Runic Alphabets in Scandinavia - Essay Example

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Runic Alphabets in Scandinavia

Sadly, the meanings of these symbols and their purpose are now lost. Like runes, they were believed to be used for divination and they may have strongly influenced the magical function of later runic alphabets (Smith 1996).
Historians and anthropologists are uncertain about the early uses of runes. They may have been used as actual characters for writing. However, the name rune suggests that they were also used as mystical signs or symbols which possess powerful magic. Early Germanic literature bear testimony to the magical character of runes. The Edda, a series of poems, and folk songs to these modern days attest to the influence that runes have on humanity.
In fact, the supernatural powers of runes are said to have not only influence, but can overcome natural and physical laws. Runes can summon rain or violent thunderstorms. They can break chains and shackles, or bind men into them. They can heal illness or cause someone to suffer disease. They could raise the dead from their graves. Warriors can become invincible with the help of runes, and cause his weapon to inflict mortal wounds to the enemy. Runes can make men mad, as they can also protect men from the deceitful designs of others.
Runes are generally considered as of divine origin, since Odin himself, as related in the Edda, had to sac ...Show more

Summary

Rune, which was derived from the word "run", meaning "mystery" in Old Norse and Old English, best suits these letters which were carved in wood or stone, placed in a bag then thrown to look into the future. They have been closely associated with divination while early Christian Church leaders condemned them as tools for communicating with the devil (Carroll 2006).
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