Younger


The Runes of the Viking Age…

The elder futhark was shortened to 16 characters around the beginning of the Viking Age.(1.) These runes are much simpler than the elder futhark and can be carved much easier since they each have only one vertical mark. Individually, the runes are called long-branch runes due to them generally being carved with fuller strokes. Still, the younger futhark retain the ættir system and individual characteristics.

These inscriptions can be found in many more places than the elder futhark. The younger futhark were a product of the Viking Age’s ingenuity and new ambitions. They can be found across seas in areas of Norse activity, such as an inscription dating the the fourteenth century can be found in the north of Greenland. Furthermore, runic inscriptions in the younger variation can be found as far as the Byzantine empire.(2.)

I will now provide each rune, along with their respective latin ‘equivalents’.(3.) I will also include Icelandic rune poems for each rune.(4.) I will also be strictly using their Old Icelandic names, not Proto-Germanic names.


The Younger Futhark³

Younger Futhark %22f%22
Fé: f, v

er frænda róg, ok fyrða gaman, ok grafseiðs gata.

Cattle is family strife, and men’s delight, and grave-fish’s path.2a

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Younger futhark %22u%22
Úr: u, v, o, y, ø, w

Úr er skýja grátr, ok skára þverrir, ok hirðis hatr.

Úr is cloud’s tears, and hay’s destroyer, and herdsman’s hate.2b

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Younger futhark %22þ%22
Þurs: þ, ð

Þurs er kvenna kvǫl, ok kletta íbúi, ok Valrúnar verr.

Giant is women’s torment, and crag-dweller, and Valrún’s mate.2c

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Younger futhark %22a%22
Áss: a, o, ö

Áss er aldingautr, ok Ásgarðs Jǫfurr, ok Valhallar vísi.

Áss is ancient Gautr, and Ásgarðr’s warrior-king, ok Valhǫll’s ruler.2d

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Younger futhark %22r%22
Reið: r

Reið er sitjandi sæla, ok snúðig ferð, ok jórs erfiði.

Riding is bliss of the seated, and swift journey, and horse’s toil.

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Younger futhark %22k%22
Kaun: k, g

Kaun er barna bǫl, ok bardagi, ok holdfúa hús.

Ulcer is children’s scourge, and struggle, and home to putrefaction.

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Younger futhark %22h%22
Hagall: h

Hagall er kaldakorn, ok knappa drífa, ok snáka sótt.

Hail is cold corn, and driving sleet, and snake’s sickness.

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Younger futhark %22n%22
Nauð: n

Nauð er þýjar þrá, ok þungr kostr, ok vássamlig verk.

Need is servant’s grief, and rough conditions, and soggy toil.

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Younger futhark %22i%22
Íss: i, e, æ, j

Íss er árbǫrkr, ok unnar þekja, ok feigra manna fár.

Ice is river-bark, and wave’s thatch, and trouble for the doomed.

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Younger futhark %22a%22 2
Ár: a, æ

Ár er gumna gæði, ok gott sumar.

Plenty is men’s benefits, and good summer.

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Younger futhark %22s%22
Sól: s

Sól er skýja skjǫldr, ok skínandi rǫðull.

Sun is cloud’s shield, and shining halo.

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Younger futhark %22t%22
Týr: t, d

Týr er einhendr áss, ok úlfs leifar.

Týr is one-handed god, and wolf’s left-overs.2e

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Younger futhark %22b%22
Bjarkan: b, p

Bjarkan er lítit lim, ok laufgat tré, ok vaxandi viðr.

Birch is little branch, and a leafy tree, and growing wood.2f

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Younger futhark %22m1%22
Maðr: m (ver. 1)
Younger futhark %22m2%22
Maðr: m (ver.2)

Maðr er manns gaman, ok moldar auki, ok skipa skreytir.

Man in man’s delight, and earth’s increase, and ship’s painter.

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Younger Futhark %22l%22
Lögr:l

Lǫgr er vellandi vimur, ok víðr ketill, ok glǫmmunga grund.

Water is bubbling Vimur, and great cauldron, and fishes’ field.2g

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Younger Futhark %22R.%22
Ýr: R

Ýr er tvíbendr bogi, ok bardaga gagn, ok fífu farbauti.2h

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SOURCES AND NOTATIONS:


[1] Jesse L. Byock, Viking Language 1: Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas.(Jules William Press, 2013), 74-79. All of the information regarding their background and latin versions, used on this website, come from this book. I list the most common latin letter representative first.


[2] R.I. Page, “The Icelandic Rune-Poem,” Viking Society for Northern Research, University College London, 1999. Material from various manuscripts (AM 687d 4°, AM 461 12°, AM 413 fol, etc.). This includes the Old Norse text as well as the translations of such featured now on this website.

[2a] The direct translation of “fé” is cattle, but it also refers strongly to wealth. Also, “grave-fish” is a kenning that refers to the Midgard Serpent.

[2b] Úr, in Old Icelandic, translates to “drizzling rain.” Other versions of this rune, such as Gothic or Old English, translate the rune to “Urus,” which is a type of cattle. One can quickly note that there is a bit of difference in meaning between them, although the subject matter remains somewhat related (“herdsmen’s hate”). [Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 460.]

[2c] R.I. Page states that Valrún is likely a Giantess.

[2d] Áss is the Old Icelandic word for an Æsir god, such as Óðinn or Þórr. [Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 37.]

[2e] Týr is generally known as the god of justice and bravery. There is a story regarding him that he puts his hand in Fenrir’s mouth (a mythological wolf) in order to provide a sense of trust. However, the gods, Æsir, bind Fenrir. Fenrir, having felt betrayed, bit off Týr’s hand as a result. [Jesse L. Byock trans., Prose Edda. (Penguin Classics, 2005), 35-6.]

[2f] R.I. Page notes that this poem has tremendous variation, therefore little consistency. It is difficult to determine a clear sense for the poem, but I provided my preference above.

[2g] Lögr can mean “any liquid” in Old Icelandic [Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 283.], but for the context of the poem, it is referring to water, even though the word for water is “vatn” in Old Icelandic [Ibid., 473.]. Also, Vimur refers to a mythological river [Jesse L. Byock trans., Prose Edda. (Penguin Classics, 2005), 90.]

[2h] R.I. Page notes that this poem is insensible, or rather baffling. For now, we do not have a suitable English translation.


[3] All of the rune images are draw by myself with a manuscript pen. You may make use of them for personal use and study, if you desire, but I would appreciate a heads up prior to doing so.

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