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GREEKS AND GOTHS: A STUDY ON THE KUNES.

BY

ISAAC TAYLOR,

M.A., LL.D.

RECTOR OF SETTRINGTON,

AUTHOR OF 'WORDS AND

PLACES,' 'ETRUSCAN RESEARCHES,' ETC. ETC.

Honfcon

:

MACMILLAN AND 1879.

[All rights

reserved.']

CO.


OXFORD: PICKARD HALL,

M.A.,

AND

J.

H. STACY,

PRINTERS TO THE UNIVERSITY.


PREFACE. IN following out certain inquiries as to the history and

connection

became necessary that

of

early Alphabets,

should

I

it

make myself

acquainted with what had been written on the origin of the Kunes. fest

that none

It

of the

speedily became mani-

on the

current theories

subject were sufficient to explain

the

A

facts.

re-examination of the conditions of the problem gradually led clusions

the

to

which are

set

wholly forth

unexpected in

the

con-

following

pages.

I have thought

best to publish these results

it

in a separate form, instead of including

them

in

a larger forthcoming work on the History of the Alphabet, because forth

a theory so

it

seemed needful, in putting

entirely

argument with greater

novel,

to

state

fullness of detail,

the

and in


iv

Preface.

a more technical form, than would be desirable or proportionate in a more comprehensive work.

When

book was ready

this

the press I

that Eask, the greatest

discovered

accidentally

for

of Scandinavian scholars, believed that the view

which

I

have advocated would ultimately prove

be the true solution of the problem of the

to

Eunes.

I

do not

worked out the

find,

details

of the

theory or even

it.

formally propounded I

however, that he ever

have included in the volume a subsidiary into

investigation

the Origin

of the

Oghams,

which are intimately connected with the Eunes. In

my

expressing

Stephens, and

my

work, I

am bound

wearied

toil

and

obligations

to

Professor

admiration of his monumental to acknowledge that his un-

his

minute accuracy have made

easy a task which would otherwise have been difficult,

if

not impossible.


CONTENTS. 1.

The Runes.

The

THE FUTHORCS.

various Futhorcs

Gothic

Scandinavian.

Anglian

The Mceso-Gothic Alphabet

THE DATED MONUMENTS.

2.

Buzeo Torque.

p. I

Nordenhoff Broach

Arrows.

Date of the

Vi Moss

Tools.

Nydam Moss Ruth well

Vadstena Bracteate.

Charnay Broach.

earliest Inscriptions

3.

p. 7

THE PHOENICIAN HYPOTHESIS. Difficulties of the

Opinions of Stephens, Lenorrnant, Peile, Dieterich.

Hypothesis

p. 15

4.

Its

Advocates.

THE LATIN HYPOTHESIS.

Chronological

and

Geographical

Retrograde and Boustrophedon Inscriptions. Kirchhoff's Argument. scientific

Evidence of Tacitus.

A

preliminary Test

Difficulties.

The

Inadequacy of Dr.

of Alphabetic

Change.

Un-

Detailed Examination of his

The Guttural Test

5.

A

Principles

method of Dr. Wimmer.

Argument.

Cross.

p. 19

THE GREEK HYPOTHESIS. priori probability of the

Greek Hypothesis. P-

33


vi

Contents.

THE CHRONOLOGICAL CONDITIONS.

6.

The

The Boustrophedon

Chronological Tests. phical Test.

The Paheogra-

Test.

Characteristics of the Alphabet of the Isles.

of the Persian Invasion on the Thraciau Alphabet

The Thracian and Euxine

Colonies.

The

Getae.

and Extent of the Gothic Realm. Evidence of Herodotus.

9.

10.

The

of the

Greek Alphabet

THE LIQUIDS AND

.

.

43

.

p. 51

and Arrest

.

p.

Disuse of Alpha.

m

and n Runes.

Change by

Correlation. P-

e

The

Aspirate.

Omega.

The Thirteenth Rune

.

Mutes

13.

The Lautverschiebung.

The Early p.

61

p.

70

THE MUTES.

12.

Classification of the

Iota.

Unstable Letters.

Developments of Eta.

Rune.

57

THE VOWELS.

Developments of Epsilon.

Twelfth Rune.

56

SIBILANTS.

Rune

forma of the

p.

Resemblances between the Thracian and

The

11.

How

Position

.

.

of Alphabetic Development

tailed r.

Italian Alphabets. s

Goths.

of the Dnieper.

THE FUTHORC AND THE ALPHABET. Laws

Phonetic Changes.

The

The

Commerce

Olbia and Gerrhos

The Three Stages

Kune.

37

Alphabet of the Mother Cities of the Colonies in

Thracian Coins.

I

p.

THE THRACIAN ALPHABET.

8.

The

.

THE GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS.

7.

Thrace.

Influence

.

THE DENTALS. The Chronological Hypothesis.

Grimm's Law.

did Debilitation begin?

.

.

.

.

.

.

p. 71


Contents.

THE LABIALS.

14.

Disuse of Pi.

Gothic Labials developed out of Beta.

Names and Forms.

of

velopment

Stages of the

Gamma

Runes.

of r

The

final.

of

for the

New Runes

for ra

and

The Arabic and

Runes.

Development

The Stan Rune

h.

.

Attempt

88

to account P-

Wales and

Ireland.

by

Oghams

in

Oghams.

Date of Oghams.

replaced

Traditional arrangement.

Their

The Oghams derived from the Runes.

Comparison of Rune and

Bethluisnion.

99

THE OGHAMS.

Geographical distribution of

The

p.

Causes of Alphabetic Dis-

Syriac Alphabets.

Order of the Runes

Inscriptions

Later

Anglian Futhorc.

Gamma

THE ORDER OF THE RUNES.

18.

Runic

79

Simplification of the Scandi-

the

Survivals of the Order of the Greek Letters. location.

Rune.

Gradual Disuse of Runes

Letters.

the Epsilon and

17.

Ilix

THE LATER RUNES.

Elaboration

of

The

P-

Denmark, Sweden, and England.

Developments

Evolution of the ng

Thrace and Italy.

The Runes superseded by the Latin navian Futhorc.

74

THE GUTTURALS.

The Koppa Runes. and Cen

16.

in

Labials. P-

The

Debilitation of Gutturals.

Wen

Parallel de-

The Mceso-Gothic

Development

15.

Kune.

vii

Ogham Names.

The ng Ogham.

Restoration of Primitive Values and Arrangement

of the Oghams.

The Tree Runes.

of

Ogham

of

Ogham and Runic

construction.

invented in Wales.

De Danann.

The Ogham

Classification of

Classes.

Runes.

Trees.

Principle

Correspondence

The Lautverschiebung. Oghams The Tuatha

Date of Scandinavian Invasions.

The Jutes

P-

108


GREEKS AND GOTHS A STUDY ON THE RUNES.

1.

$

AT

THE FUTHORCS.

when

the time

Koman

the

alphabet was in-

troduced by Christian missionaries into Northern

Europe some of the Teutonic nations had been for several

centuries in possession of a peculiar

alphabet of their own.

by the Scandinavians, the Northum-

chiefly used brians,

This ancient alphabet was

and the Goths.

The

characters are called

RUNES, and the alphabet bears the name of the

FUTHORC, from the F",

h

H,

first six

#, *,

K,

runes, f, u, th,

The one unsolved problem the Alphabet

o, r, c.

in the

History of

the origin of these Runes.

is

That-

they should have been independently invented by the Teutons

is

a solution which

B

must be regarded


The Futhorcs.

The

as quite out of the question.

history of the

invention of alphabetic writing shows the enor-

mous

difficulty of

the

only through

such an undertaking. slow

developments of

and the

races of the

rating

a

Greeks,

many

Phoeni-

centuries that the united genius of the cians

was

It

two most cultured

the

South, succeeded at last in elabo-

pure

out

alphabet

picture writing of the

of the

cumbrous

Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

That an equivalent result should have been tained off hand tribe

is

such

striking

at-

by any semi-barbarous Teutonic There

quite incredible.

resemblances

are,

between

moreover, several

of

the runes and the corresponding letters of various

Mediterranean alphabets, that the mathematical chances against such a series of accidental coincidences are absolutely overwhelming.

grounds

it

On

these

has been universally admitted that

the Kunes must, in some

unknown manner, have

been derived from that one great parent alphabet to which

modern research has

every other alphabet of the

affiliated

world

almost

Ethiopic,

Arabic and Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Etruscan, Indian and Tibetan, Mongol and Malay.


The Gothic Futhorc. Eunic inscriptions have been found scattered

Danube

over a vast region extending from the to the Orkneys. scriptions

are

The most

date

in

earlier

ancient of these inat

by

least

thousand years than the most modern. this

long

period

a

that

pected,

and of

the

we

was

to be ex-

different

countries

find, as

runes

During

development was

constant

going on, and hence

a

of

different periods present very considerable

They may all however be classified the Gothic, the three main divisions

variations.

into

and

Anglian, teristic

runes

of

The

Scandinavian.

the

these

three

charac-

are

classes

here

tabulated for handy reference.

In this Table the for convenience the

twenty- four

first

column, which

styled

GOTHIC FUTHORC, contains the

primitive

runes,

indifferently in all countries scriptions.

is

These early

which in

the

inscriptions,

are

used

earliest in-

which are

about 200 in number, range from the third to the sixth centuries of our era.

Twenty- three

of these runes appear in their order, as a Futhorc,

on a golden Bracteate or medal, from Vadstena, in East Gothland (Sweden),

B

2

which may be assigned


The Futhorcs.

TABLE OF EUNES.

NAMES.


The Anglian Futhorc. Nine-

to the middle of the fourth century A.D.

them appear

on a

Futhorc

a

teen

of

fifth

century broach, found at Charnay in Bur-

also

as

gundy.

The second column contains the corresponding runes of the ANGLIAN FUTHORC, which is used on the Ruth well Cross and on several Northum-

monuments

brian

It

centuries.

MSS.

of

the

given as a Futhorc in sundry

is

eighth

and

ninth

the

centuries,

form appearing on a sword of the sixth

earliest

seventh

or

seventh and following

of the

Thames,

century,

near

which was found

London.

The Anglian

the

in

Futhorc

usually contains from four to twelve supplement-

ary runes, which are either survivals or develop-

ments of the primitive Gothic runes.

The most

important of these additional runes are fr,

ce\

and

&

o;

fa,

y; Y, ea and q

;

|^,

Y, k; M,

a; st

ss.

In the third column

is

SCANDINAVIAN FUTHORC.

given the It attained

latest, its

or

final

form about the tenth century, and contains only sixteen runes.

on a slab

in

We the

find

Picts'

it

given as a Futhorc

House

at

Maeshowe

in


The Futhorcs. Orkney, and on a twelfth century font at Bserse in

Some 2000

Denmark.

runic inscriptions, nine-

tenths probably of the whole

number

extant, are

written in this Scandinavian Futhorc, which was

used

in

Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Cumberland, and the Isle of Man.

The fourth column contains ALPHABET, which was

Orkney,

the McESO-GoTHic

compiled in

the

fourth

century by Ulphilas, Bishop of the Goths. evidently based

It is

upon the ancient Gothic Futhorc,

with two or three additions and several modificaderived from the contemporary Byzantine

tions

Alphabet. All the evidence, internal

and external, goes to

prove that the Gothic Futhorc exhibits the earliest forms of the runes. later Futhorcs,

be seen that Nos.

others,

n,

10,

Nos.

in

form or value

9,

12,

20,

it

with the

4, ;

will

17, 18, 21,

remained almost

7, 8, 13,

23, fell into dis-

14,

15,

22,

were modified

while in a few cases,

new developments have

ancient characters.

it

of the original runes, such as

unchanged, some, Nos. use;

we compare

Anglian or Scandinavian,

many

i, 2, 3, .5,

If

Nos.

replaced the


The Buzeo Torque.

THE DATED MONUMENTS.

2.

any investigation into the origin of the runes must start from the Gothic It is manifest that

Futhorc, and

it

consequently becomes a matter

of great importance to ascertain as accurately as possible the dates of the earlier inscriptions.

It

be needful to devote a few pre-

will therefore

liminary paragraphs to a

summary

of the evidence

on which the dates of certain standard inscriptions

have been approximately determined.

From

the

historical

point of view the most

monument yet discovered is a massive gold torque, which is now in the Museum important runic

at

Bucharest.

at

Buzeo

in

This torque was found in 1838 Wallachia,

and formed part of a

treasure buried within a ring-mound, which seems to have been the site of a heathen temple. intrinsic

of the

value

The torque bears an

gold was about

The 4000

l .

inscription in unmistakable

runes of the early type, which reads

XAt *

*

+ * >i 1

H

M

r

fr

X,

Dedicated to the temple of the Goths/ Zacber,

Das

Gothische AlpJiabet, p. 47.

Here,


The Dated Monuments. then,

we have a very

century a portion of the Goths

homes

In the second

definite date.

east of the Vistula,

Caracalla had reached

left

their early

and by the time of

The torque evidently belongs

Danube.

heathen period.

Lower

the plains of the

to

the

In the second half of the third

century the Mcesian Goths were converted by Ascolius

in

;

325 Theophilus, one of their bishops,

attended the council of Nice

and not long

;

after-

wards the Gothic runes were superseded by the alphabet of Ulphilas,

who was born

Buzeo torque must belong

to the

in 311.

The

period

when

the Goths were recent settlers in Dacia and heathens. points

to

The great the

camp

of the

intrinsic value of the gold

dedication of the

great triumph

the

it

plunder

spoils

may

or the

Emperor Decius,

the wealthy city of Marcianopolis.

probable

date

still

seems

to

be

of some

be

of the

ransom of

The

most

between 210 and

250 A.D.

Another dated monument of nearly equal importance

Danube.

comes

also

The Roman

now Druisheim,

from

the

station

region of

of the

Drusomagus,

near Augsburg, was established


The Nordenhoff Broach.

by

Tiberius,

and was

convulsions of the

finally

fifth

in

destroyed

At

century.

the

the neigh-

bouring village of Nordenhoff, the cemetery of the third Italian legion has been discovered, and

362 graves have been excavated.

In these graves

Roman

coins,

ranging in date from Augustus to Valens.

The

were found no

less

than forty- six

interments, with few exceptions, are pre-Christian,

and extend from the year 200

A. D. to 400.

one of these graves, along with of jewellery,

articles

many

In

v.aluable

was found a large

silver

broach, bearing on the back three separate runic inscriptions of ownership or donation.

of the

three

four

German

owners of this

successive

men and

The names

a woman,

are

all

broach,

of the

Low

The grave was that of a woman, probably the Gothic wife of some Eoman officer. The broach can hardly have been or

Gothic type.

deposited in the grave later than the year 400,

probably

it

was much

earlier,

and, allowing for

the four successive ownerships, the earliest of the three inscriptions carries us

much

further back.

Judging from the character of the runes, two of the inscriptions

seem

to

be

earlier,

and one


The Dated Monuments.

io

later,

than the inscription on the Buzeo torque.

The most probable date seems

to

be between

finds'

of the early

200 and 300 A.D. There are also two dated

'

Iron age, from Danish

peat bogs, which were

formerly shallow lakes.

From

Vi Moss,

the

Fyn, was exhumed a collection of 3000 such

as

swords, spear-heads,

evidently the

which was

A

hoard

lost

comb and a wooden

bone

silver coin of

to

and combs,

chief

or

trader,

names of

were

tool-handle

their former owners.

Faustina the younger,

in 175 A.D. gives

200

of some

articles,

hidden in the ancient lake.

or

inscribed with the

A

tools,

in

who

died

us an approximate date, say

300 A.D.

The other Jutland,

is

'find,'

from the

of about the same date.

of the contents of three or battle.

Nydam

The

war

ships,

Moss, in

It consisted

sunk

in storm

skeletons of the horses

still

tained the iron bits between their jaws.

re-

Along

with arrows inscribed with runes were bronze broaches, silver clasps, iron swords, knives, spears,

together with thirty-four

dating from 69 to 217 A.D.

Roman

and

coins,


The Charnay Broach.

1 1

Second only in interest to the Buzeo torque is

the silver-gilt broach which

was found

in 1857,

together with a great quantity of ornaments and

weapons, on the battle-field of Charnay, at the confluence of the Saone and the Doubs.

It

was

Burgundians were defeated with

here that the

immense slaughter by the Franks under

Clovis.

This broach, which no doubt belonged to one of the slain chieftains of the Burgundian host, bears, in addition to a runic inscription of

ship, a Futhorc, of

are legible.

which the

nineteen runes

The Burgundians were

nected with the Goths.

and Burgundians and at a

first

as

later period

owner-

closely con-

Pliny associates Goths

dwelling near the Vistula,

we

find

Burgundians shar-

ing the fortunes of their Gothic kinsmen in Moesia, Italy, Illyria,

and Asia Minor.

The Burgundian

Futhorc on the Charnay broach

be regarded as

therefore

may

essentially a Gothic alphabet of

a date not later than the end of the say 450 to 480 A.D.

fifth

century,

Great importance must be

attached to the Charnay runes, not only because of

their

because,

very

precise

and

definite

date,

though they are substantially

but

identical


The Dated Monuments.

12

with the runes on the Buzeo torque, they exhibit in

forms which

cases

several

more modern

M

notably

distinctively

H

instead of

The forms

instead of A.

are

of the

,

and

runes in the

Futhorc of the Vadstena bracteate, already ferred

are

to,

obviously of intermediate

Taking the date of the Buzeo torque 2~o A.D., and that of the

re-

date.

as about

Charnay broach

we may with some

about 460,

f)

as

confidence assign

the Vadstena bracteate to the year 350 or there-

abouts

*.

But these few runic some fortunate assign

accident,

forms

of the

Some

by

has been possible to

possess.

runes

The most primi-

occur

upon undated

From Jutland we have

monuments.

1

it

approximate dates, are by no means the

most ancient which we tive

inscriptions to which,

the Thors-

monuments are of use in enabling us subsequent developments of the Runic writing,

other dated

to trace the

Such are the Collingham Cross, erected to the memory of King Oswin, murdered at Collingham, on August aoth, 650 ; the Bewcastle Cross, a memorial of King Alcfrith, who died and

though not least, the magnificent Ruthwell Cross, on which Csedmon inscribed, not later than 680,

in

670;

last,

a portion of his

Dream

of the

Holy Rood.


Prehistoric Inscriptions.

13

diadem bjerg Moss weapons and the Dalby

;

arid

from Norway the Tune stone and the Frohaug bronze,

all

of which bear inscriptions which

well belong to the second, or even the

tury of our

first,

In these inscriptions we

era.

may cenfind,

among

other signs of great antiquity, the runes

H,

and

E3,

which are the remote prototypes

<j>,

of the third century runes M,

The foregoing evidence

Dd,

and

Y.

establishes the existence,

at a very early date, of a definite runic alphabet,

which must have been a common possession of Gothic tribes before the commencement of

the

their dispersion.

of the

movement

the southward

Goths down the valley of the Dnieper before

began

Now

the

end of the

second

century,

while their northward migration to the

shores

much

earlier

of

Sweden must be assigned

to a

period.

In connection with this question of date

it is

important to notice that this ancient and widespread Gothic alphabet nite,

and uniform.

is

wonderfully firm,

To decipher the

defi-

inscription

on the golden torque of the Moesian Goths by the help of the alphabet stamped on the golden


The Dated Monuments.

14

Bracteate from Swedish Gothland, it

as easy as

is

would be to read an Australian tombstone by

the aid of a spelling-book from the United States.

common

Distant colonies employ the

alphabet of

the mother country.

That the runic alphabet of the third century should be so widely diffused, and so uniform in its

character,

But

antiquity. letters of

a

indicates

these

considerable

early

runes

previous

are not the

any other known alphabet.

The dated

runes of the third century must already have

had a long great

history,

and must have undergone

and

developments

Their

modifications.

resemblances to the letters of the Mediterranean alphabets are sufficiently close fact of a

common

blances are

parentage,

such as to

period for their evolution.

to

establish

the

while the dissem-

demand a

considerable

Just as the geologist

postulates his needful milleniums for the develop-

ment of the Horse from the Hipparion, student of Alphabets claims at of some of the

centuries

as

forms of the

of any other

requisite earliest

known Alphabet.

once for

the

so the

a period

growth

extant runes

out

The evolution of


Early the

Theories.

15

Greek Alphabet from the Semitic, of the Latin

from the Aramaic, of the

Arabic

from

the Greek, are processes which afford some sort of measure of the time that would be required

development of the Gothic Futhorc out

for the

of any other alphabet

Greek, Latin, Phoenician,

or Carthaginian.

After carefully weighing the whole evidence before us, it may, I think, be affirmed that the

Eunes must be placed a century or two, at the very least, before the commenceorigin of the

ment of the Christian

THE PHCENICIAN HYPOTHESIS.

3.

We

era.

now

are

investigation,

by

prepared,

to

the

discuss

this

preliminary

possible

sources

from which the Goths could have obtained the elements

of their to

of

last

Cadmus

'

Alphabet.

We may

begin with, the pre-scientific belief

dismiss,

the

ancient

century,

the celebrated

ingenuously suggests

some

Scandinavian

Woden/

as one writer

that

either brought the runes

from Asia, or constructed

a

new alphabet on


The Phoenician Hypothesis.

16

eclectic

borrowing some

principles,,

letters

from

the Greeks, some from the Eomans, others from the Hebrews, and inventing the remainder as

it

pleased him.

At the present time the most generally

ac-

cepted opinion seems to be that the runes were derived

directly

This view Professor still

is

from

Phoenician

alphabet.

upheld by the great authority of

Stephens

greater

the

name

and

1 ,

is

supported

of Lenormant,

who

by the

specifically

derives the Eunes from the Sidonian type of the

Phoenician Alphabet 2

Mr. Peile, the most recent

.

writer on the subject 3 , soberly sums

valent view in these words

with

:

some confidence that

'It if

up the

may be the

pre-

asserted

runes

were

genuine Alphabets (which there seems no reason to deny) they must have been derived from the Phoenicians

in

process

of commerce.

quite sufficient similarity in racters to

make

this

Runic Monuments,

2

JEssai su/r la propagation

9

and

is

several of the cha-

view antecedently probable,

1

table v,

There

pp. 94, 834.

de I'Afyhabet Phenicien, vol.

p. 112.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, pth edition, Art. Alphabet.

I,


Historical Proof wanting.

but

not

if

difficult,

proof would

historical

any

impossible/

1

be

extremely

The only

definite

attempt to give any such 'historical proof believe, that

Dieterich

.

uncritical, that

it

is

however,

may

attempt.

The

affiliated

definite

state them.

This much,

runes, in their earliest forms,

must

to the Phoenician alphabet of

some

Place.

If,

as Mr. Peile sup-

runes were obtained from Phoenician

traders, they

must have come

either from Sidon,

This must have been either

Tyre, or Carthage.

before the destruction of Sidon or of Tyre

wholly

be said with regard to any such

Time and

poses, the

so

unnecessary to discuss his

arguments or even to

be

I

of this learned Professor

unfortunately written in a spirit

is

is,

which has been made by Professor

The essay

J

7

by Alexander,

by the

Persians,

or of Carthage

Komans, conditions which limit us

by the

to those Phoe-

nician alphabets which were prior to the fourth

century B.C.

It

is

also

plain

that

the

more

primitive forms of the Phoenician letters, which are earlier in date than the 1

great extension of

Entrdthselung des Odinischen Futhork durch das Semitisclie

Alphabet.

Stockholm, 1864.

C


1

The Phoenician Hypothesis.

8

the Phoenician commerce, as well as

must be excluded

developments of the runes,

from the comparison. dispose of almost

all

be drawn from a

These obvious conditions the arguments which might

comparison of the

superficial

tables of Phoenician

the later

all

and runic

letters

Thus we can no

1

given by Professor Stephens

which are

.

H

and

longer compare the Semitic letters :,

with the late runes of similar form and value. it

Moreover,

Greeks

all

probability

and

suppose that developments of the

analogy to Semitic

contrary to

is

letters

should

which have

took

among

the

precisely

and

place

been again

independently repeated in the case of the Gothic runes.

It

for instance, impossible

is,

that the remarkable

to believe

evolution of Aryan vowels

out of certain Semitic gutturals and breathings should,

course

by mere

among

chance,

the

civilized

semi-barbarous Baltic tribes stance or two from in

the

highest

1

;

Hellenes or,

among the

degree

run a

have

to take an in-

consonants, it

improbable

Runic Monuments, pp.

parallel

and the

95, 116.

that

is

both


Improbability of the Hypothesis.

and

Greeks evolved

the

Goths '

independently have

should

forms

fc,

Phoenician letters 9>

$,

W,

19

H

and

and

out

of the

^.

Several of the runes are, no doubt, capable of

explanation from Semitic

letters,

but even

allow the utmost latitude of interpretation

if

we

it will

be found that more than half of the twenty-four primitive

runes

are

left

unexplained

by the

Phoenician hypothesis.

At calls

present,

however,

this

and sober scholar

Till

some competent

shall succeed in

Gothic Futhorc, rune by rune,

been evolved out of the Phoenician is

hardly

for serious refutation, for it has never yet

been seriously propounded.

the

hypothesis

showing how

might have letters,

there

really nothing substantial to be refuted.

The

mere assertion of a

*

possibility/

which

is all

that

has yet been given us by the propounders of the Semitic theory, affords no solid material for

argument. 4.

A

THE LATIN HYPOTHESIS.

second hypothesis, which derives the runes

from the Latin Alphabet, stands upon a different c 2


The Latin Hypothesis.

2O

It is obviously

footing.

suggested by the striking

resemblance of the runes corresponding

and

is

it

Koman

letters

supported,

of vague generalities

I,

fr,

to the

C, F, H,

B,

the

by

I,

R;

allegation

but

possibilities,

by

arguments, brought forward by writers

definite

of

not

and

P, H,

<,

,

repute,

which

can

be

with

grappled

and

weighed.

The Latin theory was broached by Dr. Kirchhoff, five

and twenty years ago l and has recently ,

been worked out in considerable

Wimmer 2

,

arguments

MM.

a

Danish

have

been

scholar,

by Dr.

detail

whose

favourably

elaborate

regarded

by

Earle, Rhys, Vigfusson, and Sweet, and by

several

Dr.

German

Wimmer

scholars of repute.

supposes

that

the

Runes were

obtained from the Romans, through the Gauls, 3

In order to

in the time of the

early empire

account for certain

Runes which plainly cannot

.

be of Latin origin, he assumes that his hypo1

2

Das

Goihische Runenalphabet.

Berlin, 1854.

Runeskriftens Oprindelse og Udvikling

havn, 1874. 3

Op.

cit. p.

150.

i

Norden.

Kopen-


The Chronological

21

Difficulty.

thetical Gaulish alphabet contained letters derived

from the Massilian Greeks, and others descended from the old North-Etruscan alphabet

The

difficulties

two

.of

kinds

which

general

beset this

and

!

theory are

Passing

special.

over the wholly unwarranted assumption as to

the nature of Dr. Wimmer's imaginary Gaulish alphabet, the first objection that presents

that

is

bringing

time

sufficient

about the

not

is

obtainable

changes which

taken place in several of the

itself

for

must have

letters.

It

has

been already shown that the Goths possessed a

uniform

and well-established

alphabet

in

the

second century, before they migrated, one body

northwards to the

to

the

closely

Roman

letters,

them very

teen differ from century,

so

if

Wimmer's theory

much, for

the

Vistula,

and

ten

resemble

runes the

of ten

yet the other four-

considerably.

Barely

obtainable

on Dr.

is

the spread of the runes,

through a host of hostile to

although

Futhorc

corresponding

a

Now

Danube.

Gothic

another southwards

Scandinavia,

for

of form and value which

tribes,

the

from the Rhone

extensive changes

must have taken place


The Latin Hypothesis.

22

in several of the letters if the runes are to be

with

connected

Latin

the

Setting

alphabet.

aside for the present certain fatal phonetic culties,

which

will

to

believe

possibly suffice

for Dr.

difficult

is

be

hereafter

a

that

;

of

M

out of E

;

considered,

,

or of

it

could

century

Wimmer's supposed

velopment of the runes X,

C

diffi-

de-

and N out of runic vowel

Y, a

and guttural, out of Z, a non- Roman

sibilant,

the existence of which in his Gaulish alphabet Dr.

Wimmer

fails satisfactorily to explain.

The geographical

great as the

difficulty is as

If the runes were obtained from

chronological.

we ought

find

them

in the possession of those Teutonic tribes

which

the Romanized Gauls,

bordered

came is,

upon

Gaul,

or

which

into early contact with the

we should

look for

to

in

some way

Romans

;

them among the

of the Rhineland or of the

that tribes

Upper Danube.

In German lands numerous inscribed stones have been found, dating from the

first

century

v

downwards, but none of them bear runes are written in

unmistakable

Roman

;

they

characters,

which exhibit no trace of any tendency towards


The Geographical

23

Difficulty.

the development of the characteristic runic forms.

The regions

which runic stones abound are

in

lands which

were

never

part

Roman

the

of

empire, and which are as remote as can be from

the

Roman

It

frontier.

not

is

the

in

Agri

Decumates, or in Vindelicia, or in Rhaetia, that runic stones occur, but in Norway, in

and more

of Gothland and

Swedish provinces

the

in

especially

Upland.

Denmark,

It

the Jutes in

is

Jutland, the Goths in Gothland, and the Mceso-

Goths on the Euxine,

far

remote,

all

of them,

from the frontiers of Gaul, who were acquainted with the runes at a time when they were un-

known

to

the

frontier

the Alemanni,

the

tribes

Istevones,

of the

the

Cherusci,

Chatti,

and

the Franks.

Out of

stones which

have been discovered not one

claimed by

Germany

all

the two thousand runic

or France.

of the runic treasures

of

The catalogue

Germany

two broaches, a spear -head, and a the

possessions,

wanderers

German

or

in

exiles

all

is

of

finger-ring

probability,

who chanced

consists

of to

Gothic die

on

soil.

The preceding geographical evidence may be


The Latin Hypothesis.

24

held to prove that the

come

from

the

chronological

.must

have

shews

evidence

before they had

Gaul

of

frontiers

been

could not have

runes

;

that

Goths

the

them

with

acquainted

the

while

long

any opportunity of acquiring a

knowledge of the Latin alphabet. There

which

is

is

another argument of a general nature

not without

its

A

weight.

large

number

of the most ancient runic inscriptions are written in the early direction,

Greek

fashion, either in a retrograde

from right to

left,

The gradual abandonment

or boustrophedon.

of

this

method

of

writing can be traced in the runic inscriptions as plainly as in the Greek.

Now

if

the runic writing

had been acquired from the Eomans nothing can be

more certain than

inscriptions

that

the

earliest

runic

would have been written from

to right according to the

Koman

method.

left

It is

contrary at the same time to probability and to experience that any nation which had once become

acquainted with the more convenient method of writing should have forthwith

reverted to

the

inconvenient archaic system.

Although the foregoing general considerations


The Retrograde

by themselves

are probably sufficient

Wimmer's

of Dr.

at

hypothesis,

to

dispose

events

all

form in which he broaches

the

25

Inscriptions.

may

it

yet

it,

in

be as well to inquire whether, supposing these preliminary obstacles to be in any

Latin alphabet

the

is

way

evaded,

of affording

capable

an

adequate explanation of the origin of the individual runes.

Dr.

Kirchhoff's

to

attempt

an

supply such

explanation must at once be set aside as insuf-

Indeed he does not seem to be aware

ficient.

of the real nature of the problem to be solved.

He

contents

from

himself with taking fifteen runes

Futhorc

Scandinavian

the

of

the

tenth

and comparing twelve of them with

century,

the corresponding letters of the Latin alphabet.

He

ought rather

Gothic

Futhorc

which the

The

to

the

of

to

deal

hand the

century,

was

from

derived.

when

with the characteristic early ^,

of which, as will

be

4,

Futhorc

in

of the case only arise

runes, such as X,

p.

third

Scandinavian

real difficulties

we come

have taken

\

disappeared from

,

M, Y,

seen

the

D0,

,

,

from the table later

all

on

Scandinavian


The Latin Hypothesis.

26

These early runes Dr. Kirchhoff passes

Futhorc.

1 by without a word

Dr.

Wimmer, however,

Futhorc

the

.

the

alphabet

to

is

is

fully

aware that

if

be derived from the Latin

difficulty

must be faced

of

ac-

counting for the forms of the earlier runes. therefore deal

will

than with those

with his arguments, rather

of

Dr.

Kirchhoff,

examine the accordance of sults

In

with

general

his

scientific principles

alphabetic

tracing

principles

many

and

briefly

methods and

and

re-

possibilities.

certain

developments

have to be borne in mind.

The laws which govern the resemble in

I

of letters

origin

respects those which regulate

the origin of species and the origin of words.

In

Palaeography,

Philology,

variations

present,

in

Zoology,

Botany,

or

no arbitrary or violent changes are

The

to be expected.

the

as

are

of

the

variations of letters, like

sounds which

slow and gradual,

they re-

and take place

in accordance with phonetic laws, and in obedience

to

general principles

1

Dai

:

the chief of which are

Gothische Munenalphabet, pp. 4-8.


The Principles of Alphabetic Change.

The

(i)

Principle

Principle

are

Greek

exemplified

in

developments of

G

of

n,

U, V, Y,

W

alphabets these

the

principles

and necessary

gradual

out of C, of J out of

We

out of O.

were retained, and how additional

were

gradually

and the

So again, on

order

to

it

manifest

is

B gradually acquired

R

letter

when

by means

developed

the Principle of Sufficient Reason

loop,

how

letters

letters,

of slight differentiations of form.

that the letter

and

I,

here see

on the Principle of Least Effort the old

required,

The

(2)

In the Latin,

of Sufficient Keason.

and

English,

and

of Least Effort,

27

developed

its

its

lower

tail,

in

confusions with

prevent inconvenient

the letter P.

These

fundamental

principles

change are constantly neglected

of

alphabetic

by Dr.

Wimmer.

His method assumes that the inventors of the runes arbitrarily discarded a certain number of the Latin letters, and then without any Sufficient

Reason invented other places.

of the like

letters to

supply the vacant

If his explanations are correct, several runes, instead

the letters of

all

of having other

been evolved,

alphabets,

by the


The Latin Hypothesis.

28 action of slow

and natural

been invented

off

giver,

who had

of Grimm's

processes,

must have

hand by some alphabetic law-

the power to suspend the action

Law, and whose arbitrary behests

were promptly obeyed over a vast region extending from the Rhone to the Baltic, and from the Baltic to the Danube. If

we

we compare

the Latin and the Kunic letters,

see that in nine cases there

close

have

a sufficiently

Latin

BCFHIMRST

Runic

*<rHlMfr*t b

But there

c

f

li

i

We

and value.

form

in

correspondence

is

m

r

s

t

are fifteen runes which cannot so easily

We

be explained.

have

Latin

ADEGLNOPUVX

Runic

frNMX

r *

*

K h

l>

a d

I

n

o

p u

v x

e

g

Dr. Wimmer's task

is

Y

l>

'V h

ik eo

$

y ng

to explain from the Latin

Alphabet the origin of these explanation which he gives

is

fifteen runes.

The

as follows.

The Latin A was dropped, without

Sufficient


Dr. Wimmers Argument.

disused for centuries, took

The

became

its place.

and acquired the value

^,

was then doubled, and one half of

It

th.

D

letter

which had been

A,

Eeason, and the Etruscan

was turned round, ^^,

new rune

with the value of d

DQ,

The

to obtain

in order

1 being contrary to phonetic law

M, though

the existing letter

any

the

of

inscription

the

.

E was turned upon

letter

it

both changes

;

its

face,

no Sufficient Reason usurped the

for

in

29

there

is

and

form of no trace

hypothetical

inter-

mediate form m.

The

G, without

letter

and

disused,

a

new

invented to supply

The

sign,

The

letter L, for

letter

no reason at

In Gothic

for

O,

the

contrary to

1

become

no

Principle

all,

was written

h.

Sufficient

of Least

1*.

Reason, and Effort,

took

.

th should

In Welsh dd becomes th th

arbitrarily

N, for no Sufficient Reason, became

letter

the form

X, was

was

its place.

upside down, and became

The

Sufficient Reason,

d.

become th,

d, instead

of

d becoming

th.

but in no known language could


The Latin Hypothesis.

3O

The

P changed

letter

value to

becomes

v,

its

contrary to the phonetic law that

A

f.

new p was then

placing two

's

thetical rune, of inscription,

form to ^, and

its

which there

forthwith

this

p by

hypo-

no trace in any

is

five

lost

and

fcH,

vis-h-vis,

invented

strokes,

and be-

came K.

The

letter

V,

for

no reason at

was written

all,

upside down, and became H.

The character

X

having been invented to supply

the place of the disused letter G, the Latin letter

X

consequently became unavailable to

the sound x.

Hence the

a true Latin

letter

at

letter

express

Z, which

is

but Etruscan and

all,

Greek, was taken over and transformed into

with the values x and

i,

and

also, as

contends, with the value of r

This Greek or Etruscan those

who

1

and

Dr. R,

Dr.

Wimmer

l .

Z was

so familiar to

was made the parent, not only of

also of the rune

Wimmer

\

or s/^ with the values

assigns the value of r to the

two runes

even when they stand side by side in the same

scription.

Y,

constructed the runes out of the Latin

letters that it

Y, but

not

y in-


Dr. Wimmer's Argument. i

and

eo,

31

without Sufficient Eeason, and contrary

to phonetic law.

The remaining runes

a

more

still

crucial

adequacy of Dr. Wimmer's theory.

of the

test

offer

Identifying the rune

<

(k)

with the Latin runes

considers that

the three

which denote

respectively g, y,

X,

ij,

C

he

,

and

,

and ng, were

formed by three different reduplications of the

How

rune <.

the debilitated sounds g and

could be obtained by the reduplication strengthening)

But

not explain. constructed

of the if

(i.

e.

y

the

hard guttural k he does these runes had been thus

we should expect

to find transitional

forms in the earlier inscriptions.

Now

X

from the very

appears, firm

and well

defined,

while the earlier forms of H are

first,

then 5

,

which certainly do not look

cations of <.

The ng

first ^,

it

rune, however,

We

find

was un-

as

we

on the earlier monuments through

successive

stages

of the

process

such early forms as

'O',

and

like redupli-

doubtedly formed by reduplication trace

the rune

can

many

of formation.

O,

*,

fcj,

Z,

%> Q> *>, the last of which settled into the final form J$ about the sixth century A. D. Dr. Wimmer


The Latin Hypothesis.

32 is

therefore plainly right in considering this as

a

double

rune,

from

derived

But

<.

is

it

equally plain that the ng sound must have arisen

out of gg and not out of

In Greek 77

kk.

is

equivalent to ng, and Ulphilas, as in the words

juggs the

young, and huggrfan, to hunger, employs

y

symbols

rr

to

(gg)

express the

Teutonic

sound ng, either following in this respect the law of the

familiar

Greek

probably, retaining the

phonesis,

usage

in the Gothic Futhorc on

or,

more

which he found

which he modelled

his

Not only must ng come from gg, but by Grimm's Law a Gothic k represents a Alphabet.

primitive

It

g.

follows therefore

ginal value of the symbol as thus,

and thus

the two runes <

Now

in the

third symbol,

g

to

c,

that the ori-

< was g and not

k,

only, can the origin of both of (k),

and

(

n 9\ be explained.

Latin alphabet the power of the

C, had already been changed from

and hence, independently of

phical or chronological considerations,

all

geogra-

it is

obvious

that no modification of the conditions of the Latin

Hypothesis

is

of the runes.

capable of accounting for the origin


Difficulties

of the Latin Hypothesis.

33

In the way of the Latin theory stand a whole host of insuperable difficulties

chronological, geo-

graphical, phonological, and morphological.

only does

to

fail

it

account

Not

the origin of

for

fourteen out of the twenty-four primitive runes,

but

it

leaves

entirely

unexplained

the

order

which

they occupy in the Futhorc. Why, be asked, should the Futhorc begin with

may

and end with

o,

z

any

have deemed

not

?

Wimmer's argument appears

so destitute of

it

needful to

to

be

it

in

had not obtained the approval

of so

scholars of high repute.

From one

me

examine

if it

5.

to

solid foundation that I should

such detail

many

f

instead of beginning with a and

ending with x or Dr.

it

THE GREEK HYPOTHESIS. passage only, in any ancient writer,

do we obtain information as to the nature of Tacitus had heard a report of the

the runes. existence,

the

somewhere

North

1

Tacitus, frontiers

of

1 ,

far

away

in the regions of

of certain inscriptions which were

The vague references to the Germania, 3. and to the place called and Rhsetia, Germany


The Greek Hypothesis.

34 written

Greek

in

characters

tumulos quosdam, Graecis

him

report seemed to either

vouch

to

explanation

mormmenta

:

literis

inscriptos.

so strange that

worth, the current conjecture.

The

he declines attempt an

for its truth or to

but he gives, for what

;

et

it

Some

might be

persons, he

says,

have supposed that Ulysses in his wander-

ings

must have

Germany, and

visited

left

the northern coasts

of

behind him these inscriptions

:

quaB neque confirmare argumentis, neque refellere in

animo

est

:

ex ingenio suo quisque demat vel

addat fidem.

Modern

writers have

Tacitus as an criticism

may

may supply

*

scouted the account of

absurd story;'

a more sagacious

perhaps discover in the true

it

a hint which

explanation of the runic

mystery.

Asciburgium, where Tacitus localizes these inscriptions, may perhaps be reconciled by the supposition that the Asciburgium is really the 'Ao-Kifiovpyiov opos of Ptolemy, which undoubtedly the Biesengebirge on the frontier of Silesia. Tacitus may have transferred his Asciburgium to the lower Rhine in order to harmonize with the current Odyssean

of Tacitus

is

legend the reports which he had heard as to the Ascibergian inscriptions.


The Evidence of

Tacitus..

35

It is manifest that if the Phoenician

solutions

and Latin

have both to be rejected, one other

possibility alone

remains

the runes must have

been derived from the Greek

letters,

since

the

Greeks were the only other people in possession

who

of an alphabet

could

have anywise come

into contact, commercial or colonial, with any of

the Teutonic tribes at a period as early as the If the Greek

circumstances of the case require.

alphabet will not afford a solution of the problem,

must, apparently, be given up as finally

it

insoluble.

It

is

at once obvious that the chief difficulties

which stand in the way of a solution from the Latin Alphabet do not apply equally to the Greek. If the

Teutons the

runes

were

from, the

chronological

.should

obtain

acquired by the Eastern

Greek colonies on the Euxine difficulty

disappears,

several centuries

for

as

we

the needful

developments.

The geographical

assumes a

formidable shape, as in this case

the

less

difficulty

South-Western Teutons would be the

instead of the

the runes.

first,

also

last,

to acquire a knowledge of

Nor does any D 2

difficulty arise

from


The Greek Hypothesis.

36

the retrograde or boustrophedon direction of the primitive

runic writing, as the early Greek in-

scriptions

are written in the

same manner.

It

has just been shown that Dr. Wimmer's theory

down conspicuously

breaks

the

in

account for the origin of the runes

We

<.

,

which

may

have

never

Law

H

Hence

be

been

yet

or

M, which

rune for

Greek

g,

%.

Y

is,

But

as

it

Law

X

of

#,

,

%.

ought to

as the

so

the

ancient

Hence X, the simply the

be,

for ch.

symbol

the at

g

Greek alphabet we

signs,

have acquired the value of

As

X, acquired in other,

Y, might

in Scandinavia.

In

by Grimm's Law, a Greek 7 Hence from the Greek a Gothic k.

place,

answers to or

d.

also gives a Gothic

Greek

one of these equivalent Italy the value

or

El

in the early

as well as

the next

By

are the old runes for d,

with

Grimm's

0.

ex-

a sort of preliminary test

as the equivalent of a

F

satisfactorily

a Greek 6 answers to a Gothic

identified

forms of

find

Y, X,

adequacy of the Greek hypothesis.

Grimm's

may

DO,

therefore take these five runes,

plained, as affording

of the

to

attempt

f we

obtain

in Scandinavia,

as in Italy,


A preliminary <

the symbol

for c

(k).

Test.

37

Also since gg expresses

the sound of ng in Greek and in Ulphilas, the

double rune <> or

&

for

ng

is at

once explained.

It will be noticed that all these correspondencies,

of contravening

instead entire

phonetic

laws,

harmony with them, while the

peculiarities

explicable

are

in

distinctive

of the runic system, which are in-

on

the

Latin

hypothesis,

receive

a

simple and natural explanation from the Greek alphabet.

The foregoing arguments, which can be stated in a single paragraph, seem sufficient to justify a more detailed investigation of a theory which,

though

it

seems to be the obvious solution of

the problem, and accords with the only state-

ment of any ancient author on the not hitherto, so far as I

am

subject, has

aware, undergone

the test of a serious examination.

6.

THE CHRONOLOGICAL

CONDITIONS.

But before thus examining the Futhorc

to see

by legitimate processes it can be derived, rune by rune, from the Greek alphabet, it is needful

if


The Chronological

38

to state, as briefly as

may

Conditions.

be, the

geographical

and chronological conditions of the problem, and to determine the forms which were assumed by the Greek letters at the time and at the place at which

runes

it

would seem that the

may most

origin of the

probably be sought.

First, as to the chronological possibilities.

We

have already seen that there

is

reason to

must have originated

believe that the runes

a considerable period before the year 200

Now

amount

the

separates

the

of

Greek

phonetic letters

at

A. D.

which

change

from the

earliest

runes occupied in the case of Keltic speech about eight centuries

1 .

It seems then to be not un-

reasonable to postulate a somewhat similar period

development of corresponding changes in

for the

the Gothic and Scandinavian languages.

what more

definite date is given

cant peculiarity in the runic

writing,

a

A

by the

some-

signifi-

direction of the earliest

circumstance which

points

to

the conclusion that the runes must have been obtained from the Greeks at the very time

*

Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology,

p. 45.

when


The Boustrophedon

Test.

39

Greek writing was in its transition state, and was passing from the retrograde direction in which it was received from the Phoenicians, the

through the intermediate

boustrophedon stage,

the ultimate direction from

into

left

to

right.

This consideration would indicate the sixth century B.C. as an approximate date for the origin of the runes.

The

palseographical tests agree in pointing to

the same date.

The Greek

alphabet from which

the

runes

were derived must have been distinguished, as will be seen hereafter, characteristics

1-3.

and

The introduction

The use of H

and the 5-9.

w l

:

of the

new

letters

X, Y,

fl.

4.

of

by the following fourteen

;

and of

to

denote both the vowel

aspirate.

The use of R of

A

10-12.

V or the

instead of

instead of

P

0; of ^

;

of

M

instead

instead of

A;

and < instead of F.

The use of h later

A

;

of $

in place of the earlier

instead of the earlier


The Chronological Conditions.

40

M

or the

B

earlier

13,

Z

later

The

instead of the

K

or the later

14.

H

and of

;

retention

of the

gutturals

<j>

and Y. These fourteen runic tests are also the characteristic

marks

of the

alphabet

of

Ionia

and

the Isles at the end of the sixth century B.C.

To obtain a

limit of time

superior

the following dates

we have

:

Before the

X

Introduction of

4oth Olympiad. 6oth

Introduction of fl

Use

of

B

as a

Change of B

....

Y

Introduction of

vowel

to

H

.

Hence of the 4<Dth

it

R

.

p to h

Change of P* Change of

.

....

Introduction of the tailed

Change of

.

47th

M

to to

40 th 45th 55th

4oth

M ....

55th

....

4oth

$

appears that the specially runic forms

Greek alphabet were acquired between the and 6oth Olympiads.


The Palceographical For the

inferior limit of

Tests.

time

41

we have After the

H

Disuse of

for aspirate

Change of

of * to

A 5

Change

^

A

Change of

to

to

Final disuse of

These

.

8oth 75th

.

.... .... Y

forms

runic

75th

8oth 75th

.

.

dates

approximate

characteristic

85th

.

.

.

.

and

^

84th Olympiad.

....

O

to

Change of h

....

R

Disuse of tailed

show that

disappeared

several

between

the 75th and 85th Olympiads. It appears therefore that the Ionian

and Island

alphabet exhibits a remarkable approximation to runic

between

forms

Olympiads, that

480

B.C.

is,

the

6oth

and the

75th

between the years 540 and

This date for the origin of the runes,

which has

been

graphical grounds,

arrived is

at

solely

on

curiously confirmed

palseo-

by

his-

torical considerations.

In the sixth century

B.C.

the shores of Thrace

and of the Black Sea were thickly studded with colonies

from

the

Isles

and

the

Ionian

cities.


The Chronological Conditions.

42

Just at the close of this century the rapid progress of the Persian arms isolated

all

these

must have

northern

effectually

from their

colonies

parent states, and thus have stereotyped for a considerable period the alphabet which they pos-

The Persian expedition

sessed.

to the Danube,

the conquest of Thrace, the capture of Miletus, Teos, Lesbos, Samos, Naxos, Thasos, Chios, Lemnos,

Tenedos, and Chalcis, are events which took place

Thus

between the years 510 and 490. year 500

B.C.,

at the very time

characteristics of the Ionian

had attained

their

when

in the

the runic

and Island alphabet

maximum

development, the

Ionian and Island colonies on the Euxine were temporarily, and in some cases permanently, cut off

from intercourse with the parent

an

of colonial

isolation

perpetuate case

in

of the

them

Saxon

cities.

dependencies

Such

tends

archaic peculiarities.

to

The

colonists in Transylvania, of

the French habitans in Canada, or of the Dutch boers

at the

Cape, are

sufficient

to

shew that

isolated colonists are likely to conserve for centuries the fashions of speech, dress,

which were

prevalent

in

the

and writing

parent countries


Isolation

at the time

of the Thracian

when

Colonies.

43

the severance took place.

default of any direct evidence

it

may

In

therefore

be regarded as probable that those special runic characteristics of the

Greece

itself

Greek alphabet, which in

were but transient, lasting

more than half a century, might have been preserved

colonies

in the

for a

Euxine

much

period, very possibly for a century or

little

longer

two

after

the Persian invasion.

THE GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS.

7.

We now

come

to deal with the

possibilities of the problem.

We

whether any Teutonic people

geographical

have to inquire could

have had

such intercourse with any of the Greek colonies in the sixth or following centuries as to enable

them

to

call the

Now

acquire a knowledge of

what we may

runic type of the Greek alphabet.

the Greek colonies on the shores of Thrace

and of the Euxine were derived almost exclusively from Ionia and the liarities

Isles,

where the runic pecu-

of the Greek alphabet are chiefly found.

Samothrace was colonized from Samos, Chalcidice from Chalcis, Thasos from Paros, while Miletus


The Geographical

44

had numerous

colonies

Conditions.

on

the

in

Hellespont,

Thrace, in the Crimea, and at the mouths of the

Don, the Dniester, and the Dnieper. If the Thracian Getse were of Gothic race the

problem receives

an

immediate

solution.

The

Getse are found not only south of the Balkans in the valley of the Maritza,

but they were spread

over the Wallachian and Bessarabian plains from the

Danube

to

were Goths we

the

If

Dnieper.

should thus

have

the

Goths

Greeks dwelling in absolute contact.

and Jornandes, Jerome

The

and

Procopius

and Spartian, agree

identifying Getes and Goths. is

Getes

in

identification

supported by the high authority of

W. Grimm,

whose argument, drawn from the Teutonic character of the Dacian plant-names in Dioscorides,

has

been re-stated with

recently

by Mr. Douse. to

affirm that

Canon Rawlinson goes

certain

1

1

."

It

so far as

"the identity of the Getse with

the Goths of later times conjecture.

great ability

may

is

more than a plausible

be regarded as historically

But, weighty as are the opinions of

Rawlinson's Herodotus,

vol.

iii.

pp. 69, 180.


Getes

these authorities,

and

Goths,

45

must be admitted that the

it

ethnic affinities of the Getse are

so far

still

mat-

ter of controversy as to be unfitted for the basis

of an

the Gothini,

extreme

The

induction.

historical

who

ethnology of

placed by Tacitus in the

are

south-west of Germany,

is

still

more

uncertain.

But of the traders,

to the north-west of the

Euxine, and within reach of the Greek

an universal consensus of ancient and

modern writers

places

a

dubitably of Gothic race.

people

amber country was (Guttones)

who

which must be

tells

us that the

lived on the

Bantomannian l Bay, with the Frische

identified either

Our next

authority

whose information, not being derived

like that of

1

in-

in the territory of the Goths

Haff or the Gulf of Dantzig. Tacitus,

who were

Pytheas of Marseilles,

a contemporary of Alexander,

is

Greek colonies

Pytheas from Baltic mariners, would

I take this to be the probable reading of the well-known

passage in Pliny.

The Low-German word

appears in Bra-bant, and other names.

bant, a 'district/

Thus the name of the

Banto-manni would not be a true ethnic term, but a misapprehension of Phoenician navigators, and would '

people of the district,' the

'

country-folk'

mean simply

the


The Geographical

46

Conditions.

apply to the south-western rather than to the northern frontier of the Goths.

Tacitus places

the Goths (Gothones) nearly in the same region,

but somewhat farther to the south, east of the Lygii,

who

inhabited Silesia and the western part

of modern Poland.

The testimony of Ptolemy

harmony with the statements both of Pytheas and of Tacitus. He puts the Goths (IY0oi/e?) east of the Vistula, and the (about 150 A.D.)

Tovrai (Jutes

we may

?)

is

in

in the

'

island of Scandia/ which

identify with the

Swedish province of

Gothland \ It

would seem therefore that the northward

migration across the Baltic of a portion of the

Goths must have taken place at some considerable

there

period is

before the

ample ground

time for

of

Ptolemy.

believing

But

that the

residue of the Gothic nation which remained to

the south of the Baltic was very numerous.

To

say nothing of the vast hosts which followed the standards

we

of Athanaric,

Alaric,

are told that the Gothic

1

and Theodoric,

army which defeated

See Zeuss, Die Deutschen, pp. 134, 511-513.


Extent of the Gothic Realm.

47

the Emperor Decius in the year 250 numbered

70,000 warriors, while the host which nineteen

to

was routed by Claudius amounted

later

years

no

than 320,000.

less

However much the

numbers may have been exaggerated,

it

is

ob-

vious that these great armies constituted only the

vanguard of the Gothic array which kept rolling

on from the North upon the South, it

spent

its

kingdoms in Gaul,

at last

founding powerful Gothic

in

force

till

Italy,

and Spain.

It

seems

therefore to be a very moderate computation if

we

reckon the population of the original Gothic

realm to the east of the Vistula at a million of

At

souls.

this

region

the present time the population which is

able

to

support

is

very sparse.

In the governments of Minsk and Volhynia the present density

is

about forty to the square mile.

But the Goths, when they occupied

this district,

were a thinly scattered pastoral people, and we are probably under the

present

agricultural

four times as dense.

Goths

mark

if

population

we suppose to

To support a

in their original seats

the

be at least million

of

with a density of

ten to the square mile, a territory of 100,000


The Geographical

48

Conditions.

square miles would be required.

It follows that

the Gothic realm must have stretched southwards for

some 400 or 500 miles from the Baltic

coast.

This inference, which agrees with the testimony of Pytheas, Tacitus, and Ptolemy,

by the recent discovery

is

supported

in Volhynia of a spear-

head bearing an inscription written in Gothic This spear-head was runes of the early type. found near the town of Kovel, which stands on the

Pripet,

distant

an

affluent

of the Dnieper,

and

is

about 300 miles from the Baltic coast,

and about 400 miles from the Black Sea.

Here in the

then,

on the upper waters of the Dnieper,

Eussian governments of Grodno, Minsk,

and Volhynia, we may place the southern limit of the Gothic tribes before they commenced their great historical migration

down

the valley of the

Dnieper to the Euxine and the Danube.

But a nation which held possession of the amber coast of the Baltic, and also extended so far

southward as

to

occupy the upper basin of

the Dnieper, would almost necessarily be in commercial intercourse with the traders

who had

the

enterprising

command

Greek

of the commerce


The Dnieper.

From

of this great river.

49

the earliest times the

trade route between the Baltic and the Euxine

was by the waterway of the Dnieper, which rises within 200 miles of the Baltic coast. It was this

by the

route, the Austrvegr

from

Varangian vikings

East way, that

or

Swedish Gothland

descended from the North and swarmed along the coasts of the Black Sea, and even laid siege to

The Dnieper (Borysthenes)

Constantinople.

known

was

to

the

seventh century

B.C.,

this great natural

Greeks

early

as

the

and the valuable trade of

highway was

in the possession

which were

of the

Greek

near

southern outlet.

its

as

colonies

The importance of the

Greek commerce of the Dnieper the statement of Herodotus,

is

evident from

who had

himself

Greek colony

visited Olbia, the flourishing

blished at its mouth.

established

esta-

Herodotus speaks of the

Borysthenes as being, next after the Nile, the greatest and most valuable

He

adds that

it

trict

of Gerrhos,

sea.

Now

river

was known forty

days'

of the

earth.

as far as the

dis-

journey from the

the distance in a straight line between

the Black Sea and the Baltic

E

is

not more than


The Geographical Conditions.

5O

700

miles,

lay,

as

and the northern half of

we have

Gothic

seen, within the limits of the

the

realm,

this space

southern

of which

frontier

would not be more than 400 miles from Olbia, or about the distance of Olbia from Byzantium.

Now

since

Greek

the

merchants

from

Olbia

ascended the river for a distance of forty days

and

journey, fifteen

the

we reckon

if

and make

miles,

windings

of

the

7

a day's journey at

allowance for

sufficient

will

this

stream,

bring

Gerrhos into close proximity with the southern border of the Gothic occupancy, within

it

1 .

It

may

the sixth and

in

sufficient

therefore

if

be assumed that

following centuries

opportunity

Pripet to acquire a

the

for

knowledge

for the

there

was

on

the

Goths of

alphabet from the Greek merchants

on the Dnieper

not actually

the

Greek

who traded

amber, and other pro-

ducts of the Gothic realm. 1

The name Gerrhos may be '

the Gothic yards, which in

midjun-gards, the world. a Kiev stockaded denoted In Norse the word trading-post. Ulphilas denotes a

was is

called

district/ as

in

by the Northmen Koenu-garthr (Ship-ton).

If

Kiev

the Gerrhos of Herodotus, then the river Pripet, on which

Zeuss places the Goths, would be the 'river of Gerrhos.'


Thracian Coins.

J

The

8.

next

51

THE THRACIAN ALPHABET. step

our

in

investigation

to

is

ascertain the characteristics of the alphabet

which

was used by these Greek

direct

traders.

The

evidence as to the Olbian and Thracian alphabet is

The Greek

very meagre.

Nogai steppe

only a fragment, arid the great

is

Olbian inscription 1 belongs to

it

inscription from the

a

is

very

useless for our purpose, as

much

later

period.

We

have to rely mainly on the evidence of a few Thracian coins, notably a large gold coin of Geta,

King of the Edoni, now which B.C.,

is

believed

and several

the same date.

2

in the British

Museum,

to belong to the sixth century

coins of the Orreskioi of about

But there

is

no lack of inscrip-

tions of the required date belonging to the cities

and islands from which the Thracian and Euxine alphabet

much

must

have

been derived.

early pottery from Thasos

3 ,

We

have

together with

1

Bockh, No. 2058. This coin was found in the bed of the Euphrates, and may have been brought from Thrace by a Persian soldier of Darius. 2

3

Dumont, Inscriptions Ceramiques de

E

2

Grece.

Paris, 1872,


The Thracian Alphabet.

52

the celebrated inscription from

Sigeum, several

from Miletus, the mother city of Olbia, and

many

more from Paros, Siphnos, Naxos, Melos, Samos, and Chalcis, all of them belonging to the end 1

of the

The evidence of the

sixth century B.C.

Thracian coins goes to show that the Thracian alphabet was identical with the alphabet of the

mother

cities

usually

designated

of the Thracian colonies, which

Ionia and the Isles

The following piled

from

three

successive

The

the

is

1

See

of

has been carefully com-

original

types

to

sources,

of the

Greek

the

contains

show the alphabet.

earliest

Greek

CADMEAN ALPHABET,

obtained mainly from the Inscriptions

The second column,

of Thera and Abousimbul.

which

alphabet

.

alphabet, usually called the

which

second

the

2

table

column

first

as

is

for

convenience

Kirchhoff,

may

be designated

Studien zur Gesckichte

des

the

Griechischen

alphabets, passim. 2

This alphabet was probably introduced into Thrace by means of the Parian colony of Thasos, the Chalcidian colony See of Chalcidice, and the Samian colony of Samothrace. Kirchhoff, op.

cit.,

Dictionnaire, p.

and Lenormant,

202.

art.

Alphabet in Daremberg's


The Three Greek Alphabets.

53

THBACIAN ALPHABET, has been compiled from the legends on

Thracian coins, on the pottery

of Thasos, and from inscriptions of the mother

Thracian colonies.

of the

cities

It

shows the

forms which were in use during the half century

which preceded the Persian invasion.

column contains the Alphabet

which It

may will

of the

later

or

Standard

and following

fifth

The

third

Greek

centuries,

be called the ATTIC ALPHABET. be noticed

that those

special

letter-

forms which have already afforded us a chronological test (see p. 39) fulfil also the geographical

conditions.

The

characteristic

runic

forms

of

the Greek letters which point to the end of the sixth century as the period of the origination of

the

runes, are

also

Thracian alphabet.

of the

local

The most important of

these

characteristic

test forms are

On

the page opposite to the Table of Greek

Alphabets the Table of Runes, which has already

been given on page

4,

has been reproduced, for

the purpose of facilitating convenient reference.


54

The Thracian Alphabet.

TABLE OF GREEK ALPHABETS.


The Futhorcs.

TABLE OF EUNES.

NAMES.

55


The Futhorc and

56

THE FUTHORC AND THE ALPHABET.

9.

To

close the

remaining links in the chain of

now a comparatively easy task. have only to examine how the runes of the

the argument

We

is

earliest

Gothic Futhorc,

column

of

the

connected, one

Thracian

page

Table

by

Alphabet

one,

as

of

in

given the

first

Eunes, can

with the

which

the

are

be

of the

letters

tabulated

on

54.

The

six centuries

Alphabet from the tions

the Alphabet.

which separate the Thracian earliest extant runic

inscrip-

must necessarily have produced considerable

variations in the forms and powers of the indi-

vidual runes.

These developments will however

be in accordance with those general Principles of Alphabetic change which have been at

work

in the formation of all other alphabets, and

which

have already been formulated.

We

must expect

to find the special phonetic developments of the

Gothic and Scandinavian languages accompanied

and connoted by corresponding changes in the powers and forms of the runes. The develop-

ment of new runic forms would

also occasionally


The Laws of Alphabetic Development.

57

necessitate correlative changes in other runes, in

order to obtain clearer distinction between forms

which were approaching an inconveniently

close

resemblance. It

may

letters

be laid

down

as a general rule that

which represent the most stable sounds

are the least subject to variation. for

instance,

constant of ease

letter

M,

which represents one of the most

all

through

The

sounds, all

the

be traced with great

may

alphabets

the world.

of

Hence, in those cases in which the Low-German languages have retained unchanged the primitive

Indo-European sounds, one of the most

efficient

causes of alphabetic variation can not operate,

and the correspondence between the runes and the Greek letters will follows

and

be the most

close.

It

that the affiliation of the runic liquids

sibilants

therefore

be

ought to be easy to convenient

to

trace.

begin

with

It will

these

letters.

10.

L.

LIQUIDS AND SIBILANTS.

The lambda of the Thracian alphabet has

the characteristic form

h,

which

is

clearly dis-


Liquids arid Sibilants.

58

tinguished on the one hand from

which

grew up on

source

of our

own

Italian

L, and

A and A

from the forms

soil

form

the

and

1

U the

is

on the other hand

which characterise the

standard alphabet of Hellas.

The

constant and uniform in

form, both in the

and

inscriptions

changed from

its

rune

I

is

most

in

the Futhorcs, retaining un-

first

to last the precise shape of

the Thracian h. R.

The

strongest

argument

favour of a

in

Latin origin for the runes, and a chief reason, probably,

found

hitherto tailed

Greek

the

an advocate,

hypothesis

But

not

is

either

ft

in the Thracian alphabet, during 'the

century before

the

Persian

tailed

r

closed

and open, which we

appears

inscriptions.

has

the western or

is

form of the r rune, which

or R. half

why

The

precisely

tailed r is

in

invasion,

two

the

find

in

the

forms,

the runic

found on the coins

of the Thracian Orreskioi, and also in the parent

alphabets

In

this,

of Paros, in

as

1

Thasos, Melos, and Chalcis.

some other

cases,

See Kirchhoff, Or. Alph.

the

p. 140.

delusive


The Liquids*

59

resemblance between the runes

must be attributed

letters

the

from

the

standard

to the

and Thracian

Italian

both

fact that

descended

alphabets

the

of

Alphabet

and the Latin

Isles,

Greek alphabet represents

while the

the Eolo-

Dorian alphabet of the mainland of Hellas.

M.

It

was only when the Cadmean symbol

had ceased the

to be

employed to denote

early form of mu, could develope

which

is

the character used for

The

cian alphabet.

m

rune

is

of form can be easily explained. will

s

m

that t" into

H

to

M.

,

M,

in the Thra-

M.

The change The e rune, as

presently be shown, gradually changed

form from

M

its

This change necessitated,

to avoid confusion, a correlated differentiation in

the form of the m, which was effected, on the Principle of Least Effort,

by a

two

cross

prolongation

of the

slight

downward

strokes,

M

be-

coming M.

The Thracian nu appears in the forms The derived rune was *h, with K, N, and N. N.

the variants

the

m

change.

rune,

The

J

and

K

Here, as in the case of

we have an

instance of correlated

third stroke of the Thracian letter


60

The Liquids.

must have been discarded the n from the

H and

h,

in order to distinguish

which had assumed the forms

But the former

N.

existence of the third

stroke in the primitive rune

curiously attested

is

by the juxtaposition of the h and n runes

in the

This singular change in the primitive

Futhorc.

order of the letters seems to have been effected, as

in

some other

similar cases, for the sake of

easy comparison of two runes which must at one

time have been nearly identical in form. at last this inconvenient resemblance

When

had caused

the differentiation of the n rune into 1% and of the

h rune into

position

the

of

result

the

N, the reason for the juxta-

two runes was

remained to

attest,

as

removed, it

but

were, the

similarity of the primitive forms.

S. like

In the the

Teutonic languages the

liquids,

retained

the

sibilant,

power which

possessed in the holethnic speech, and

we

it

con-

sequently find that the forms of this letter are identical

in the

Thracian and

Kunic alphabets.

In both of them the normal shape

is

$, with J

as a variant.

Thus

it

appears

that

in

the

case

of

five


61

The Vowels.

where no changes arising from phonetic causes were to be expected, no such changes have

letters,

The runes

taken place.

s I

,

fc,

$, are

unchanged, while the variations in accounted

be

as

for

cases

M

absolutely

and

of change

t-

can

due

to

correlation.

THE VOWELS.

11.

We

now come

Futhorcs

we

that

find

complicated vowel

but in the

tolerably simple

fr,

I,

most has

inscriptions

elaborate

and

been developed, the vowels

are

and constant.

The vowel runes eight,

a

system

earlier

In the later

the vowels.

to

of the

*, 1, n,

Gothic Futhorc are

\, Y, A.

Of these the

two were developed out of the Greek gutturals y, ch, and A, #, and will be treated of

last

when we come other six

may

Greek vowels

consider the

to

gutturals.

The

be regarded as descendants of the fc,

I,

P, Y, H.

The Greek alpha disappeared from the Futhorc at a very early period, being superseded fc,

first

by

a development of epsilon, which by normal

debilitation acquired the successive values a,

rf?,


The Vowels.

62

and

o,

and afterwards by A, a development

The descent of the rune

gamma. Thracian

is

conclusively

fc

of

from the

established

by the

three inscriptions on the Nordenhoff broach

(p. 9).

In two of these inscriptions, which are probably the earliest in date,

we have

Thracian alphabet.

bar retained, as in the the third inscription

|, with the third

we

find

,

which

is

In the

normal runic form.

The

disuse of the third bar affords a curious

argument in favour of the opinion that the f rune Y was not, like the Latin F, a descendant of the digamma, F. of the in

In that case the third bar

E would, as in Latin, have been retained

order

to

the

distinguish

when, at a

later

the

period,

two

new

letters.

f

But

rune was

developed, a distinction was needed, and the E

being unable to regain

been

lost

and

its

third bar,

which had

forgotten, a simple differentiation

was obtained by varying the inclination of the and Y being as easy to bars, the two runes fr

distinguish as the Latin letters E and F.

The rune Thracian

I

iota.

retains the

form and value of the

The Greeks having reduced

this


The Twelfth Rune.

63

letter to

the last stage of simplicity, there

no room

for modification.

A

very obvious identification

with

rune

the

Greek

that of

o,

has the power of

o,

but a shorter

into disuse, being replaced

and afterwards

rune

Ultimately this

ce.

Thrace

in

In the early inscriptions

and more open sound.

&

that of the

which

ft,

usually denoted not the long

the rune

is

was

fell

entirely

a development of

by

epsilon.

The twelfth rune

the

in

Futhorc occurs so

seldom in the early inscriptions, and varies so greatly that its

it

parentage.

Futhorc are N, in

by no means easy to discover The chief forms in the Gothic

is

If,

N,

'I,

<J,

the Anglian Futhorc

with the values

with the value of y\

we have +,

g, gg, gee,

Q,

j,

in

the

or y.

(J),

<(>,

and y\ in the Scandi-

navian Futhorc the runes are /K while

^,

Mceso- Gothic

,

y,

and

alphabet

/|

,

a

;

we have

The two Scandinavian runes seem

to be descendants of the

Greek gamma, as

hereafter be explained, but

it

will

does not seem to

be so easy to refer the Gothic forms to the same parentage.

The most primitive of

all

the forms


The Vowels.

64 of this rune

and

stone,

^, which

is

is

found on the Berga

on a very early golden bracteate,

also

in both cases with the

power of

y

These two

1 .

inscriptions are written from right to is

a

stone

two,

of

sign 2 ,

which

we

also

is

this

which

Y,

The

X.

written

found

Istaby

form h, also with the

The source of

is

the

probably later by a century or

Thracian

the

inscription

which

is

On

antiquity.

find the derived

value of y.

bably

great

which

left,

N rune in

the

closed

is

pro-

Sigean

form

,

on the Vadstena bracteate,

very ancient, and

may

is

be regarded as the

parent of the other closed forms, which are of considerably later date.

Y

Thracian

The rune

It

is

probable that the

was developed from

O

through V.

be regarded either as derived

may

from a Greek form intermediate between

V, or as a development from O, or been obtained from prolongation of the

V

it

O

may have

by the curvature and

two

strokes.

An

and

slight

argument,

of no very great weight perhaps, in favour of

the

last

1

8

view

is

derived from the Alphabet of

Stephens, Runic Monuments, pp. 176, 545. Ibid. p. 173.


Unstable Forms.

TJlphilas, in

for v has the

which the symbol

V and

equivalent forms

65

two

one open and the

t?,

other closed, which correspond to the open and closed forms of the

the

This looks as

rune.

y

if in

Futhorc from which Ulphilas compiled his

and

alphabet the forms N

were descendants

of equivalent value from the Greek equivalents

Y

and V.

The Greek H was seemingly unrelated Thracian

H,

as

power of

TI

and

common parent of the runes M, N, and /\/. The the

we have h.

It

seen,

may

had the double

be regarded as a

palseographic axiom that a character which bears

two values as

is

essentially unstable in form.

the double values of

evolution

Greek

new

of the

H was

I

Just

and C involved the

letters

J and G, so the

differentiated in form in order to

avoid the confusion which was caused

by the

vowel and the aspirate being represented by the

same symbol. different

character

This differentiation was effected in

modes by

H was

different nations.

In Italy the

retained to denote the aspirate,

while in Greece the vowel continued to be expressed by the unaltered symbol H, out of which,


66

The Vowels.

by successive curtailments, the

and

signs h, r, c,

were developed to denote the

c

Among H

aspirate.

Goths the two powers of the Thracian

the

came

to

be

by the simple and

distinguished

obvious device of changing the position of the cross

stroke.

To denote

the vowel

the

cross

its

hori-

was moved upwards, retaining

stroke

zontality, while to express the aspirate the cross

was written

stroke

direction.

In the very

more or

a

in

less

oblique

earliest runic inscriptions

Thus

these changes can be observed in progress.

on the Thorsbjerg scabbard, the Dalby diadem, the

or

form

PI.

But

in

this

with

the

and hence we

find

confusion

what

in

has

was

liable

to

which denoted

u>

e it

shape

rune

h,

the

rune

the

stone,

Krogstad

inscriptions

of

a

some-

later date that the cross stroke begins to

be drawn with a very slight downward curve or bend,

and we get

PI

for

e,

as on the knife

handle from the Kragehul Moss, and the plane

From

from the Vi Moss. is

easy to the

this

final

this

shape

M.

form the transition

The adoption of

form involved the correlated change of the

m rune

from

M

to

M,

as has been already noted.


Evolution of the Aspirate.

67

The h rune preserved the greatest resemblance to the form of the parent letter, affording another

instance of the

rived

from

way

which the alphabets de-

in

and

Thracian

the

Italian

colonies

agree in their divergence from the standard Greek

On

forms.

stands

the Buzeo

and

unaltered,

H

early forms are

the fifth century

the

denotes

h.

N

H, and

or

we

torque

Thracian

Other

H

very-

About

or H.

get N, and finally the old

h rune derived from eta was altogether dropped,

and a new h rune, of

debilitation

or

a

was developed by the

>r,

primitive

guttural,

X, into a simple aspirate.

the h rune from

H

N

to

either

Y

The change of

brought about, as has

already been noted, the correlated change of the

n rune from

N

to *K

The thirteenth rune indifferently

these

'V and s/\

two forms can

N and

in the Futhorc

is

written

It will be observed that

easily

be

obtained

from

M, the early forms of the h rune, by

shortening

the

two upright

strokes,

and then

bringing the cross bar into a more nearly vertical position.

In the oldest of the

MS. Futhorcs

(Isidore Codex, Brussels), the value of this rune

F

2


The Vowels.

68

is

stated to be

M

as

was

ih,

that

at first eh, an

famous Vienna Codex second

stands

an aspirated

is,

in

rune A/ bears the name

and

ih,

and

the power of h as well as of

used indifferently, like H, both

its

values

and

A

i,

and

h,

eo,

authority,

said to have

is

that

i,

the

is,

it

was

parent the old Greek

and as an

MSS. the rune has

later

1

a vowel

as

No. 140), which

(Salisb.

antiquity

In the

e.

aspirated

just

i,

aspirate.

In

to

the

assigned

and the

form

it

melts

into

I.

confirmation

these runes

is

their names. principle,

of the

common

parentage of

obtained from the consideration of It

which

down

may

be laid

will

hereafter

as a general

abundant

receive

illustration, that the relationship of related runes

will

usually be indicated by the relationship of

their names, as well as of their forms.

Obviously,

when two runes have proceeded from

a

common

parent rune, the development of the names will usually

have

proceeded pari passu

with

development of the forms and powers. in

the

fr,

I*,

case F*,

of the

three

late

Anglian

the

Thus runes

which bear respectively the powers of


Development of Rune Names.

ce,

and

a,

names

the relationship between the three

o,

and

as,

cesc,

69

as plain

is

0s,

as

the con-

nection of the forms.

This general principle

M, H, \.

three runes

In the earliest of the

M

MS. Futhorcs the runes closely

names

related

MSS. we

and

and

hcec

and

eeh

get

be applied to the

may

eoh

;

'V bear the hie

the

;

in

most

later

usual

names being eh and ih. The common parentage of these names is even more obvious than the

common parentage of the

names

of the forms, and the oldest indicate

clearly

that the

parent

rune had the power of an aspirated vowel, pro-

The name of the h rune has

bably he.

way

acquired a final

hegl,

,

and

hagal, hegil, but

hcegl,

names heih and

he,

the h rune with the

We

Z

1

thus

arrive

is

in

some

variously written

we have

also

the

which connect the name of

two vowel names eh and at

the

result

that

of

ih.

the

twenty-four primitive runes, twelve, namely, h,

1

fr,

M,

t,

*,

fr,

I,

*, N, H, M, A/,

Probably the accidental resemblance in the form of the h, and h s, may have caused an assimilation of their

runes M,

,

names, hegil and segiL


The Mutes.

;o

descended with comparatively

are

from the ten Thracian

h

M, h,

ft,

It

change

letters

*,

fe,

i,

a

x> H.

THE MUTES.

12.

The

little

easier half of our task is

now

completed.

remains to deal with the characters which

still

represent the mutes, sounds which are specially subject

phonetic change, and which,

to

in

the

Teutonic languages, have undergone those systematic modifications which are formulated under

the designation of Grimm's Law.

Following the familiar nomenclature, which, not strictly

any three

other,

scientific,

we may

families

more convenient than

divide

the mutes into the

of dentals, labials, and gutturals,

and into the three Aspirate.

is

if

classes

of Hard,

Following this division HARD.

Soft,

we have

ASPIRATE.

SOFT.

and


The Dentals.

71

In the Teutonic languages, as a rule, dentals only interchange with dentals, labials with labials,

and gutturals with gutturals.

It will therefore

be convenient to discuss separately each of the

as

beginning with the dentals,

of mutes,

families

offer

they

less

than

difficulty

the

other

families.

13.

The

dentals

T, ^, and

.

THE DENTALS.

of the

Thracian Alphabet were

In the earliest Runic inscriptions

the dentals appear in the forms 1^,

1 ^, and E3

-

The resemblance of form between the three Greek and the three Kunic dentals it is difficult

is

so striking, that

to doubt the descent of the one set

from the other.

But we are confronted with the

difficulty that the

runic characters have not re-

tained the powers which

they possessed in the

Greek alphabet, while the changes which they have undergone are not in accordance with the changes prescribed by Grimm's Law. 1

This very primitive form occurs on the Frohaug bronze,

which I take to be the oldest runic monument in existence.

The usual

early form of this rune

is

M>

and the

later

form


The Dentals.

The problem may be three

Greek

dentals,

The

stated as follows.

T,

,

>,

must have come

into the possession of the

Goths several centuries

before the Christian era.

We

for

six

lose sight of

them

when they emerge from

centuries,

the

darkness with altered values, but with forms so

changed that there can be no doubt as

little

The values

their identity.

stead of d,

th,

t

t,

th,

d

as

as required

Here we

have a which

importance,

siderable light

in

the

are

now

t,

d, th,

to in-

Greek alphabet, or

by Grimm's Law. of great interest and

fact

cannot

to

fail

throw

con-

on recent controversies as to the

date and nature of the changes which go by the

name result

of Grimm's Law. is,

I

think, quite

belief that the

In the fatal

first

to

the

and

that

time of

Grimm's own

Gothic Lautverschiebung did not

commence before the middle of the A.D.,

place our

it

was

TJlphilas.

fully

first

century

completed before

In the next place our

result is difficult to reconcile with the prevalent

conception as to the

way

in

which the Lautver-

schiebung took place, the so-called Chronological Hypothesis.

On

the Chronological Hypothesis

it


Grimm's Law.-

73

would, I suppose, be necessary, in order to ac-

count for the

facts,

assume with Mr. Sweet

to

was the

that T, the strongest of the dentals, to be attacked

first

by

bore in succession the values

changed from d through

^

changed simply from

and that

debilitation,

t

to

t

d,

th,

t,

the supposition that

is

the easiest of the dentals, was the

be

attacked

by debilitation, that the most difficult sound,

changed from

that

;

while

th,

^,

t,

it

th to d.

Obviously inadmissible

through

l

to

th

T

and

d,

it

first

to

changed

to th

;

while

retained

its

power throughout.

The most simple explanation with

G.

with

,

that

Curtius

with

phonetic

must have been from

value

of

suppose

commenced

debilitation

the most unstable of the dentals.

accordance

Principle

to

is

of th,

Cross

th

law to

the

debilitation

Then, by the

d.

Compensation

In

2 ,

^

while T, a very stable

took the sound, re-

mained unchanged. 1

that

Mr. Sweet lays '

it

down

as 'an

important phonetic law'

general weakening tendencies attack the strongest articu-

lations

first.'

2

See Douse, Grimm's Law,

p. 38.


The Labials.

74

This explanation, which seems to be simple,

and

rational,

concile I

with

the

difficult

though

adequate,

re-

Hypothesis,

Chronological

think, consistent

to

is,

with Mr. Douse's ingenious

theory as to the nature of the Lautverschiebung.

THE

14.

We

now come

LABIALS.

to the labials,

b,

p,f.

It

might

naturally be supposed that the three runic labials, K,

fc,

Greek

1^,

were derived directly from the three

labials,

fc,

l"l,

Further consideration

F.

does not tend to

commend

the

can hardly be affirmed that the

first

place

it

In

this supposition.

Thracian alphabet possessed an

f, or

the Gothic

The digamma, which was the source of the Latin F, had the power of v rather language a p.

than of /, and it

passed at

new

letter

struggling

it is

all

(J),

into

more than doubtful whether

The

into the Thracian alphabet.

which

replaced

existence,

of ph rather than of /.

On

it,

was

only

and had the power the other

scarcely be claimed as a true

hand

Low German

p

can

sound.

In Fick's Wortschatz der germanischen Spracliein-


Rimic Labials all derived from Beta. words only,

heit six

all

of which are

75

probably

loan words, begin with p, and in Caedmon and

Beowulf, taken together, there

only three

are

Ulphilas uses the Greek letter IT

such words.

for the transliteration of such foreign

words as

and

prophet,

Pontius

Pilate,

Paul,

presbyter,

but his adoption of the Greek letter cation that in his time the

unknown

p

an indi-

rune was either Goths.

unfamiliar to the

or

is

The p

rune does not occur in any early runic inscription it

retained

labial

it

place

in

the

Futhorcs,

but,

seems to have been disused.

practically, it

Hence

its

would appear that

b

was the only

which was familiar both to Thracians and

Goths at the time when the runes originated.

The epigraphic evidence points also to the conclusion that the p and / runes were not independently derived from the Greek alphabet, but

were gradually developed out of

The forms labials

are

as well as the

suspiciously

constant,

s ,

names of the runic

similar,

unstable,

and

In the case of the dentals the

interchangeable.

three forms 1

.

f>,

M, are singularly

and their names,

TIB,

distinct

and

THORN, and DAG


The Labials.

76

But with the

are manifestly unrelated words. labials

both the names and the forms seem to

diverge from a single primitive source, as in the case of the groups of runes derived from

H

(pp. 68, 69). First,

The

as to the

and

shews no

such

p

rune

f

rune

runes.

:

:

bearic,

sufficiently diverse,

numerous

clear

variations in the :

fe, are

of the

comparison

b rune

names of these three

forms into which the names crystalized,

final

berc, peorth,

a

E and

MS. Futhorcs The

distinction.

names are

but

as follows

beorc, berc, berch, brita,

typical

:

berith, bira.

perc, perch, peorth, perd, pear, peoih. fech, fehc, fer, feoli, fek, feu, fe.

These names

may

be easily accounted for as

successive debilitations of three primitive names,

BERIC, PERIC, and

FERIC, and of these

we may

consider BERIC as the ultimate source from which

the names have been derived.

all

The forms of the three runic

labials,

no

less

than their names, indicate a development out of a single are

The following forms a much larger number as

primitive rune.

selected

out of

representatives

of the

principal

types.


Parallel Development of Names and Forms. b rune

:*'BlEUKt#1

rune

p

77

:&&BKKRKKKK <j>BtfKPKPr

/rune:

All these forms can be explained as develop-

ments out of a primitive form of them are

a b

Thus M

especially significant.

which has reached the

development into an

Some

or B.

is

half-way stage of

B

f, while

an

is

which

/

has only partially divested itself of the characteristics

of

b.

Forms of the

/

type such as V,

are sometimes used for

monuments,

as

6,

or K,

,

both in early and late

heathen

the

4

,

Forsa

the

ring,

heathen Eok stone, the Largs broach, and the runic stones in the Isle of Man.

The development of the

labials

completed in the time of Ulphilas.

was

hardly

This

is

indi-

cated by his adoption of the Greek II for p, as well as

by

his use of

His half-opened b

is

K

for

6,

and of

arrested in the

fc

for f.

first

stage

of the development into /, and the curved hooks of his

f

are survivals, as

it

were, of the complete

loops of the B. It is not

difficult

to perceive the process

by


The Labials.

78

which the

p and /

rune

parent

has a vertical

The

oblique bars.

that the

,

and four

stroke

transitional forms

rune, K

p

The

runes were developed,

K

In

,

show

has retained the vertical

together with the second and third of

stroke,

B

the oblique bars, while the transitional forms

and

\!>

show that the

/ rune, P

the vertical stroke of the

or p', has retained

together with the

,

second and fourth of the oblique bars. It will be

and

observed that the runes for the

6 occupy in

Futhorc the approximate

places of the Greek letters

the

new rune

p,

/,

/3,

TT,

and

That

<.

V with its new power/ should have

taken the place of the Greek

proves that the

,

development of the new symbol accompanied and connoted in

other words,

efficient

cause

the

of the

portant principle. third

and

relative

and

phonetic

new

There are other

ment.

E.

of the

the development

fourth

positions

But

in

new sound

change was

alphabetic

;

the

develop-

illustrations of this im-

In the earliest Futhorcs the runes,

^ and

of their

fr,

retain

the

Greek prototypes,

the later

new development, ^, with

Futhorcs the

we

new

^

find a

value

o9


Stages of the Development.

79

occupying the fourth station, while the old rune ,

with

its

old value,

a

or

is

<^,

relegated to

the end of the Futhorc as No. 26.

The probable stages by which the development and rearrangement of the labials was effected

may be

tabulated as follows

2nd

& *

B

ist stage

letter.

1

5th

letter.

:

2ist letter.

P(p)

(b)

2nd stage '

3rd stage

(/)

4th stage

(/)

p

5th stage

ist rune.

$

1

*

(-P)

G

(p)

4th rune.

*(&)

li

(6)

i8th rune.

THE GUTTURALS.

15.

All the primitive runes have

now been

traced

to their Thracian prototypes with the exception

of six, A, <, X,

h

Y, $.

These represent the

The tendency breaths and vowels

gutturals and their developments.

of gutturals to is

illustrated

weaken

into

by the development of the Greek

breaths and vowels out of the Semitic gutturals,'

and

is

exhibited in Teutonic languages by the


8o

The Gutturals.

Gothic words galeiks, ganohs, gavaknan, lagms,

which are represented in English by awake, learn ye,

yea,

Saxon

eage, ge,

We

gea

the

eye,

Anglo-

gemang, gelang.

geoc,

y

regard as an instance

therefore

may

from

among, along,

yoke,

enough,

by the descent of the words

or

;

alike,

"of

normal debilitation the descent from the Greek

gamma

of the rune H, which had the power of

u and afterwards of

In the earlier runic

y.

and the Thorsbjerg

clasp, this

the form A, which

is

Thracian

g.

The

It retains the exact

Y

and

^,

present respectively beta and delta. case with the

new sound guttural

<,

/

Runic and

confirmed by the position

is

between

gamma

and

which

b runes, the

the

retains

in

precisely the shape of the

of the rune in the Futhorc. of

u rune appears

identification of the

A

Thracian symbol

place

Buzeo torque

such as those on the

scriptions,

in-

also

old

which

re-

As was the

symbol of the

station,

the

runic

descended from gamma,

being moved to another place in the Futhorc.

The rune

X

has already been explained \

1

See

p. 36,

supra.

In


The

Gamma

Runes.

81

the Greek alphabet this symbol had the power of ck, and in the

change involves no

Gothic Futhorc of

The

g.

by phonetic law

difficulty, as

a Greek x regularly corresponds to a Gothic g.

This debilitation,

by the Principle of Cross

Compensation, would the

g

into k or

a

a Gothic c

Greek

hardening of

a change which

M,

is

usually

by the statement that by Grimm's

expressed

Law

the

involve

is

(Jc)

Now

y.

the regular equivalent of

gamma was

Thracian

the

written in the two forms

A

and

We

<.

have

of these forms,

by the

regular process of debilitation, gives us

A, the

just seen that the

early form

of the

first

u

rune, while

<,

the other

form of the Greek gamma, gave birth to the Latin

C,

and

became

also

regular c rune in the

the

fourth

forms, A, u,

and

fifth

and <,

c,

which

is

the

earliest

inscriptions.

In

centuries

the two

<,

began to

fall

early

into disuse,

and we can trace their gradual replacement by h and H for u and by h, A, h, k, for c, forms 9

which are obviously akin to the normal or

A

form of the Thracian gamma. It has already been suggested that the puzzling


82

The Gutturals.

twelfth rune

Greek Y. rune

y,

also

may

may

be descended from the

however quite possible that

It is

be a descendant of gamma.

made more probable by

is

supposition ger,

>|,

the

this

This

name

which seems to be akin to ur the name of )

the u rune, and also by the fact that the later

Scandinavian runes for y and

and A>

ar, clearly

namely A,

a,

belong to the

of runes, being descended from

yr,

gamma family the A form of

the c rune.

Eespecting the development of the ng rune, &,

nothing need be added to what has been said already.

&>

^

The numerous N>

X'

s s >

>

early variants,

such as

0> *>> and other similar

1 by Professor Stephens can leave was developed by a no doubt that the rune reduplication of the < rune, a development which

forms given

,

an

argument which is as cogent in favour of the Greek origin of the runes as it supplies

is

difficult

reconcile with

to

the

Latin or any

other hypothesis.

The eighth and the 1

fifteenth runes,

Runic Monuments,

p. 149.

^ and Y,


Derivatives

from

They ^re probably

are less easy to deal with.

to

be referred to the Greek letters

two

83

Koppa.^

differentiated forms of the

<p

and Y,

Semitic letter p

These two gutturals established them-

(koph).

selves in the

Greek

colonies of Italy

and Thrace,

but in the alphabet of Hellas they were

K and X,

mately supplanted by

ulti-

derivatives of

the Semitic D (kapli).

In the standard Greek

alphabet the letter

M, or H survived only

<p,

H or h.

as the numeral Jcoppa,

pears

as

the

Slavonic runes,

alphabet

as

the

letter

ap-

guttural

,

it

it

Q, and from through the medium of

the labialized

the Thracian alphabet 1

In Italy

passed into the Russian *[

descendant of koph, which

(tsherv). is

written

The other

Y

or

V

in

the early Greek inscriptions, had the power of the aspirated guttural. in the standard

disused symbol

This letter was replaced

Greek alphabet by X, and the

Y

was afterwards employed to

The koppa was retained in the Alphabet of the Isles, and seems to have been introduced into Thrace from the Parian 1

See colony of Thasos and the Chacidian colony of Chalcidice. des Dictionnaire in Daremberg's Lenormant, art. Alphabet, Antiquites, p. 202.

G

2


The Gutturals.

84

But Y, with the

denote the double consonant ps. value ch, continued, like Italy

and Thrace.

syllabarium

and

established

itself

It

is

in

Upper

Umbrians and Etruscans 1

Y

alphabet the letter the

found

From

.

,

which

Eussian letter

The rune

is

m

Y

which

is

but to

letter,

the Thracian

its

the

in

form and

Old Slavonic

1

that

is

frequent in the early Scandi;

it

is

very constant in

exactly that

a most

in

modern

the parent of the

of the

perplexing

variable or uncertain in its value.

doubted

its

(shcha).

navian inscriptions form,

Caere

as a guttural passed into

power may be recognized 4*

the

among the

Italy

Slavonic runes, and both

letter

in

Bomarzo alphabet, and

the

in

to be used both in

<p,

some

extent

121.

Greek it

is

It cannot be

inscriptions

Fabretti, Osservazioni Paleografiche,

old

its

it

has the

As

in the case

of the letters r and h, so with regard to the parentage of the gutturals

it

will be observed that the Italic

common

and Runic alphabets

which they both differ from the Greek. The conjecture has already been put forward that this may be due to the fact that both Italy and Thrace were colonized

exhibit

features as to

from the over-peopled Greek islands, the alphabet of which differed from the alphabet of the mainland which became the parent of the standard Greek alphabet.


The Ilix Rune.

power of a vowel.

85

Munch

Professor

the

it

gives

power of a neutral vowel, Finn Magnusen takes it

as equivalent to

maintains

i9

iu,

y,

must be

a.

has assigned to

it

that

Futhorcs

it

kalk,

make

it

and

x,

ing names of

and

it

k,

c,

while Professor Stephens

T/,

ilix,

iolx,

These

halach.

manifest that the

values

of

correspondelux,

eolhx,

Y

MS.

the

the values

bears the

it

ilcs,

In

calc,

names

and

rune must have

originally descended from a guttural, which, like

the other primitive gutturals, developed a vowel

sound

side

which

it

value

of

aspirated

power

guttural

also acquired the

same way that X, which the Greek alphabet as the

the

in

Y

supplanted

the

The rune

retained.

x

with

side

by

in

guttural,

came

to

denote

x

in

the

Latin alphabet.

A rune

further indication

from

worthy

fact

koph that

through koppa

Y

s

and

The other Greek koph were

<p

descent is

of this

the

note-

retains in the Futhorc the

of koph, following next after

original station

and preceding

of the

and H.

p

t.

derivatives

of the

To these forms

Semitic

I venture,


86

The Gutturals.

not without considerable hesitation, to refer the

two runes, ^ and K.

The early rune ^ or P bears the names wen, ven, uyn, and huun, and has the power of

v,

w, and uu.

century A.D. the c rune < or in Scandinavia

About the seventh

^ was

by the rune Y or P

,

supplanted

which was

by the names cen, ken, chen, chon, and The qhon, and had the power of c, k, and q. names and powers of these two runes ^ and K, called

iven

and

cen,

seem

to point to a

common

descent

from a labialized guttural qven, with the power of kv.

That a primitive kv might yield either

a semi-vowel or a pure guttural related pairs of words

is

shown by the

venire and come, garden

and yard, guardian and warden, kin and wean, curb and warp,

Korepos,

and web, cheese and

The evidence is,

uter and whether, gable

yeast, question

of the

and whisper.

Mceso- Gothic alphabet

on the whole, in favour of the origin of the

two runes ^ and Y from the Greek koppa, or H.

The

employed values

80,

three symbols IT (p) H, and

]

<p

(r) are

by Ulphilas as numerals, with the 90, and TOO, thereby showing that

the second of these symbols tj

is

the represen-


Wen and

87

Greek koppa and the Latin Q.

of the

tative

Cen.

Although the power of this symbol (^ is not alphabetic, but solely numerical, we have also the slightly differentiated form phabetic power of q

alphabet

has

power of

hv,

also

1

(Jcv)

the

therefore

may

letters

bearing the

which can best be explained <p,

consider

al-

The Moeso- Gothic

symbol

descendant of the Greek

We

.

with the

Cl,

<p,

or

<p

as a

(koppa).

Mceso- Gothic

the

u, kv, and O, hv, as the representatives of

the runes K and P.

Our

investigation into the origin of the twenty-

four runes of the primitive Gothic Futhorc

is

now

must be frankly acknowledged that the affiliation of the eighth and twelfth runes, It

complete.

^ and N 1

It

may

i? or t? (v)

of from

name

Y

,

open to considerable doubt, but

is

be a question whether the Moeso -Gothic letter may not be descended from (koppa) instead

O

as has

uuine, which

suggests

a

The been previously suggested (p. 65). it bears in the Vienna Codex, certainly

connection with the

also a question

wen and

whether the Mceso-Gothic

cen runes.

Q

(j)

It is

which some-

times transliterates the Greek iota (2 Tim. iii. 8) may not be But its name jer, and the balance derived from ^p (koppa). of the evidence, is, I think, in favour of a connection with the twelfth rune

N

GEB,


The Later Runes.

88 as

the remaining twenty-two runes I trust

to

that the evidence which

it

has been possible to

may be deemed reasonably especially when it is remembered that produce

of the

monuments

tions from

is

not continuous

other,

being

turies of epigraphic

in the

the record

the inscrip-

;

which we derive the Thracian

on the one hand, and the on the

conclusive,

earliest runic

by

separated

silence.

It

forms cen-

five

this

is

letters

chasm

evidence which has hitherto guarded so

effectually the secret of the runes.

THE LATER RUNES.

16.

The foregoing

investigation has been confined

to the runes of the early Gothic Futhorc.

words, however, must

development

of the

nine-tenths of the

be

said

later

A

concerning

Futhorcs,

in

few the

which

extant runic monuments are

written. It

was an

object with

Christian

missionaries

to substitute the Latin alphabet for the runic writing, which

dom.

In

was regarded

spite,

as a sign of heathen-

however, of this powerful in-


Gradual Disuse of

the Runes.

89

was long before the use of the runes The use of the Visiwas entirely suppressed. fluence

it

condemned by the In Denmark and 1115.

Spain was

gothic runes in

Council of Toledo in

Iceland the runes were not formally super-

in

seded by the Latin alphabet

In Sweden the runes were

century.

replaced

the fourteenth

till

by the Latin

letters

in

officially

the

eleventh

century, but they continued in popular use for

Thus

a considerable time. there

is

at

Haide (Sweden)

a runic inscription which records the

1 burning of the church in the year I397

in

Lye Church (Sweden)

runic

I449

sepulchral

slabs

there

which

,

and

are

two

large

bear

the

date

2 .

In England the practical disuse of the runes took place at a longest

The

much

among

latest

the

earlier time.

Northmen

They survived of Cumberland.

dated examples which I have been

able to discover are a runic inscription in Carlisle

Cathedral which dates from the year 1092

1

Stephens, Runic Monuments, p. 711.

2

/&., p.

752.

;

a


The Later Rimes.

90

twelfth century runic font at Bridekirk in

berland

and a rock

;

Barnspike treacherous

in

*

engraved with runes at

Cumberland,

which

of Gillhes

slaughter

Cum-

records

the

Bueth, owner

by a Norman knight, Eobert de Vaux, a deed which must have taken of the lands of Lanercost,

place between

1160 and 1170 A.D.

stones of the Isle of

Man

The runic

are usually assigned to

The MS. Futhorcs, which

the eleventh century.

commonly contain only the

are very numerous,

Anglian runes, and belong mostly to the ninth, tenth,

and eleventh

centuries,

though one Futhorc

seems to be as early as the eighth, and another as late as the fourteenth century.

The runes of these

later Futhorcs

and

inscrip-

tions naturally differ very considerably from those

of the

earliest

period.

In fact the differences

between the Gothic runes of the third century,

and either the Anglian or Scandinavian runes of the tenth, are at least as considerable as those

which separate the

earliest

Gothic runes from

the Greek alphabet.

1

Stephens, Runic Monuments, p. 648.


Simplification of the Scandinavian Futhorc.

The changes which took

91

place in the Scandi-

navian and Anglian Futhorcs were in opposite In Scandinavia, where the runes con-

directions.

tinued so long in practical use, the changes were

Of the twenty-

in the direction of simplification.

four primitive Gothic runes,

Y, M,

'V,

F",

,

M,

eight, namely,

X,

disappeared altogether

,

from the Scandinavian Futhorc, while in other old runes were

cases the

or

velopments,

A, A

K, K, for

,

by more simple

Y,

1

h,

,

by new de-

replaced

forms,

such as

which are well adapted

Thus not more than

engraving on stone.

nine or ten of the original Gothic runes continued practically to be employed.

In

England,

on the

other

the

hand,

Latin

letters rapidly superseded the runes for all pur-

poses of ordinary use, and the runes were regarded either

as

merely

magical

as

symbols, of

subjects

as

curiosity.

changes take the form of an plication

of symbols,

cryptograms,

Hence

arbitrary

of fantastic

or

the

multi-

developments

and inventions, or of blunders of ingenious or ignorant penmen. extensive

These developments were so

and so complicated that

it

would be


The Later Runes.

92

impossible, .within

any moderate

them adequately,

or

From

genesis.

to

limits, to discuss

attempt to trace their

MS. Futhorcs of the ninth

the

and following centuries

have, as a matter of

I

and catalogued as many as

curiosity, extracted

eighty-four different varieties of Anglian gutturals

and vowels which may ultimately be traced back to three only of the Greek letters, gamma, Icoppa,

and

chi.

In attempting to trace and

classify these late

runes considerable difficulty arises from the confusion

between the descendants of

tive types

;

different primi-

forms belonging to one type having

acquired features, names, or values, which appertain to

Thus

some other type.

the d rune,

M, has assigned

in one

to

it

the

MS. Futhorc

name

thorn

instead of dceg, evidently from a confusion as to

the phonetic value called

man

;

in

another Futhorc

it

is

instead of dceg, the confusion having

in this case arisen from the close resemblance to

the form of the

m

rune,

M

;

in a third case,

from

a similar cause, the values of the two runes

and easily

are interchanged.

be multiplied by the

Such instances could score.


Elaboration of the Anglian Futhorc.

Not a few mere

of these late forms are

arbitrary

fancies

or

93

evidently

'

elegancies';

some,

however, are of exceptional interest or importance, either because, as in the

Anglian Futhorc,

they throw light on the phonetic tendencies of the

English language in

because,

in

as

the

its

case

earlier

of the

or

stages,

Scandinavian

runes, they were ultimately accepted as perma-

nent modifications of the older Futhorc.

As examples

may

of these later developments

take some of the

secondary runes which

were derived from the epsilon and bols.

It will

we

gamma

sym-

be observed that here, well within

the range of historic proof,

we have

illustrations

of those principles of co-ordinate change of forms,

names, and powers, which as

regulating

the

have been assumed

pre-historic

development of

two or more runes from a common parentage.


The Later Runes.

94

The

may

chief developments

of the

be tabulated as follows:

VALUES.

epsilon runes


r.

Development of final

95

Noteworthy, from the phonetic point of view, are the

by which the Greek

processes

gave birth to the form powers of Jeer (?)

k,

and

y,

be

may

A,

and the Scandina-

<,

vian

y

rune, yr, through the stages

A.

In the eighth century this y rune,

h,

rune

Jc

successive

its

through

stages

H,

threefold

its

The Anglian

r.

traced

A,

with

\\

gamma

rf,

A, A, /K,

/K>

began

to be used to denote the r final.

Thus on the

1

we

Snoldelev Stone fr

and

and

rK

final

is

and

get

usage afterwards became

The development interesting as an

known tendency the

this

find

side for the medial

employed side by r,

general.

of y

about 750 A.D.)

(date

of this

r

out

final

example of the well-

of a final open vowel to acquire

Thus from the Spanish palavna we palaver, and from el lagarto we obtain,

trill.

through Ben Jonson's alligarta, our modern gator.

Other

vulgarisms

instances

taters,

potatoes, fellow,

feller,

chigoe,

academical training does

1

are

by

the

Jemimer,

for

supplied

jigger,

Jemima

;

alli-

and even an

not always

Stephens, Runic Monuments, p. 345.

suffice

to


The Later Runes.

96 our

protect

on

ears

Sunday

from

'Victorier

our Queen/

Perplexing as are the various powers of the

rune Y, which stands in the Anglian Futhorcs for

y,

i,

c,

Jo,

a further element of confusion

x,

is

introduced by the employment of the same symbol to denote

m

inscriptions.

m

can

tural.

and

in the later Scandinavian

Manx

no legitimate phonetic process

By

be derived from either a vowel or a gutDr. Wimmer's characteristic allegation of an

M

arbitrary transformation of the symbol

into

Y

through the intermediate stages F"1, "1^, ^, Y, being obviously inadmissible,

we must

Now

seek some other origin for this rune.

tendency of / and b to become is

m

therefore

the

by assimilation

Thus the Latin formica corthe Greek ^vp^ and the Norse

well known.

responds

maur.

words

to

We

have

also

/Bporos, fjiopro?,

and immortalis

plumbum, and

;

the

related

mors and murder

nop^u and formido blei.

groups ;

of

a

;

This interchange

is

more

Keltic languages, especially characteristic of the it is chiefly in

the Isle of Man, and in Scan-

dinavia at a time

subsequent to the Irish and

and


The new Runes for

m

and

h.

97

Hebridean conquests of the Northmen, that we

Y

find the

rune standing for m.

I

would

fore venture to suggest, in default of

speculation has been expended,

through Keltic influence rune

sitional

for

b

<j>

Orkney we

so

much

may have

arisen

out of the

Other early forms of the

which are

<p,

Y

old tran-

At Maeshowe

or /.

form

find the transitional

^, f, and

any better

rune, on which

explanation, that this

there-

symbol

in

^

for

m.

for

m

are

easily connected

with

B or ^. On the Holm stone again we have an m which is almost identical in form with the ordinary

/

rune.

The Anglian rune M, which the Charnay broach, grew out the earlier h rune H.

>K,

cannot be derived from H. in

which

from is

X

this

^

or from

also

)|C,

1

and supplanted

of,

a development which

There are two ways

may have arisen, either On the Skaag stone, which

rune

Y.

1 assigned to the third century

and

appears on

In Scandinavia, however,

new h rune was

the

first

,

we

find

X,

g,

which has the power of gi or ge

Stephens, Runic Monuments, p. 887.

H

t


The Later Rimes.

98

and

is

inscriptions

f

and

>(c

of #, sometimes of h,

have the power sometimes

and often of

phonetic developments

from the A.

A.

also

are

These

or a.

ce

as

regular,

we

see

ge-mang, which became hi-mong

S.

in Northern

So

In later

apparently a bind-rune for XI.

and a-mong

Southern English.

in

be-ge-ondan became bi~M-onda in

S.

the north of England and be-y-ond in the south.

The evidence point to the

of the

monuments thus seems

f

evolution of

evidence of the Futhorcs

is

from

X

I

,

to

but the

In

the other way.

the Futhorc on the Charnay broach the fifteenth

rune

is

written

Y, and

X,

instead of in the usual form

some Anglian Futhorcs the rune has assigned to it the power of k or g, and in

and

called gilc, gilch, chilch,

kalk,

% is

names which

indicate a descent from the cede or ilix rune

by a downward prolongation of the two

Y,

cross

strokes.

The mysterious rune M, the power of

st

on account of

and its

ss,

called stan,

may

which has

here be noticed, not

importance

in

the Futhorc,

but as affording a very curious record of the operation

of one

of the

laws of Gothic

pho-


The Stan R^me. In Gothic, d

nology.

become

and

st,

praet. is bau-s-t for

to

vissa

;

ss,

in

juxtaposition

*bau-d-t

2nd

the

bid, ;

also

Thus

ss.

pers. sing.

from the root

know, through *vit-da and *vista we get and from vad, to bind, comes gaviss,

Hence the

through *gavisti. or

t

frequently becomes

st

from the root bud, to

vit,

and

99

is

easily explained

the old rune

rune H,

st

as a differentiation of

d.

IXI

THE ORDER

17.

late

OF THE RUNES.

The Mediterranean alphabets have preserved, essentially,

the

The

letters.

deviation

Futhorc from this subject of never,

I

order

of the

of the

runes

primitive

many believe,

ancient

Semitic in

the

order has been

the

ingenious speculations, but has

been

accounted

satisfactorily

for.

It is obvious that the order of the

runes in

the Futhorc presents certain points of agreement

with the

order

alphabet.

Thus the Futhorc ends with

is

manifestly the

of

the

letters

in

Greek

the ,

which

descendant of the Greek f\.

H

2


The Order of

ioo It has

the

the Runes.

been shown in the foregoing pages that

first. four

are the direct descendants of

second,

fourth,

third,

Greek alphabet.

we have s

$,

1

>,

T.

,

V

rimes in the Futhorc,

and

fc,

fifth

H,

9

t>,

fc,

A,

E, the

letters

of the

f,

In the middle of the Futhorc

a similar sequence, the runes

corresponding to the letters P,

T,

DC,

[ft],

<p,

that such remarkable corres-

It is impossible

pondencies can have been wholly accidental

;

they

must be surviving traces of the primitive order of the runes, which must have been that of the Greek alphabet.

seems therefore to be worth

It

while to pursue the investigation a step farther,

and to endeavour locations

in

to ascertain

accounted for on

of

order

the

whether the

the

runes I

scientific principles.

dis-

can

be

am

not

aware that these principles have ever been formulated, lish

it

will therefore

them by an

which

have

order

of

be necessary to estab-

examination

produced the

other

known

instance,

as

the

Turkish,

or

Arabic.

An

;

Armenian, easy

causes in

the

such,

for

dislocations

alphabets

Ethiopic,

the

of

Persian,

illustration

is

I


Causes of Alphabetic Dislocation.

101

The Arabic by the Arabic alphabet. the alphabet was derived from the Aramaic

afforded

;

order of the letters has suffered very consider-

owing to the retention of the ancient names, and also of the primitive able dislocation, but,

numerical values,

becomes extremely easy to

In the Syriac alphabet, another

identify them.

descendant

it

of

the

Aramaic,

the letters has been preserved.

Arabic and

the

of

Arabic

letters

thus the

obtain

become the

connections

in

changes

by

at

the

by

side

the

of

the

order

once manifest.

following

dotted

in

table,

lines

of

placing the

By

Syriac alphabets side

reasons

order

old

the

We which

shew which

of the Arabic letters have not been shifted from their original places.

The bracketed

letters are

differentiated forms, evolved subsequently to the dislocations.


IO2

The Order of

SYRIAC.

the Runes.


Arabic Alphabet.

Dislocations in the

It

will

be

observed

that

Arabic

the

cations have been brought about

by two

103 dislo-

causes.

Certain letters have been placed side by side the

for (i)

purpose

of

on account of a

forms

easier

resemblance in their

close

or (2) because

;

either

comparison,

of the similarity of their

values.

Thus Ta has been brought from the

end

the

of

alphabet

the

into

third

Ba

because of the resemblance in form to

Ra,

places,

juxtapositions

and of

and Fa, are due

;

while

been moved up four-

for a like reason, has

teen

station,

next

placed

to

The

Zay.

Qaf and Kaf, and

of

Waw

to the similarity of their powers.

Both causes have co-operated in bringing about the

peculiar

arrangement of the four

sibilants,

Zay, Sin, Shin, and Ssad.

These two causes, similarity of form, and similarity

of value,

which

have

effected

such

an

extensive re-arrangement of the Arabic letters, are

sufficient

to

account for the differences

in

the order of the Greek letters and of the runes. It will be observed that in the Arabic alphabet

ten only out of the twenty-two

have retained their places

;

it will,

Syriac letters, therefore, be


The Order of

IO4

THBACIAN ALPHABET.

the Runes.

GOTHIC FUTHORC.

1.

A

2.

l>

r

2

A >

A

3

t>

4

Mr

IV

3-

4 5-

6,

7

fc

I H

^

5

fr

18

<

3

X

10

a.

17

a.

a.

8.

9 10.

I

X

K,

n.

I"

^

12.

M

H

.3.

N

14-

I

15.

.

.

.

+

9

I

O,

Y

5, 1

A/ 16.

PI

7

.3

,6

7 a.

C\

16, 2 a.

T

17

$

19

^

20

\lx

T ?\lx ,

18.

fc

19.

^

20.

T

21.

<1>

.

.

V

21, 2 b.

M M I

s

M 22.

ft

7 b.

12 ii

8


Dislocations in the Futhorc.

no matter

105

for surprise to find that in the case

of the Futhorc the same causes have produced

a somewhat similar amount of change.

The

table

on the opposite page shews that the Futhorc has suffered

even

less

than the Arabic

dislocation

Greek

alphabet, thirteen out of the twenty-two letters

having retained their

places.

The small

and the connections by dotted

numerals,

lines

will enable the reader easily to trace the corres-

pondencies.

If these changes

of position, which

have taken several centuries to into

two

or

three

effect,

hypothetical

be more easily seen that they

all

it

must

are divided

stages,

it

will

follow naturally

from the two Principles to which the changes in the order of the Arabic

are due.

and other alphabets

Subscript numerals are added in order

to facilitate the identification of the letters.


The Order of

io6

CX

CC

the Runes.

'

3

8

e- s -e- s

I-

<- 8

8

z

o-

O-s

c.

-s

c.

^

r> 5

9 o

M

to

Z

S

s

ON

I 1

X v^

t3

I

o

0> bJO

-S

I H

-

"=

X V

*>

UJ

m

A

*

OQ

V

2 ft


the Fiithorc.

Rearrangement of

107

First set of changes.

Omission of superfluous

letters

6, 14.

i,

Development of gutturals and vowels 10,

15,

3,

7,

17.

18 and 10.

Collocation of similar forms

the Moeso-Gothic forms Result

:

J

(Cf.

and R.)

Stage II.

Second

set

of changes.

Collocation of similar forms

7

b and 22

7

and

and 10;

7 a,

;

13; ii and 20. Collocation of similar sounds 9,

3 a

and 15 a; 17 a and 10 a. Development and replacement 1

2,

6,

of

21.

Result:

Stage III.

Third

set

of changes.

Omission of superfluous letters

10, 15.

forms

of similar

Differentiation

7,

j

22,

labials

7 b,

13,

12.

Simplification of forms

8,

5,

Collocation of similar forms

17

a.

sb and

8 and 7 b.

Collocation of liquids

Result: Stage IV.

n

and

12.

22

;

12,


io8

The Oghams.

THE OGHAMS.

18.

The

Scandinavian

Cumbria,

and

behind them

so

Isle

of

Northumbria,

Man,

runic

many

may seem

it

presence,

the

in

settlers

left

having of

records

their

strange that not a single

runic stone should have been discovered in the

Scandinavian colony of Ireland, for

where Scandinavian chieftains bore sway

many

ford,

Pembroke, or even in

years in the cities of Dublin, Water-

and

Wales

and

silver

coin,

Limerick.

runic legend

Ireland struck 1 .

.The are in

runic

limited

Dublin,

But the

treasures to

one

of

small

which bears a

fact of this

remarkable

absence of runic monuments in certain regions

where they might have been looked be taken in

conjunction with

for,

must

another circum-

stance, equally remarkable, that it is exactly in

those

regions

where the expected runic stones

are wanting that

Ogham

stones abound.

These

facts will be explained if it can be established

that the mysterious

1

Ogham

character, in

Worsaae, Danes and Norwegians,

p. 338.

which


Replacement of Runes by Oghams.

109

the most ancient records of Wales and Ireland are written,

conjectures

and respecting which so many wild have been made, was originally

nothing more or

less

than a very simple and

obvious adaptation of the Futhorc to xylographic necessities, the

individual runes being expressed

by a convenient notation

consisting

of notches

cut with a knife on the edge of a squared

staff,

instead of being cut with a chisel on the surface

of a stone. to

Some such method

of notation seems

be implied by the words book and buch-staben sticks),

(bee'ch

and may probably be referred to

in the often quoted lines of Venantius Fortunatus-,

a sixth century poet,

who

says,

Barbara fraxineis pingatur rhuna

Quodque papyrus

The geographical

agit,

distribution

inscriptions raises a strong

districts

of the

Ogham

presumption in favour

of the Scandinavian origin of the

The Ogham

tabellis,

virgula plana valet.

Ogham

writing.

of Wales and Ireland were,

without exception, regions of Scandinavian occu-

As

pancy.

1

I

have elsewhere pointed out 1

Words and

Places, fifth edition, pp. 117, 118.

,

the


no

The Oghams. of a

existence

ment

very early Scandinavian

in Pembrokeshire

is

settle-

by a dense

indicated

names of the Norse type which

cluster of local

surrounds, and radiates from, the fiords of Milford

and

Wales

The Ogham

Haverford.

is

conterminous with

nearly

in

limits

by

Seventeen out of the twenty

the local names.

Welsh Ogham

the

colony as determined

Scandinavian

of this

district

inscriptions are in the counties of

Pembroke, Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Glamorgan, nine out of the seventeen being in Pembrokeshire

There are also two

itself.

Ogham

inscriptions in

Devon, and one in Cornwall, and there are said to

be one or two

extant

Ogham

in

Scotland

inscriptions

But

1 .

more than

of

the

five-sixths

are in Ireland, and these, with four or five exare

ceptions,

Irish coast

avian

found

which

colony in

attested

by such

along

lies

part

of

the

opposite to the Scandin-

Pembroke, local

that

names

and which,

as

as Waterford

is

and

Smerwick, was frequented and settled by the

Northmen.

No

1

less

than 148 out of the 155

Rhys, Lectures, pp. 288-303.


Distribution of the Irish

found

are

Oghams

Ogham

counties

four

the

in

ill

Inscriptions,

of Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, and Kerry

1 ,

or,

roughly speaking, they fringe the line of coast

which stretches between the two Scandinavian

kingdoms of Waterford and Limerick. It

may

be

safely

affirmed

where

the

inscriptions

are

that

Northmen never came Ogham never found. Strong as external

the presumption raised by the

is

the internal

evidence,

evidence

is

still

more convincing.

The key from

the

the

to

Book

Ogham

of

writing

Ballymote,

obtained

is

MS. of the

a

fourteenth century, which, in addition to sundry Irish

Alphabets and Scandinavian Futhorcs, con-

Oghams. This from internal evidence, must have been

tains a transcript of a tract on tract,

composed at some time between the years 704 and 909, and early

part

Ogham century

is

ninth

the

of

writing

may

assigned by Dr. Graves to the

is

.

That the

at least as old as the eighth

therefore be taken as certain, but

2

1

Rhys, Lectures,

2

century

p. 376.

Hermathena,

vol.

ii.

p.

449-


The Oghams.

112

how much far

is

may be

older the earliest inscriptions

more

to

difficult

The best

determine.

authorities, Dr. Graves, Mr.

Whitley Stokes, and

Professor Rhys, consider that some of

not be later than the

fifth

them

canI

or sixth century.

accept this very early date with some misgiving,

but without discussion, seeing that

it

depends

on the antiquity to be assigned to certain grammatical

forms occurring

matter

as

scholar

can

to

which be

in

only

the

a

competent

inscriptions,

professed to

a

Keltic

pronounce

an

opinion.

The Ogham

characters in their primitive form

of a

probably consisted the

edge

system of notches

of a squared stick

or

stone.

were afterwards written on a plane either side of a central line. to

this

the

*

druim, shows that

arrangement

medieval

the

'groups/

Ogham

aicme,

characters.

They

surface,

on

The name given it

ridge' of the primitive squared

The to

line,

on

represented staff.

of the

Irish

each

We

Oghams, according tradition, was in four

group have

comprising

five


The Ogham Alphabet.

Group

I.

Group

II.

113


The Oghams.

114

denotes a letter which was in constant use. again -/////-

It

-///-

is

some

never occurs in the inscriptions, while

perpetually employed.

will

Ogham

be

then

safe

alphabet was

rule of

alphabet.

constructed

thumb out

What

conclude

to

that

the

according

to

of some familiar existing

could this alphabet have been

we have

Geographical considerations, as seen,

So

?

already

point to the Futhorc, the only reasonable

alternative

being the Latin alphabet advocated

by Dr. Graves,

as

we may

tion

the

hypothesis

that

the

Ogham

of

dismiss from considera-

Captain B. F. Burton

descends, through

the

Arabic

Mushajjar, from the Nabathseo-Chaldeans of the Plains of Shinar. If then

the

choice

between the Latin

as

lies,

alphabet

it

seems to do,

and the Futhorc,

a strong presumption in favour of the latter afforded p.

75),

is

by the absence of an Ogham p (see and the still more significant fact of the

existence of the unnecessary and unused symbol for ng,

a peculiarity with respect to which the

Ogham and

the

Futhorc

European alphabets.

stand

alone

among


Oghams and

Connection of the

But

the Runes.

115

these presumptions, derived from internal

evidence, are

raised to certainties

by an exam-

ination of the Irish Bethluisnion alphabet, which

forms

a

between

link

connecting

the

Ogham

on the one hand and the Futhorc on the In the Bethluisnion alphabet, so Alphabet letters

from

itself,

with which

like the

called,

names

the

of

other.

two

the

commences, we find on the

it

one hand that the order of the letters

is

exactly

the same as the traditional order of the Oghams, the

Bethluisnion

the

same four groups, containing the same

characters

sounds in each group

we

that

find

letters

for

are,

being

most

the

in five

but on the other hand

;

names of the

the

arranged

part,

Bethluisnion

obviously mere

Keltic adaptations of the

names of the Scandin-

avian runes.

that

It

follows

the

Bethluisnion

names must have been the names by which the Ogham characters were designated before they were superseded by the Irish adaptations of the

Eoman

uncials.

adapted

But

from the

if

the

Oghams

bore names

names of the runes, there

seems to be no escape from the conclusion, to

which

all

other considerations I 2

also

point,

that


n6

The Oghams.

the

Ogham

alphabet

was

based

the

upon

Futhorc.

The Bethluisnion is

form,

as follows

in

alphabet,

mediaeval

its

:

THE BETHLUISNION ALPHABET. VALUES.

Group

I.

II.

.

.

.

.

beith

birch.

I

.

.

.

.

luis

rowan.

/

.

.

.

.

fearn

alder.

....

sail

sallow.

n

.

.

.

.

nion

ash?

7i

.

.

.

.

huath

hawthorn?

d

Group

III.

.

duir

oak. 1

c

.

.

.

.

coll

q

.

.

.

.

m

......

hazel.

....

apple.

queirt

muin

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

gort

.

ngedal

.

st

.

r

.

.

.

.

.

vine? ivy?

....

1

.

straif

sloe

.

ruis

elder, (privet?)

?

fir ?

(palm

onn

furze,

.

ur

heath

?

.

eadhadh

aspen

?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

....

Bethluisnion

?

.

.

has

reed

.

a .... ailm

e

the

.

tinne

u

Graves

.

....

ng

Dr.

.

t

g

Group IV.

MEANINGS.

b

5

Group

NAMES.

pointed

names,

.

.

.

....

idhadh

out

(ash

?)

?)

yew.

that

those which

some I

of

have


The Bethhdsnion Alphabet.

by a note of interrogation, are names in ancient Irish. It would

distinguished

not true tree

seem that

later

meanings assigned

fancifully

grammarians

fanciful

117

of

notion

to

have

been

arbitrarily

some of the names

in

order '

the

to

by the

complete

in

trees'

the

'

or

Ogham

forest/

Let

us

now compare

Ogham

names

names.

We

with

Bethluisnion or

these

the

corresponding

have RUNE NAMES.

OGHAM NAMES. braut, beith

b

berith, brita.

I

luir, luis

I

logr, laaz.

s

suil, sail

s

sol. sigil, sihil, sil, tir, tyr.

6

d

duir, dair

t

m

mum

m

man.

rait, ruis

r

rehit, rat.

r

q

queirt

g

gort

ch,

h

sgeith,

huath

t

trom, tinne

e

egui, edad

i

iechua, idad

w,f

ng

q

g,

th,

.......

gifu, quith. calc.

ur, oir, or

onn, uinseann, fearn, ferns

d

u, .

thorn, dorn.

e

hsec, ech, eth, eh.

i

hie, ih.

arm.

a

ailm

ngedal

ger, quor.

c

c

a

querth.

q

g,q

coll

u, oi y o o, u,

rune

o,

y

ur, oyr, yr,

w,f

wen,

ng, o

ing (odal).

fer.


n8

The Oghams.

To

the standard names, as given in the

Book

of Ballyinote, I have added from other sources

a few variants which seem to approximate to the more ancient forms before they were

I have also selected

significant as Irish words. for

made

comparison several runic variants, taken chiefly

from the Scandinavian Futhorcs.

The coincidences between Runic names are too be

close

the

and too numerous to

That the Ogham

accidental.

Ogham and names were

derived from the rune names, instead of the rune

names from

the

Ogham

names,

proof be thought needful, by the

the name of the

Ogham

word seems

to

be

signification

of

'reed'

merely an

the ng rune,

,

respectively ing

being

Now

and the

and

proved,

odal,

if

word ngedal, This

character for ng. in

meaningless

attribution.

is

Irish,

the

most

probably

the

Futhorcs

in

o rune,

,

are called

but their names and

powers are constantly confused and interchanged,

owing to the

and

their

Futhorc.

close

resemblance of the

juxtaposition It

at

the

end

forms,

of

the

would seem that the word ngedal

was produced by some one who was doubtful


Ogham names

derived from

Rune

names.

1

19

whether ing or odal was the true name of the rune

,

and who solved the

by comone word the two names which difficulty

pounding into he found attributed to the rune.

From

with

clude

we may

the foregoing arguments

some

alphabet was, by some unknown structed discover

out

of

the

that

confidence

the

Futhorc.

what was the

principle

con-

Ogham con-

process,

In

order

to

of construction

be needful to restore, as far as possible,

it will

the primitive powers of the

Ogham

characters.

Three of the Oghams, J -///-////-, do not occur on

any of the

ng,

st,

monuments

1 ;

their values,

h,

being those assigned to them by tradi-

tion, as

recorded in the book of Ballymote, and

confirmed by the evidence of the Bethluisnion

and

Bobeloth

shown that

A,

Professor

alphabets.

the traditional value of

from the debilitation of a

primitive

which he takes to have been

ch.

that the value of

1

that

Rhys has

-////-

was

He

Monuments may prove

of

Mr. Brash

on

arises

guttural, also

originally not

I take this assertion from Professor Rhys.

the forthcoming work

j_,

shows st

but

It is possible

the

the statement to be incorrect.

Ogham


I2O

z,

The Oghams,

and that

Ogham

f

9

of

T

as well as b

or

w,

and

Welsh

the

in

value

the character

v

f

shows that

which in Ireland has the value

TFT,

retains

primitive

/

then proves that an Irish

a Welsh

represents

of

must be a reduction of a

z

He

s.

primitive

the

this

He

w.

must

its

inscriptions

considers

also

that

originally have represented

1 .

In addition to these restorations of the primi-

Oghams, which have been

tive values of the

tablished

by

a Lautverschiebung

That

the

a runic

t,

among

Ogham is

we must

Prof. Ehys,

d,

es-

expect to find

the mutes and vowels.

for

answers

instance,

to

proved by a comparison of their

names, duir and

tir.

But the

of this Lautverschiebung

it

precise

will be

amount

more easy to

determine hereafter.

Taking then the primitive values of the Oghams so far as they have been restored

by

we may

values by the

replace

the

traditional

Prof.

Rhys,

following scheme, in which the later values are

distinguished by brackets.

1

Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology, pp. 273-277, 286.


Restoration of the Primitive Values.

Group

n

I.

Group

1

III.

Group IV. Dr.

as

this

observed,

primitive order tion

based

is

s

n

--U--LJi__LlU d

-

LJ1LL

c

t

q

+-ff-W--ffff-lfft{-

m

Now

nT

-1

II.

ch(h)

Group

m w(f)

ry

f(b)

121

H

g

ng

s,z(st)

r

- -H- H

and

Graves

Prof.

Khys have

clearly not

is

arrangement of the

H+H-

I+H

Oghams

upon' form, and

;

the the

the

classifica-

collocation

of the vowels in a group

by themselves indicates the revision of a grammarian. The constructor

of the

Oghams would most

certainly have

gun by employing the more simple and

be-

easily

written forms, and would only have resorted to

the more complex characters combinations were

exhausted.

when

the simpler

We may

safely

assume that the primitive arrangement was in five Classes,

each containing four Oghams, instead

of in four Groups of five Oghams. clusion

is

supported

by

the

Welsh

This contradition

that in the time of Beli the Great there

only

1

6

'

awgryms/ that they were

were

afterwards


The Oghams.

122 increased finally,

to

20,

Irish

(the

number) and that

Fardd Glas, the

in the time of Geraint

number was Resolving five Classes,

raised to 24.

the

we

four

traditional

Groups

into

obtain as the primitive arrange-

ment Class

i.

-rf(b)

Class

2.

-I

3.

4.

d

g

t

ng

-TTT

w Class

-mi

If the

we must

u

"" / c

Class

a

LL_

n 1

Class

+-

/

m

ch(h)

z

5.

Ogham mystery seek for some

is

to

be

principle

cleared

by means of

which the Futhorc can be rearranged in classes of

four

runes, so

as to

up

five

correspond with

the five classes of four Oghams.

The arbitrary and complicated rearrangements of the Latin and Phoenician alphabets by means of which Dr. Graves and Prof. to evolve the order of the

Ehys endeavour

Ogmic

characters are


Restoration of the Primitive Arrangement. 123 so obviously inadmissible that

some other principle

must be sought.

A child,

on being shown such runes as

P f, ,

immediately pronounce them to be

)K, will

The Scandinavian and Keltic

or

trees.

with

races, looking

awe on the mysterious Runes and Oghams, seem to have regarded them as representations of a sort of alphabetic forest or

trees, constituting

In several cases the names of the

arboretum.

runes are actually names of trees the

birch,

times

this

and thorn the thorn device

of

;

beorc being

In ]ater

tree.

nomenclature

was more

extensively employed, ac, the oak, and ash, being

added to the runic

cesc,

the

trees.

This notion of the Northmen that the runes

were a

sort of trees is exhibited in their ingenious

invention of the

out in a

'

tree runes/

struction of the forms

spoken

of

it

more elaborate method

still

characters,

and

was

in the con-

and names of the Ogham

which were invariably regarded and as

trees.

The Book of Ballymote

speaks of the twigs and branches of the tree,

carried

the individual characters are called

feada, the consonants are called

'

Ogham '

trees,' '

side trees

tao-


The Oghams.

124

bomna, and each cross stroke

A

1

fleasg

.

of the

idad,

ailm and onn,

in ancient Irish gort,

a twig,

names

characters, such as sail, duir,

ruis,

ceirt,

muin,

called

considerable proportion of the

Ogham

names

is

are

true

in other cases,

;

and ngedal, tree

significations

coll,

tree

such as

seem

to

have been assigned to words which were adopted from the names of the Scandinavian runes.

The

resemblance

it

to the

was afterwards.

The Oghams, according

Book of Ballymote, were

n,

t,

g,

e,

originally written,

but on vertical stems,

lines,

were denoted by p

which

symbols urn

in

the

>

=t

" " '

it

would

by the side

by

seem '

to

have

tree runes/

been

Ogham symbols

directly

suggested

which are occasionally found

side with the ordinary runes, as at

Kok

Sweden, Maeshowe in Orkney,

and Rotbrunna

in

and Hackness

in Yorkshire

1

Ed

Ogham become

later

These primitive forms of the

2

their

was much more obvious

not on horizontal thus

in

Oghams,

trees

to

earliest forms,

than

the

of

Graves, Hermathena, vol.

ii.

p.

2 .

The

principle on

457.

See Stephens, Runic Monuments, pp. 228-240, 467, 468.


The Tree Rimes.

125

which the tree runes were constructed

is

very

The runes of the Futhorc were divided

simple.

common

into families headed

by

division being,

Frey's family, containing the

runes from

(i)

ftoh;

(3) Tyr's family,

certain letters, the

Hagl's family, from h to

(2)

from

t

stem or tree trunk was

number family, in that

of branches

Thus

family.

denoted

the

left

to the right the station

^

as a tree rune first

all

yet

it

probability suggested is

would family

\

Although the notion of the Ogham in

upright the

represent u, the second rune in the of the Futhorc

;

then taken, and the

to

and the number

An

to the end.

t

by the

trees

tree

was

runes,

manifest that no modification of the

principle on which the tree runes were constructed will

suffice

to

explain the

Oghams.

We

must

therefore seek for some other device, which, like

1

The same principle was applied by the Arabs, after they had come in contact with the Varangians in the ninth century, to the construction, out of the Arabic alphabet, of the very simple cryptograms called

231

Mushajjar and El Shajari, the

'branched' or 'tree shaped/ of which

has been made.

much

needless mystery-


The Oghams.

126

the key to the tree runes, ought to be simple,

and easy to remember.

arbitrary,

Now

we

if

bear in mind that both the Runes

and the Oghams were regarded as constituting a mysterious alphabetic forest in which grew trees

of

twenty Species,

most obvious and

easily

by which the runic

what

remembered

Ogham

be

the

principle

trees could be arranged in

five Genera, so as to correspond

of the

would

with that division

trees into the five classes of four

Oghams, which a system of notation by notches

made imperative

?

In such a case the principle most likely to

be adopted by an uncultured people would,

I

think, be to arrange the trees of the runic ar-

boretum according to a sort of rough botanical classification,

putting together in the same class

those runes which most resembled each other in

shape and general appearance.

Now

if

any

one,

unacquainted with the Oghams, will try the ex-

periment of taking the Futhorc and endeavouring to class the runes according to their shapes, con-

sidered as imaginary trees, he will find that they

naturally

resolve

themselves

into

five

classes,


Plan on which Oghams were

constructed.

127

which correspond, with singular exactitude, to the five classes in which the primitive

Oghams

were arranged.

The inventor of

Oghams, proceeding on

the

would naturally begin with the

this principle,

rune in the Futhorc.

first

such as

tree like forms,

Y

a general resemblance to

and

expressed by the

Y> the

or

first

h

-f

From

would

markedly

which bear rune in

first

this type

would

simplest class

Oghams, those with one twig, H.

I*,

The four runes of

the Futhorc.

be

first class

branched runes with

those

comprise

His

of

such as

(fleasg)

+

,

A, he would obtain a

the second rune,

type for his second

class,

which would consist

of the runes with a single fork or elbow, such s

as

I

1,

,

and

These would be denoted by

<.

Oghams with two The

twigs,

third rune,

^,

b,

=j,

=ji,

a conspicuous and

gives

well-marked type for the third

These would be

and

might

be

the

closed

conceived

^.

to

or

class

of runes.

looped

forms,

represent

either

hollow trunks, or trees with interlacing boughs:

Such runes as

^,

^,

,

&,

would

therefore


128 be

The Oghams.

by Oghams with

represented

The fourth

rune

having

appropriate place in the

on

to

the

fifth

or

an

he would go

which would

ft,

supply a type for a well-marked

twigs,

found

already

first class

R

rune,

three

fifth class,

con-

taining trees with diverging roots, such as K and rf.

Either because the

fifth

type, or because the root

is

rune supplied the

the last and lowest

characteristic feature of a tree, these root runes

would naturally be represented by the of Oghams, those with five twigs,

The most

striking rune forms

fifth class

\

now

being

ex-

hausted, the four remaining runes would form a sort of residuum, to be

remaining

class.

thrown together into the

They bear a general resemblance

to trees with crooked stems, such as,

$,

%,

I/I,

and would be represented by Oghams of the fourth

class,

Thus the

those with four twigs. characteristics of the five classes of

the rune trees would be (3) loops

;

(4)

crooks

beginning with the

;

(i)

branches

(5) roots

branches

;

at

;

(2) forks

;

a classification the

top,

and


The Five

of Rune

Classes

Trees.

129

thence proceeding regularly downwards, and end-

That

ing with the roots. is

its

no objection to favour

it,

scheme

this

is

fanciful

but rather an argument in

when we remember

of the whole system of the

the

fancifulness

Oghams and

their

names. This theory as to the ideas which

may have

passed through the mind of the contriver of the

Oghams must now be

tested

whether

to

it

will

suffice

by ascertaining the

explain

actual

facts.

The

five

classes of

Oghams would correspond

as follows to the five classes of runes

:

FIKST CLASS.

Type.

The

first

Y

rune,

One -twig

Substitution.

Oghams

for

Branch

Runes.

Oghams.

Runes.

Y f,

b

X Y g,

k,

K

X

M ^ Y

h

m

fc

a


The Oghams.

130

SECOND CLASS. Type.

The second rune, A.

Substitution.

Kunes. \SUIl/lA/llt,O,

Two -twig

Oghams

for

Fork


HIM


The Oghams.

132

Oghams and

of the

of the corresponding runes

do not present any insuperable equivalence of the

Welsh broga and the Teutonic

frog, and the uniform use of the

denote b on the Keltic the

explain

The

difficulties.

soil

representation

f

P, to

rune,

Man

of the Isle of of the

f

(b)

rune

by the b (f) Ogham. Also the names duir and tir show that the Ogham d represented a runic i.

This

is

primitive into

dl

t

in

being normally debilitated in Welsh

The

.

accordance with phonetic law, a

Compensation

runic

take

might then by Cross

th

the

of

power

In

t.

like

manner a Welsh g represents a primitive c 2 and a primitive g might then become c by pro,

vection.

Thus the changes among the Mutes,

from offering any

difficulty,

supply a convincing

confirmation of our hypothesis as to the in

which

Runes.

the

We

Oghams were are

Law

mode

derived from the

brought, by an

method, to the exact

far

independent

of the Lautverschiebung

between Old Welsh and Gothic, according to which

O.W. d corresponds 1

2

to G.

t,

O.W.

t

to G.

th,

O.W. g

Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology, Lecture II. Ibid.


The Oghams Invented to G.

Jc

(c),

and O.W.

Wales.

in

G. g or h 1

c to

133

Nor can the

.

interchange between the two throat vowels o and

and the two

u,

vowels

lip

and

e

be deemed

i,

we remember

a matter of importance when

the

vague uncertainty with which the vowel sounds are denoted in runic inscriptions

On

it

phonetic grounds

that the

Oghams

2 .

would seem probable

originated in the Scandinavian

colony of Pembrokeshire, and were thence carried across

to

the opposite

Irish

ITT,

retained

Welsh

f

to

its

which stands

is

f

in Ireland, has

w

power of v or

original

inscriptions.

for

Now 3 .

Hence

if

the

in

w

this change of

or v

and does

peculiar to the Erse language,

not take place in Welsh

chief

The Ogham

reasons for this belief are as follows.

symbol

The

coast.

the

Oghams

had originated in Ireland, and had thence passed over to Wales, this Ogham would have had the

power of

/

or

b,

instead of w, in the

Welsh

inscriptions. 1

Rhys, Lectures, p. 17. In runic inscriptions found in the single province of Upland (Sweden) the vowel sound in the word sten (stone) is expressed 2

in

no

less

ae, ce, oi.

than twelve different ways, 3

e,

a,

i,

o,

u,

ei, ia, ai,

Rhys, Lectures, p. 280.

au,


2^* Oghams.

134

On

we may

these grounds

Pembrokeshire colony was

conclude that the in date than

earlier

the settlements on the opposite Irish coasts

;

or,

at all events, that the

Oghams must have been

employed in Wales

some considerable period

for

before they were introduced into Ireland.

But here we are confronted with some importand

ant date

startling

the

of

Wales and

considerations

earliest

Teutonic

On

Ireland.

touching settlements

grammatical

the in

grounds

Mr. Stokes and Professor Khys have been driven to the conclusion that the invention of the

writing must be placed

An

equally early date

Ogham left,

'

Ogham

before the fifth century/

is

indicated

by the older

inscriptions being written from right to

a fact which would lead us to infer that

Oghams were derived from the runes at a time when the direction of the runic writing

the

was It

still

retrograde.

would therefore appear that Scandinavian

immigrants must have established themselves in

Wales and Ireland

commencement

The harrying

of

several

the

centuries before the

inroads

of

the vikings.

of the Irish coasts did not begin


Probable Date of the Oghams. till

135

nearly the end of the eighth century, and the

rule of the

Ost-men Kings

in Ireland dates only

from the middle of the ninth.

It

manifest that

is

a knowledge of the Ogham, a character derived

from the runes, could not have been acquired by the Irish and

Welsh Kelts from mere bands of

plundering marauders, but must have been obtained from established settlers on their shores,

with

whom

up.

Moreover the tract on Oghams, contained

had been

peaceable intercourse

set

in the book of Ballymote, appears to have been

written about the year 800, at which time the writing must have been already of con-

Ogham

siderable antiquity, as the tract contains internal

the

was

evidence

that

materials,

some of which he only

stood

compiler

older

partially under-

*.

From

these considerations

the introduction of the their

using

anterior

colony,

century

must be

when the

1

Oghams

invention earlier

it

in

probable that

is

into Ireland, and

Pembrokeshire

the

than the end of the eighth

inroads of the vikings

Graves, ffermathena, vol.

ii.

p.

first

450.

began.


The Oghams.

136

We

are thus brought to the conclusion that the

legends as to an earlier Scandinavian colonization in

Wales and

worthy

may

a

of

basis

annals and traditions

between

distinction

rauders

has come

historical record

contain

Ireland

the

no

trust-

down

to us,

The ancient

truth.

of

of the ninth

to which

as

Ireland,

make a

clear

Danish

ma-

historical

who

century,

are

called

Dubhgalls, the 'Black Strangers/ and the earlier

Tuatha De Danann, whose

invaders called the arrival

Irish

is

placed far It

legend.

away

seems

I

much

to

have been obtained. asserted in

also

the

Indeed

Ballymote that this was the If

it

tract

a further conjecture

these

and from them,

suggest, the

Ogham

that

Danes, belonging

earlier immigration,

would venture

dim period of

probable

Tuatha De Danann were to a

in the

Oghams may is

in

categorically

the

book

case.

may

be ventured I

should be inclined to identify the Tuatha

Danann with settlement in

the

Jutes

of

De

from Jutland, whose

Kent and the

Isle

of

Wight

is

the earliest Teutonic migration into Britain which

can be called

historical.


The Tiiatha de Danann. In favour of this conjecture

it

137 be urged

may

that the Saxons, like the kindred confederations

Franks and Lombards, seem to have

of

been

unacquainted with the runes, as thus only can

we

account for the entire absence of runic stones

scriptions

Saxon parts of England. Eunic inhave been found in no inconsiderable

numbers