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Viking Runes Guide | Runic Alphabet Meanings | Nordic & Celtic Letters

Posted by Kurt Noer on


Runes are the 24 individual letters of the Runic alphabet which was used for various Germanic, Proto-Norse, Nordic & Celtic languages before the creation of the Latin alphabet. The old Runic alphabet is sometimes referred to as "Elder Futhark" because the first six runes of the Rune aphabet spell out FUTHARK. The earliest findings of the Runic alphabet being used were the ancient Rune Stones dating back as far as the third century AD. The earliest known sequential listing of the full set of 24 runes was found on the Kylver Stone in Gotland, Sweden:


Roughly 50 runestones have been found
Runestones were often raised next to grave sites within the Viking era of 950-1100AD. Some of the raised runestones first appear in the fourth and fifth century in Norway and Sweden. And in Denmark as early as the eighth and ninth century. However, most of them were found in Sweden.

Runestones were mentioned in Ynglinga saga and Hávamál:

"For men of consequence a mound should be raised to their memory, and for all other warriors who had been distinguished for manhood a standing stone, a custom that remained long after Odin's time."
—The Ynglinga saga[5]

"A son is better, though late he be born, And his father to death have fared;
Memory stones seldom stand by the road. Save when kinsman honors his kin."
—Hávamál[6]

The Kingittorsuaq Runestone below was found in Greenland and is currently located at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Viking Language Translator
The above guide may be used to translate English to Viking. Rune beads (for bracelet charms, necklaces or beard beads) may be purchased to spell out your name or individual words such as LIFE:

Rune related jewelry can be found here:

 

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