Runes: a Handbook

Runes: a Handbook

by Michael P. Barnes
     
 
Runes, often considered magical symbols of mystery and power, are in fact an alphabetic form of writing. Derived from one or more Mediterranean prototypes, they were used by Germanic peoples to write different kinds of Germanic language, principally Anglo-Saxon and the various Scandinavian idioms, and were carved into stone, wood, bone, metal, and other hard surfaces;

Overview

Runes, often considered magical symbols of mystery and power, are in fact an alphabetic form of writing. Derived from one or more Mediterranean prototypes, they were used by Germanic peoples to write different kinds of Germanic language, principally Anglo-Saxon and the various Scandinavian idioms, and were carved into stone, wood, bone, metal, and other hard surfaces; types of inscription range from memorials to the dead, through Christian prayers and everyday messages to crude graffiti. First reliably attested in the second century AD, runes were in due course supplanted by the roman alphabet, though in Anglo-Saxon England they continued in use until the early eleventh century, in Scandinavia until the fifteenth (and later still in one or two outlying areas). This book provides an accessible, general account of runes and runic writing from their inception to their final demise. It also covers modern uses of runes, and deals with such topics as encoded texts, rune names, how runic inscriptions were made, runological method, and the history of runic research. A final chapter explains where those keen to see runic inscriptions can most easily find them. Professor Michael P. Barnes is Emeritus Professor of Scandinavian Studies, University College London.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Provides students with an introduction to the topic which is both accessible and erudite. It brings the reader up to date on current issues in the discipline and demonstrates the concern with methodological rigour for which its author is well known. HISTORY A user-friendly scholarly reference and resource. (...) Highly recommended. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW Not only a handbook but a textbook for the study of runes. CHOICE, A prudently structured, lucidly written, and judiciously reasoned overview of a subject that has engendered much divisiveness among experts. (...) A first-rate contribution. ANGLIA, (An) immaculately produced book. (...) This book is both a pioneering textbook of runic studies and a reference resource on runes, thus serving the needs of students of language studies, medieval history and cultural matters, and the just plain curious. REFERENCE REVIEWS Overall, the book is abundant in interesting material, well-written, and.is a rare reliable source on this often overdramatized aspect of our field. COMITATUS An immaculately scholarly and notably rational introduction to runology. (It) tells the reader everything he or she needs to know about runes and how to study them. It will be invaluable to students. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781843837787
Publisher:
Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date:
09/20/2012
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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