By Looijenga

This paintings gathers all older fufark inscriptions present in Denmark, Germany, England, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Bosnia, Rumania, Norway and Sweden. It contains essays on early runic writing, the contexts of runic items, and a concept at the foundation of runic writing.

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Extra resources for Texts & Contexts of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions (Northern World, 4)

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The development of the inscriptions supposedly moved from Roman capitals to capital imitation, and eventually runic writing evolved, finding its culmination on C-type bracteates. D-type bracteates no longer display runes; the last rune-bearing bracteates are five F-type items. Some scenes from Nordic mythology may be detected among the pictures and ornaments pressed into the thin gold foil (see numerous publications by Hauck, for instance 1992a&b). ). A quite plausible interpretation of the bracteates as active media in social, political or religious transactions, as a ‘special purpose money’ is forwarded by Gaimster (1993:1).

The Roman emperor ,    33 Caracalla (211–217) waged a moderately successful campaign against the Alamanni in 213; this was the first appearance in history of the people who gave the French their name for Germans. In fact, if a date can be fixed for the decline of the Roman empire it would be the reign of Commodus (180–192). Commodus was a greater plague to the Romans than any pestilence or crime. With Marcus Aurelius, the principate as founded by Augustus ended, and the way was paved for the military despotism of the later empire.

In the case of the Thorsberg shield boss there are two possibilities: either the runes were carved by the weapon smith during the manufacturing process, or they were added after the ritual destruction and shortly before the object was deposited in the Thorsberg bog. The latter assumption is based on the impression that the runes seem to cross a scratch or groove caused by the destruction. However, this is so ,    39 arbitrary that the possibility of the runes being cut when the shield boss was made cannot be discounted.

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