (am the) Herule" or "I (am the) runemaster". The inscription has two bindrunes - eker and aR.
The Herules were a North-Germanic tribe well known from pre-Viking period's history. In German this tribe is called Heruler, in Latin Heruli; Eruler and in Scandinavian languages Heruler.
It has been suggested that the Norwegian earl-title has its origin in the Herules, but this has not been proven 100%.
erilaR /irilaR inscriptions are also found at Veblungnes in Romsdal,
Norheimsund at the Hardangerfjord and at Valsfjord in South-Trøndelag,
all from before 500 AD. The inscription is also found in Denmark and Sweden, ek erilaR is also found in younger versions.
THE BRATSBERG STONE
This stone has been lost, but it is described in some letters, among others one dated "Klæbu rectory Dec. 1810". This letter tells that the rune stone was found at the Bratsberg farm nearby Trondheim, South-Trøndelag. The inscription is dated to the European migration period.
From the drawing in the letter the inscription seems to be þaliR, which could be a name of a man.
Modern researchers think that instead it might be waliR, because the wynn-rune (w) might have been easily mistaken for the thurs-rune (þ). waliR, (gno. valr), means either falcon or men fallen in battle. Falcon - or in Norwegian Falk, is a well known man's name in Norway.
BY RUNIC FLAGSTONE
This fine-grained granulite flagstone is 1,68 m long, 1 m at the widest place and 23-24 cm thick. It was found in one of two gravemounds in the neighborhood of the By farm in Sigdal, Buskerud. The runes are written from left to right on one of the stone's narrow sides.
The inscription is divided into one long line and one short line, but the runes are very damaged by wear and are therefore difficult to read. The inscription dates to the last half of the 500's AD.
The long line: ek irilaR hroRaR hroReR orte þat aRina ????????
The short line: rmþe
The interpretation of the complete runic inscription is very uncertain, but the part which is possible to interpret says:
"I (am) the iril. Hror, son of Hror, made this flagstone ?????"
BØ RUNE STONE
The Bø rune stone was originally lying on a gravemound, but was for several years used as a bridge crossing a creek between the Bø and Frøyland farms in Soknedal, Rogaland. The inscription is written from left to right and is dated to approximately 500 AD.
The inscription says "Hnabud's grave".
EIDSVÅG RUNE STONE
This 3,20 m high, 50 cm wide and 23 cm thick stone has been placed in the middle of circle of stones on the farm Eidsvåg in Åsane, Hordaland. The stone circle was 4,5 m in diameter and marks a cremation grave.
The inscription has 7 runes written down the stone clockwise.
It is believed that this is a man's name, which should mean "the movable".
EINANG RUNE STONE
This rune stone is now located where it was found, approximately 250 m above the Slindrefjord in Valdres, Oppland. Along the mountain ridge there are several gravemounds. Although the rune stone is now standing upright, has it probably had been originally laying on a grave with the runic inscription downwards. The inscription is dated to the 300's AD, and is one of the oldest runic inscriptions in Scandinavia.
Sophus Bugge read the inscription as dagaR þaR runo faihido, i.e. "(I) Dag painted these runes"
Eirik Moltke reconstructed the inscription to get ek (gu)dagastiR runo faihido, i.e. "I Gudgæst wrote the rune". Gudgæst is a man's name and means "god guest".
ELGESEM RUNE STONE
This rune stone was found in a gravemound at the Elgesem farm in Sandar, Vestfold. The inscription is written counter-clockwise and should be read from the top downwards. It is dated to the first part of 400's AD.
111The inscription says: alu
What alu means is disputed, but we encounter the word in several runic inscriptions in Scandinavia in the period from 200 AD to 600 AD. In Norway we find the word "alu" on the so-called Bjørnerud gold bracteate (Vestfold), the Førde runic fishing sinker (Sogn and Fjordane), the Årstad rune stone (Rogaland) and the Fosse bronze fittings (Rogaland).
Some think alu was a magic word to keep evil powers away from the grave and the dead, and to protect the humans from ghosts, especially, as in this case, when the runes were written on a gravestone.
Others think alu means ale - beer. Beer played an important part in the old Norse society, especially in important rites and celebrations, as for example, childbirth, funeral feasts, weddings and sacrificial rituals.
FLØKSAND MEAT KNIFE
The meat knife, a bone scraping knife broken into several pieces, was found in a woman's grave in Fløksand, Meland in Nordhordaland. It was found in a cremation urn along with the woman's burnt bones, a bone comb, one or two hairpins, remnants of an other similar meat knife and remnants of a bear's claw. The bear's claw might indicate that the body was lying on a bearskin rug when she was cremated.
The inscription which dates to the 300's AD, is written in nSl. It's written from right to left. The picture below shows how the inscription is situated on the meat knife.
111lina laukaR f
aR in laukaR is written as a bindrune, while the f-rune is written upside down. The two words lina and laukaR means respectively flax and onion, while the single Fehu-rune might stand for its symbolic meaning - livestock or riches.
Flax and onion are well known preserving agents, and onion was also used as a medicinal plant. It is believed that lina laukaR was an ancient fertility charm. Bracteates which have the inscription laukaR probably were used to bring the carrier good health and strength.
FOSSE BRONZE FITTINGS
A little bronze mounting or fitting with runes was found in one of the gravemounds on the Fosse farm at Time in Jæren, Rogaland. There were also human and animal bones, remnants of earthenware bowls, a little bronze buckle and a bear's claw. The bear's claw might show that the body was lying on a bear's fur rug when it was cremated.
The inscription is dated to the beginning of 500's AD., and may be read ka???alu. The only certain inscription is the word alu, which some translate "protection", and others "ale".
GJERSVIK MEAT KNIFE
Another meat knife was found on the Gjersvik farm in Tysnes, Sunnhordland, which is dated to the middle of 400's AD. The meat knife is so damaged that inscription's first part, which is written to the left, not is legible. But the second part consists of 10 Laguz-runes. This inscription is often seen in association with the lina LaukaR-formula, because the Laguz-rune's symbolic value is onion, vigorous growth, flax.
The whetstone was found on the Holm farm at Bindal in Beitstad, Nordland. The incription of three runes says:
The runic inscription has not interpreted with any certainty.
Picture of Holm whetstone
KJØLVIK RUNE STONE
This rune stone of coarse-grained granite is 2,70 m high, 53 cm wide and 23 cm thick. It was found on the Kjølvik farm at Strand, north-east of Stavanger, Rogaland. The people on the farm related that the rune stone once was placed over a little tomb. The inscription is dated to the first half of the 400's AD, and is divided into three lines which is written left
turned from the bottom upwards.
hlaaiwido magu minino
The runic inscription can be translated:
"Hadulaik (is lying here).
entomb my son."
KÅRSTAD ROCK INSCRIPTION
The Kårstad rock inscription was damaged when they blew up the mountain in 1898 in order to make a road between Innvik and Utvik at Stryn in Nordfjord, Sogn and Fjordane. The inscription has been reconstructed of various fragments.
The Kårstad inscription is one of the few examples where there both halristinger and runes on the same rock plane. There are 12 figures of ships in addition to the runic inscription, but only 7 of the figures are fully finished. The runic inscription is dated to the earliest part of the 400's AD.
The runes are between a swastika (sun-wheel) and the ship figures and is written from right to left.
aljamarkiR in the first line is put together of alja which means "another or other" and markiR which means "land-, forest-, border region". It might therefore be translated "I, who come from an another land", "I, the foreigner" or "I, the stranger".
The second line is not definitively translated yet, but some interpret it "warrior". Magnus Olsen read it as baijaR and saw it in association with a Celtic tribe who lived in Böhmen until 60 AD, while Carl Marstrander only interpreted it as magic runes - baijsR
MYKLEBOSTAD RUNE STONE
This rune stone had its origin in a stone circle which marked a grave in the neighborhood of the Myklebostad farm in Vistdal, Møre and Romsdal. The stone, and the inscription, is today divided into two pieces.
The inscription on the first part, which is dated to approximately 400 AD, is written
clockwise of the runes with an average height of 8 cm. Where the second part begins the runes are very hard to read. The picture below shows the two pieces put together.
With reservations, the inscription might be read as a(n)sugastR hlaiwa. aih ek soman bi wor(u)malaiba which means "Ásgest. Grave. I demand for an allowance from Ormleif"
MØGEDAL RUNE STONE
This rune stone was found north of the Møgedal farm in Helleland, Rogaland. The stone is of light granite with the dimensions of 3,04m x 1,12 m x 0,35 m. The inscription which is written left turned from the top downwards, dates to not later than 500 AD, but to judge by the appearance the design of the runes it may be older.
laiþigaR is unquestionably a man's name in the nominative singular and is derived from the nSl. form of the gno. adjective leiðr which means "unpleasant, intolerable, disgusting, hated". Negative characteristics are sometimes found in Scandinavian proper names.
NORDHUGLO RUNE STONE
Most likely this 3 m long and 70 cm wide stone was originally placed on a gravemound by the sea on the Nordhuglo farm on the Huglo Island in Stord, Hordaland. It look like the stone has been naturally split out of the mountain, because there are only two places which give an impression of having been carved by man.
The inscription is written left turned from the bottom upwards, but some runes might have been lost because an approximately 20 cm long piece seems to has been fallen off after the last rune.
111ek gudija ungandiR and further ih or im
ek means "I" and gudija is the corresponding word to the gothic word gudja which we know from the 300's AD as meaning "priest or sacrificial priest", which corresponds with the gno. goði or the Norwegian gode. The gno.
gandr, which means "sorcery" (Norse magic acceptable similar to Lapp or Saami magic), have we in ungandiR. However, ungandiR might also be the name of a Danish king from the 600's AD, which in Latin form is Ongendus.
The end of the inscription, im or ih is interpreted in several ways. Magnus Olsen choose to read ih and held it to be iH(uglo) - i.e. "at Huglo".
Others read im - i.e. "I am".
We have then the following possible interpretations of the Nordhuglo runic inscription:
"I (am) the priest, (I am) invulnerable to sorcery, at Huglo."
"I (am) the priest, (I am) invulnerable to sorcery."
OPEDAL RUNE STONE
South-west of the Opedal farm in Ullensvang, Hordaland at Alavoll there are 5 big gravemounds. Approximately 20 m from the gravemounds the Opedal rune stone was found. The runes' design and language is nSl. and the inscription is dated to the beginning of the 400's AD.
The inscription has 34 runes and says:
Line 1: birgngguboroswestarminu
Line 2: liubumeRwage
There are several interpretation proposals. One of them is Birg, Inguboro, swestar minu liubu meR Wage which is translated "Help, Ingubora, my dear sister, me Wage."
Like other runic grave inscriptions, this inscription was not meant to be read by the living. It was written to protect the grave's peace and to secure the dead's favor for the survivors. Probably was this the help Wage wanted from his dead sister.
REISTAD RUNE STONE
The rune stone was found on the Reistad farm at the Hidra isle, Vest-Agder. The inscription has three lines where the runes are written clockwise. In accordance with the rune's design and the language the inscription is dated to the first half of the 500's AD.
Sophus Bugge reads the three lines:
Line 1: iuþingaR
Line 2: ik wakraR:unnam
Line 3: wraita
Line 1 is probably the name of the dead. Line 2 and line 3 can be translated "I (am) Wakr (I) know the art of writing" or "I (am) Wakr (I) did the writing".
ROSSELAND RUNE STONE
The fallos or sickle look-alike stone was found on the Rosseland farm at Norheimsund in Hardanger, Hordaland. It's nearly 1,5 m long, 40 cm on the widest and 25 cm on the thickest. The inscription is written in nSl. and the runes are written left turned. The inscription is dated to the 400's AD.
The inscription says: ek wagigaR irilaR agilamudon
After ek most often follows the rune-magician's name or the grade of his dignity, and because the inscription contains iralaR, wagigaR should be the runemaster's secular or religious name. According to the runic writing rules "n"
should be left out before "d", and the next word agilamudon, might therefore be agilamundon which is the genitive of a woman's name *Agilamundo
The inscription might therefore be translated:
"I (am) WagigaR, (I am) Agilamundo's eril (= runemaster)".
The Rosseland rune stone is the only inscription showing an eril in a woman's service. It also reveals a fertility cult which, according to Magnus Olsen, had a center among the Hords
(the local native people) some miles south of Rosseland at Tysnesøya - the old Njarðarlog.
STENSTAD RUNE STONE
The rune stone was found on the Stenstad farm in Gjerpen, Telemark. It is 60 cm long, 55 cm wide and 63 cm thick, and was curiously found high up in the gravemound some distance above the actual tomb. The grave contained among other grave gifts, a cruciform bronze needle, a
gilded silver jewel, pearls and a finger ring of gold. Therefore the grave is believed to be a woman's tomb. The runic inscription, which is written clockwise, is dated to approximately to 450 AD.
igijon might be a inflection of a woman's name *Igijo. The meaning of halaR is more uncertain, but it might respond to the gno. hallr which means "stone". So the inscription might be translated "Igijo's stone".
SUNDE RUNE STONE
The rune stone is of green sandstone and seems to have been the top of a stone monument. It was found in a grave scree outermost on Herneset, the eastern point of the Askrova isle close off the Førdefjord, Sogn and Fjordane. The grave scree in which the rune stone was found contained a woman's tomb, probably from the 500's AD. Nearby there are 8 - 10 other
The inscription is written left turned and starts at the top and runs downwards. The inscription is written in nSl. and is dated to the 400's AD.
widugastiR is probably a man's name equal to the old German name Widugast, but it does not exist in Scandinavian, neither as person's name nor as a place name. But names with -gestr is well known in Scandinavia. The first part *widu would in gno. be viðr which means "forest", and the name might therefore mean "The guest from the forest".
In gno. would this name be *Viðgestr. The rune stone is found in a woman's tomb, so widugastiR is most likely the runemaster, and not the name of the dead woman.
THE TANEM RUNIC INSCRIPTION
The inscription was found on the Tanem farm in Klæbu, South-Trøndelag.
The inscription is not finely interpreted.
Some proposal to interpretations:
- mairle, mairlingu, both as a woman's name.
- With exchange of two runes: marilingu, then as a woman's name.
- With the first rune as a bindrune: ek Airlingr which is translated "I Erling"
TOMSTAD RUNE STONE
The rune stone was found on the Tomstad farm at Lista, Vest-Agder, where it was lying upon a raised plane the size of a sitting-room floor together with some other stones. This was probably a stone "setting" or circle which marked a grave. The preserved rune stone represents only a fragment of the original rune stone, and the beginning of the inscription is missing. The inscription is dated by 500 AD. at the latest.
The two first runes, an is the genitive form of a name which has been lost in the text, while waraR is the gno. f. word vór which means "landing place for boats" or "landing place of stone (built up on both sides to prop up the boat)". In the Tomstad inscription this might mean a "stone setting around a tomb" - those stone settings had often formed the shape of a circle or a ship.
The inscription might be interpreted "????'s burial place".
TUNE RUNE STONE
The Tune rune stone has runic inscription on two sides, the so-called A-side and B-side. The inscription is written in the stone's vertical direction, and the lines are read in turns from the left to the right and from the right to the left - or "boustrophedon", as this is
On the A-side the inscription has two lines (A1 and A2) . When you are standing in front of the rune stone, you have to start to read the line to the right (A1) from the top and downwards and continue to read the line to the left (A2) from the bottom and upwards.
This might be interpreted:
ek WiwaR after Woðuriðe witaðah laiban wor hto [runoR].
Which means "I widow of Vodurid Lags-Felle created runes".
The B-side has three lines (B1, B2 og B3). When you are standing in front of the rune stone you have to begin by reading the line furthest to the right (B1) which starts at the bottom and runs upwards, the line in the middle (B2) starts at the top and runs downwards and the line to the left (B3) begins at the bottom and runs upwards.
(2,34m x 70 cm x 8 cm):
This might be interpreted:
???? Woðuriðe staina þrijoR dohtriR da(i)liðun/daliðun arbija (a)sijostrR[?] arbijano.
Which means word by word:
"??? for WoduridaR the stone | three daughters shared/ did (pleasant) | the funeral feast/ the inheritance they ?/ the nearest/ the most distinguished of the heiresses".
The researchers dispute the interpretation of the B-side, and there are several proposals to an interpretation of the text, but we know it tells about three daughters and a man who is dead, and perhaps the inheritance the three daughters get from him.
The Tune rune stone is now placed at The University Museum of Antiquities in Oslo. The inscription is dated to the 400's AD.
THE RUNE STONES TØRVIKA A AND TØRVIKA B
The two rune stones, Tørvika A and Tørvika B, were found on the Tørvika farm at Kvam in Hardanger, Hordaland. Both rune stones had been part of the walls in a robbed tomb-chamber. In addition to the rune stones, fragments of a cinerary urn, horse teeth, remnants of iron tools and cremated bones were also found. The inscriptions are dated to the first half of the 400's AD and the language is nSl.
The Tørvika A inscription is written left turned on a stone of quartzslate
If we follow the writing rules of the runes, the text would be landawarijaR, which might be a man's name meaning "land protector, land occupier". What the Uruz-rune lookalike mark above the man's name means is uncertain. The runes are up to 15 cm high.
The Tørvika B inscription's runes are approximately 4-6 cm high and are written on a stone of micaslate (2,70m x 68 cm x 9 cm). The inscription stand outs from other inscriptions because there are more twigs carved on the runes than there
should be - what I call "irrelevant twigs". In addition, there are also parts of runes which have been left out - what I call "missing twigs". This makes the inscription very difficult to read. Probably was this done in order to hide the inscription's meaning. We have here what we in Norwegian call "lønnruner", which means "secret runes".
The runic inscription is approximately like this. The unbroken red lines are drawn as the twigs which are interpreted as "the irrelevant twigs". The broken red lines is drawn as the twigs which is interpreted as "the missing twigs". According to this theory we come to the following proposal to a left turned runic text:
111heþro dweno k
The inscription might be translated "Leave (here you will grow numb), Kenaz". The last k-rune has to be interpreted by its name and its symbol value. Kenaz stands for "boil, festering, blister". If the inscription is meant for the dead, the k-rune, i.e. the spirit the k-rune represents - Kenaz - should provide that this happen. But the runic text might also be meant that the evil spirit Kenaz who caused this is dead.
This inscription can, of course, never be certainly interpreted. For example, it could be that some of the "irrelevant twigs" are part of a bindrune. Then we would have a unknown number of
VALSFJORD ROCK INSCRIPTION
On a vertical rocky wall nearby the Oskvoll farm at Valsfjord in Bjugn, South-Trøndelag, there is a runic inscription with two lines written left turned. The first line can be read
ek haugustaldaR þewaR godagas and is interpreted "I *Hogstaldr (is) *Godag's man (servant)".
The second line consists 8 indistinct runes, but the inscription seems to start with an e and ending with a R. Therefore some hold it as ek erilaR. The
inscription is dated to the European migration period.
VEBLUNGSNES ROCK INSCRIPTION
The runic rock inscription at Veblugsnes in Romsdal fell down into the sea in 1935, but there are some pictures preserved of the inscription. All the runes, with the exception of the last rune, are carved quite clearly and readable. The inscription is written clockwise with 16-17 cm high runes. It is dated to the first half of the 500's, but might be older.
111ek irilaR wiwila
The inscription might be translated "I the eril (runemaster) Wiwila", but there seems to be a n-rune after wiwila, so the text might be translated "I am Wiwila's eril".
VETTELAND RUNE STONE
We calculate that the Vetteland rune stone was broken into four fragments. Only two of the fragments have so far been found on the Vetteland farm at Ogna, Rogaland. The runic inscription consists three lines, and it has been possible to reconstruct the text only up to a point. The runes are written clockwise and is dated to the first half of the 300's AD.
...flagda faikinaR ist
...magoR minas staina
The inscription might be interpreted:
"(My son) has been visited by witchcraft.
(I raised) my son's stone.
(I ...)-daR painted (these runes, created this formula, executed this ritual)".
But quite certainly, this inscription cannot be properly read before the two last fragments are found.
ØVRE STABU, RUNIC INSCRIPTION ON A SPEARHEAD
On the Øvre Stabu farm at Eastern Toten, Oppland, in one of two graves, a 28 cm long spearhead with a runic inscription was found. In the grave they also found other weapons and fragments of weapons, more or less damaged by fire and corrosion. The tomb and the inscription are dated to the last half of the 200's AD. Thus it is one of the oldest runic
inscriptions in Norway.
The nSl. word raunijaR is similar to the gno. reynir, which means "one who tries". raunijaR might be the name of the spear.
ÅRSTAD RUNE STONE
The rune stone of light granite (1,2 m x 0,78 m x 0,13 m) was found in a gravemound on the Årstad farm in Sokndal, Rogaland. The rune stone was found upright in the western wall of the gravemound's build-up tomb with the runic inscription facing the tomb. It is difficult to decide the age of the inscription more precisely than to the European migration period.
hiwigaR or hiþigaR
The first line probably consist of a man's name in the nominative, perhaps the runmaster's. There are doubts if the third rune should be read as a w or þ.
The second line consist sar and alu. sar in old German might mean "at once", but others read it as þar which mean "there" or "here". alu is interpreted by some as a magic word which means "defense, protection", and others hold it to mean "ale" - beer. The third line is probably a man's name in the genitive.
The inscription might maybe be interpreted:
"Hiwig (the runemaster)
Here is the funeral feast hold
INSCRIPTIONS WITH THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD RUNES
EGGJA RUNIC FLAGSTONE (Eggjum rune stone)
The Eggja runic flagstone was found on the Eggja farm in Sogndal in Sogn. The 1,5 m long flagstone was laying flat upon a man's grave with the runic side downwards. The runic inscription contains approximately 200 runes, and is until now the longest runic inscription with the elder runic alphabet. Because of the use of the elder Futhark mixed up with younger runes - which I call the transitional period runes - and a younger form of language, the inscription is dated to the 600's AD.
Parts of the inscription are readable, while other parts are impossible to interpret with certainty, because several of the runes are so faint that they are too impossible to read. There have been several interpretation proposals made. Here only one of them is introduced, so you should read the interpretation with
The inscription has three lines, two long lines and one short line. The lower long line which is written clockwise should be read first, the upper long line which runs from the left to the right should be read second, and finally as the third, the short line between the two long lines and to the right of the horse figure. The short line is written upside down and left
The inscription is written in elder gno. and has besides the elder runes, k-runes with staves, the R-runes are written upside down and the new oral cavity a-rune lays side by side with the old a-rune which now express a "nasal a". The b-rune is used for the "p-sound" in kaiba and warb, in fokl the k-rune is used for the "g-sound" and in lat the t-rune is used for the "d-sound".
A convincing word division in standardized elder gno. might be:
In the first line the inscription tells us that the old custom and practice has
been followed during the entombing at Eggja. The stone has neither been struck by sunshine nor been carved by iron. In two the runemaster protects the stone against men who would lay the stone bare while the moon is waning, and against men who would want to remove the stone.
Ni's sólu sótt ok ni saxe stæin skorinn.
Ni (læggi) mannR nækðan, is niþ rinnR,
Ni viltiR mænnR læggi ax.
Hin(n) varp *náséo mannR, máðe þæim kæipa í bormóþa húni.
HuæaR of kam hæráss á hi á land gotna.
FiskR óR f(ir)na uim suim(m)ande, fogl á f??????? galande.
The translation is in some places uncertain, but one might say like this:
The stone (the place) has not been hit by the sun and the stone has not been carved with (iron) knife.
No man shall lay the stone bare while the moon is waning.
No strange men shall remove the stone.
This stone the runemaster sprinkled with blood, scraped with the blood the oarlock in the worn out boat.
As whom came the army god with the boat here to the Goth's land?
As the fish, swimming out of the horror (?) river, as the bird ..... crowing.
Defense against the evil-doer(?).
In the second line the runemaster continues the story about the further line of action during the entombing: He has sprinkled the rune stone with blood, scraped or rubbed the oarlock in the boat with blood. Perhaps we have here a ship-setting (the shape of a ship outlined with standing stones), and that those are the stones which are rubbed with the blood.
Then a question follows, and the question is followed by an answer: As whom (in what guise) did he arrive, who, like the fish, was swimming in the in the river of horror and, like the bird, was crowing.
Perhaps the inscription is telling how Odin came to Eggja and brought the dead across the Hel river in the skin of a fish, in the skin of a bird crossing bottomless bogs and insurmountable mountains on his way to Hel.
The third line is rather unreadable, and many interpret the meaning as a name puzzle. Others hold the three first runes to be alu and read "Defense against the evil-doer", and still others understand the line as a signature. Or perhaps the runic text is telling about the funeral feast has been held, and about the holy beer which they have been drinking there.
Picture of the Eggja rune stone where you can read the runes. (656 Kb)
THE EIKELAND BUCKLE
In a tomb on the Eikeland farm, Rogaland, there a bronze gilded buckle was found, with a runic inscription written clockwise. The inscription is dated to the end of the 500's AD. The runes are written on the buckle's back side, and were therefore not meant to be read by anyone other than the owner of the buckle.
The inscription says ekwiRwiwiowrituirunoRasni which might be divided into
words like this:
ek wiR wiwio writu i runoR asni.
The inscription is translated "I Wir for Wiwia writes runes" or "I am Wiwia's Wir. I writes runes".
FØRDE RUNE FISHING LINE SINKER
The fishing line sinker was found in a field at Førde in Sunnfjord, Sogn and Fjordane. The
oblong, rather oval sinker made of soapstone is 12 cm long, 5 cm wide and 1,5-2 cm thick. The sinker has a hole in each end from which a fishing line was tied. On one side a figure is drawn which probably is a flounder. On the other side there are written 5 clockwise runes:
It is difficult to say anything certain about what aluko means, but in the
three first runes, we read the well known word alu. Together with the last part ko, might the inscription mean "Little Alu". The inscription might then have been written as a pet name to a woman with a name which starts with Alu. Or maybe it is just a formula to get good angling.
THE SETRE COMB
The Setre comb was found on the west coast of the Bømlo isle, South-Hordaland, and is dated to approximately 600 AD. The comb has inscriptions on both sides, the so-called A- and B-side, and the runes are written clockwise.
On the A-side the runes are written foot to foot in two lines on both side of a centre line:
111hal maR (A1)
The B-side has only one line:
The interpretation of the inscription is disputed, but Magnus Olsen read it like this:
A: hal mar mauna = "Hail (to you) the maid's maid!"
B: alu na alu nana = "Protection (for you) Na(nna), protection (for you) Nanna."
Ottar Grønvik understood hal mar as a f. word - Hall-mær, and proposed the
following interpretation, expressed here in standardized gno.:
Hall-mær má una,
Stone-maid may thrive,
Then the inscription might be a love poem - man-söngr - and is if it is so, the oldest poem in Norwegian literature.
STRAND RUNIC BUCKLE
On the Strand farm in Åfjord, South-Trøndelag, a bronze buckle with runes was found. The inscription is encompassed by frame lines, and has 11 runes written from left to right. The inscription is typical for the transitional period between the elder and the younger futhark, and is dated to approximately 700 AD.
111The inscription says siklisnahli.
The old g-rune and k-rune is replaced with the new k-rune with staves, the i-rune is used for "e" and "i" , and the old a-rune is replaced with the younger oral cavity a-rune. The old h-rune is preserved.
In gno. the inscription would say: sigli's ná-hlé which means "The jewel is a protection against the dead". The fear of ghosts was very
significant to the people in the old Norse society. In old English the word sigle is used - similar to the gno. word sigli - describing jewels given as gifts to the dead in the grave in order to prevent them from haunting. The following s might, in this relation, be translated "is", the gno. nár means "Spook, dead
person" and the gno. word hlé means "shelter".
The Strand inscription might then be translated "The jewel is spook protection".
Picture of The Strand Runic Buckle
The Strand Runic Buckle
STRØM RUNIC WHETSTONE
At Strøm on the Hitra isle, South-Trøndelag, a whetstone of sandstone was found, with two runic inscriptions - the so-called line A and Line B. The whetstone is 14,5 cm long, 1,2 - 1,3 cm thick and on the widest 1,9 cm. The inscriptions are written clockwise and are sharp and explicitly carved on the two narrow sides.
Line A has two bindrunes - h+a and n+a, and in line B the bindrune h+a is
used three times. The text has alliterative verse with h-. From the evidence
of later finds, the whetstone probably once had a handle of goat horn, and had been used to sharpen scythes.
According to Magnus Olsen the inscription should be divided like this:
Line A: wate hali hino horna
Line B: haha skaþi haþu ligi
Line A is translated "Horn shall wet this stone".
There are disagreements about the meaning of line B, but some hold it to say "May the aftermath be damaged. May the haymaking lay".
Line A should then show to the known and well widespread old practice of carryin the whetstone in a horn filled with water. The horn should wet the whetstone so the scythe should be sharp and better improve the outcome, as some interpret line B.
Then the text could be a working song. From the later Norse literature we know about two working songs - the Grottasöngr and Darraðarljóð. But the interpretation of the inscription gives us many linguistic problems and is disputed. The inscription is dated to approximately 600 AD. or maybe little older.
The Strøm Rune Whetstone
TVEITO RUNE STONE
The stone was found on the Tveito farm in Tinn, Telemark, during archaeological diggings of two graves from the elder iron age, which looked like heaps of stones. The rune stone was lying upon one of the heaps. The finds in the tomb underneath the stone are dated to 400-450 AD, but the runic inscription on the rune stone cannot be so old. The runic inscription is dated to approximately 600 AD..
The inscription says taitR, and is probably a man's name in the nominative - in gno. teitr and means "happy, joyful, glad".
It appears the stone had been placed upon the 200 years old grave, maybe in connection with an newer entombing, but there were no finds from such an entombing.
VATN RUNE STONE
In a gravemound on the Vatn farm in Agdenes, South-Trøndelag, there was found a slate flagstone with a runic inscription. The Inscription, where the 7 first runes are readable, is followed by three or more weakly carved runes. The runes are written clockwise and are dated to at latest 700 AD.
rhoaltR is similar to the man's name Roald, in gno. Hróaldr. The last word might be the beginning of the nSl. word *faihijan, in gno. fá, which mean "paint, draw, write". The inscription might therefor be interpreted "I Roald wrote" or "I Roald writes". But for certain is it only possible to read "Roald".
Picture of Vatn Rune Stone
Picture of Vatn Rune Stone
Picture of Vatn Rune Stone
LYSØYSUND, ÅFJORD KOMMUNE, SØR-TRØNDELAG
Runic Stone with uncertain runes from Videnskapsmuseet i Trondheim.
Picture of the Lysøysund Rune Stone
INSCRIPTION WITH THE YOUNGER RUNES
GALTELAND RUNE STONE
The Galteland rune stone from Setesdal must have been raised after 1015 AD, because it is a monumental stone for a man called Bjor who fell in a battle when the Danish King Knut the Mighty attacked England.
The inscription says "Arnstein raised this stone in memory of Bjor, his son,
who fell in the army when Knut attacked England".
In an other inscription on the stone says "One is God".
THE HÅRBERG RUNE STONE
The inscription is dated to the Viking period.
The inscription say:
utar raisti stain aft(i)(r) (a)(u)rn fauþur sin
Óttarr reisti stein eptir Ôrn, fôður sinn.
utar raisti stain aft (:) (b)(i)(a)(u)rn fauþur sin
Óttarr reisti stein ept Bjôrn, fôður sinn.
Translated to English it will be "Ottar raist stone after Ørn/Bjørn, the father of his.
Picture of The Hårberg Rune Stone
Picture of The Hårberg Runic Text
KULI RUNE STONE
The runic inscription is written in a vertical direction on a stone monument. The inscription on the Kuli stone from Smøla in Nordmøre, was written after the death of King Saint Olav.
The inscription might say "Tore and Hallward raised this stone in memory of
Ulvjot (?); twelve winters had Christianity been in Norway".
But newer research suggests the word "been" had been incorrectly interpreted, and translate the last part as "twelve winters had Christianity done good in Norway". The inscription is the oldest text in which Norway is mentioned.
Picture of The Kuli Rune Stone
ODDERNES RUNE STONE
The Oddernes rune stone from Kristiansand is 3,5 m high. It has two inscriptions which says "In memory of Tore Neridsson is this stone" and "Øyvind built this church - the godson of Saint Olav - at his freehold farm." The inscription is dated to approximately 1040-40 AD, or even younger.
FROM THE OSEBERG SHIP
This inscription was found in the Oseberg ship. It is written on a piece of wood.
The translation is uncertain, but the most usual interpetation is litilviss maðr which means "Little knows man" or "Man knows little".
THE STAVANGER CROSS
The Stavanger cross should, of course, stand upright. It is perhaps a monument stone for Erling Skjalgsson who fought against Olav Haraldsson at the Boknafjord the 21. December 1028 AD. According to Snorre one of Olav's men killed Erling after Erling had surrendered and Olav had promised him safe-conduct.
Liestøl reads the inscription "Alf(gier?) priest raised the stone in memory of
Erling, his master; .... ????? .... , when he fought against Olav".
TRÅ BRONZE LADLE
In a woman's tomb at the Trå farm nearby the church at Granvin in Ulvik, Hardanger in Hordaland, a bronze ladle inscribed with runes was found. The bronze ladle is very damaged and only some fragments have been preserved, but it is possible to read some of the runic text. The two upper lines, as shown below, were written on the handle, while the bottom line was written
along the egde of ladle bowl. The tomb is dated to the 900's AD.
[--] t i u
t auarkar karþir is kuinnk[--]
sikat [--] ni uritar uritar uilki [--]
Because of most of the runic text is missing, the translation is very uncertain, and the upper line gives us no meaning. But if we assume that the ladle had been used to pour beer into the drinking vessels in guilds and feasts by the housewife, or other women under her supervision, then the line in the middle might have meaning.
aurkar might be interpreted as gno. áverkar, the plural of áverki which means "insult, assault, cut, violence, wound".
karþir might be the gno. kærðir of the verb kæra which means "prosecution, complain of, criticize, protest against, something one can't tolerate"
kuinnk might be interpreted as the gno. kvenngrið (or more often written as "kvennagrið") if we assume that the K-rune should be read as a "g" and the "rið" is the lost runes.
Kvennadrið is composed of the two words "woman" and the gno. grið which means "protection, safe-conduct, mercy, quarter, pardon, promise of peace.
The line in the middle might on these terms be read as Áverkar kærðir, er kvenng(rið eru / eru sett), i.e. "assaults to women will be prosecuted because
they are placed under protection". In other words, there was no tolerance for men who behaved rudely toward the women who brought the beer around to the guests.
In the bottom line the uritar is a keyword to which I will return later, but if we
take it that the runic text is written as a poem, the line division might be like this:
sikat -- -- --
-- -- -- -- --
Sék-at -- --
-- -- -- -- --
I do not see -- --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
and not uritar
not at all uritar
The question is how uritar should be translated. It might be translated *vrita (gno. rita, pret. ritaða) which means "write", or úréttar (the genitive of the substantive úréttr) which means "wrong, injustice" or as úréttar in the meaning of "do wrong, incorrect".
The last proposal is what make senesce to this runic inscription.
According to Magnus Olsen's theory how this runic inscription might be read, based on other runic texts and Norse poems, the third line might be translated:
-- -- -- -- -- ?
I don't see (runes
written in injury ways),
and no incorrect (runes),
not at all incorrect
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- ?
RUNIC INSCRIPTION IN HØRE STAVE CHURCH
þa um þat su(mar) ??? þæir brøþr ællingr (o)k auþun
hokoa til kirkiu er ærlinkr i(a/æ).....(l) i niþar ose
The runic text is translated "That summer when the brothers Erling and Audun cut (trees) for this church, Earl Erling fell in Nidaros."
The inscription is used to date the age of the Høre stave church. In the year 1179 Erling Skakke fell in battle in Nidaros.
INSCRIPTION FOUND IN UVDAL STAVE CHURCH
æirikar rit mer:runar
The text in Norse is "Eiríkr, rít mér rúnar" which means "Eirik, wrote runes for me."
Read also about the so-called town runes in Norway, runic inscriptions which showed up approximately 1200 AD.
Direct links to the other pages:
Created by Arild Hauge © Denmark, Aarhus 2002
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Sist oppdatert kl. 04:05:00 den 24.11.2005.