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Thread: Runes of Greenland: Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent

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    Post Runes of Greenland: Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent

    The Runes Of Greenland

    Greenland was populated by settlers from Iceland and Norway from 985 or 986 A.D. The leader of the first group of settlers was Eirik Raude, the father of Leif Eiriksson. (Leif Eiriksson later discovered Vinland, hence North America). The group set out from Iceland with 25 ships, but only 14 ships arrived at Greenland. The rest of the ships were either wrecked in storms when they crossed the sea or turned back to Iceland. The settlers brought with them the Norse manner of living, as well as the runes. These people lived on Greenland for 500 years, until they mysteriously disappeared from history. Today, the only trace of them are the ruins they left behind.

    Approximately 60 runic inscriptions have been found on Greenland. Approx. 35 of these inscriptions have been discovered in Austerbygden, one inscription (see picture) has been found on the isle of Kingigtorssuaq (far north of the populated area) and approx. 20 inscriptions have been discovered in Vesterbygden. (Helge Ingstad, 1959,1995)



    The oldest runic inscriptions found on Greenland are written on a piece of wood found at Narssaq, north-east of Julianehåb. There is reason to believe that these runes, inscribed on three sides of the wood, were written in the beginning of the 11th century.

    On one side a complete 16 rune Futhark of the older type of short twig runes is written. However, two of the runes on this piece of wood have a typical design created in Greenland; the B- and R- rune. (These older, shorttwig-runes went out of use in Norway about 1000 A.D. Thereafter, the newer type of shorttwig-runes were used in Norway.)



    On the second side of this piece of wood there is runic text which states: "Bibrau is the name of the girl who sits in the blue".

    On the third side there is written a secret, magical formula which is untranslatable. (Erik Moltke,1959).

    The second oldest inscription which has been found is probably from the 13th century. It is etched on a headstone in a churchyard cemetery. The inscription says: "Ingibjorg's grave".

    All other runic inscriptions which have been found probably date to approximately the 14th century.

    A characteristic of the language used in Greenland was that it was very conservative. The older forms of speaking, which had come from Iceland and Norway, were kept intact. (It must be acknowledged that they were also independent and created new dialects). In keeping with this conservatism, the Greenlanders likewise maintained the older runic characteristics, most of which had fallen out of use in other countries. Notwithstanding this, they created new designs for the ð-, b-, p- and r-runes. (Magnus Olsen).



    By 1300 A.D. the common language used in Greenland and Iceland had diverged, as it did in the Faeroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Orkeny Islands, and the Hebrides. As a result of this development in regional language, including Norway, many disparate West-Norwegian and Norwegian dialects emerged. (Magnus Olsen).

    Runic inscriptions were often written on articles of everyday use, such as graveyard stones, wooden crucifixes, etc. One runic inscription found upon a piece of wood within a coffin at the graveyard of Hrjolfsnes says: "This woman, whose name is Gudveig, was buried at sea in the Greenland Sea". In this way, she was finally paid the respect of being commemorated at a holy site.

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    The Runes Of Greenland

    The Runes Of Greenland

    Greenland was populated by settlers from Iceland and Norway from 985 or 986 A.D. The leader of the first group of settlers was Eirik Raude, the father of Leif Eiriksson. (Leif Eiriksson later discovered Vinland, hence North America). The group set out from Iceland with 25 ships, but only 14 ships arrived at Greenland. The rest of the ships were either wrecked in storms when they crossed the sea or turned back to Iceland. The settlers brought with them the Norse manner of living, as well as the runes. These people lived on Greenland for 500 years, until they mysteriously disappeared from history. Today, the only trace of them are the ruins they left behind.

    Approximately 60 runic inscriptions have been found on Greenland. Approx. 35 of these inscriptions have been discovered in Austerbygden, one inscription (see picture) has been found on the isle of Kingigtorssuaq (far north of the populated area) and approx. 20 inscriptions have been discovered in Vesterbygden. (Helge Ingstad, 1959,1995)



    The oldest runic inscriptions found on Greenland are written on a piece of wood found at Narssaq, north-east of Julianehåb. There is reason to believe that these runes, inscribed on three sides of the wood, were written in the beginning of the 11th century.

    On one side a complete 16 rune Futhark of the older type of short twig runes is written. However, two of the runes on this piece of wood have a typical design created in Greenland; the B- and R- rune. (These older, shorttwig-runes went out of use in Norway about 1000 A.D. Thereafter, the newer type of shorttwig-runes were used in Norway.)



    On the second side of this piece of wood there is runic text which states: "Bibrau is the name of the girl who sits in the blue".

    On the third side there is written a secret, magical formula which is untranslatable. (Erik Moltke,1959).

    The second oldest inscription which has been found is probably from the 13th century. It is etched on a headstone in a churchyard cemetery. The inscription says: "Ingibjorg's grave".

    All other runic inscriptions which have been found probably date to approximately the 14th century.

    A characteristic of the language used in Greenland was that it was very conservative. The older forms of speaking, which had come from Iceland and Norway, were kept intact. (It must be acknowledged that they were also independent and created new dialects). In keeping with this conservatism, the Greenlanders likewise maintained the older runic characteristics, most of which had fallen out of use in other countries. Notwithstanding this, they created new designs for the ð-, b-, p- and r-runes. (Magnus Olsen).



    By 1300 A.D. the common language used in Greenland and Iceland had diverged, as it did in the Faeroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Orkeny Islands, and the Hebrides. As a result of this development in regional language, including Norway, many disparate West-Norwegian and Norwegian dialects emerged. (Magnus Olsen).

    Runic inscriptions were often written on articles of everyday use, such as graveyard stones, wooden crucifixes, etc. One runic inscription found upon a piece of wood within a coffin at the graveyard of Hrjolfsnes says: "This woman, whose name is Gudveig, was buried at sea in the Greenland Sea". In this way, she was finally paid the respect of being commemorated at a holy site.


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    Post Re: The Runes Of Greenland

    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin
    By 1300 A.D. the common language used in Greenland and Iceland had diverged, as it did in the Faeroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Orkeny Islands, and the Hebrides. As a result of this development in regional language, including Norway, many disparate West-Norwegian and Norwegian dialects emerged. (Magnus Olsen).
    Does this mean that there was a Greenlandic language, that is now extinct? If so, interesting.

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    Post AW: The Runes Of Greenland

    The Greenlandic language is related to the language of the Inuit peoples of north America and east Russia. Kalaallisut, as it is called, belongs to the East-inuit family of languages and is a polysyndetic language, which means that the meaning-forming sentence elements used in other words are fused into one word which may stand for a whole sentence.

    This language may also have its roots in the Icelandic, for the first white settlers were from Iceland. But they didn't manage to grow corn and harvest enough for a linving, so they disappeared around 600 years after their first visit.

    With them, also the Icelandic influences of the language disappeared.


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    Runic inscription from Greenland

    The Rune Stone from Brattahlið


    The Rune Stone from Gardar


    The wooden stick from Herjolfsnes Church yard


    The Inscription on (the lost) Hønen Rune Stone


    The Kingigtorssuaq Rune Stone


    The Narsaq Inscription


    Runic Inscription on a whale bone

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    e-book: Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700

    Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700

    Download as .pdf-file

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    Post Re: The Runes Of Greenland

    an extintic Greenlandic lauguage recorded through Greenlandic runelore...these are some exellent findings

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    Post Re: The Runes Of Greenland

    Actually it wasnt Leif who "discovered" Vinland, it was Bjarni Bardarson. He was the first known person of that time to sight the land, he never set foot on it but he saw it and told others about it. Leif setteled it but he wasnt the first Icelander to actually see the land. Read the Vinland saga and you will see.
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    Post Re: The Runes Of Greenland

    I thought that Bjarni's patronymic was Herjulfson. Were Herjulf and Bardar the same person ?

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    Post Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent

    e-book "Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700"

    -> Link
    Lík börn leika best.

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