Norse Rune Code Cracked
A scholar of the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings, revealing they were sending each other messages such as ‘Kiss me’.
K. Jonas Nordby, a runologist doing his PhD research, was able to discover the secret behind the jötunvillur code, which can be found in over 80 Norse inscriptions. He found that on a stick from the 13th century two men, Sigurd and Lavrans, carved their names both in code and in standard runes. For the jötunvillur code, one would replace the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. For example, the rune for ‘f’, pronounced fe, would be turned into an ‘e’, while the rune for ‘k’, pronounced kaun, became ‘n’.
“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.”
In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes. (via Medievalists.net)