VIKING RUNE RING
VIKING RUNE RING / Viking runic ring
Ancient Germans including Nordic Vikings formed a written alphabet before 100 A.D known as the futhark, after its first six letters. This alphabet metamorphosed over the years to form three main variations. The first is the Elder Futhark which was developed and used between 100-800 A.D., it had 24 characters, the second is the Younger Futhark which predominantly used between 800-1,200 A.D. and had 16 characters, the last is the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc which was mostly used in England and contained 33 characters. In the Christian era, the Younger Futhark was Latinized in Scandinavia to become the Medieval Futhark.
Runes were commonly etched on wood, stones, metal, bones and antlers. The ancient Norse also carved runes on big rocks, known as rune stones, to honor the memory of a noble man or woman. There are over 3,000 runestones scattered throughout the Scandinavian region. These are mostly found inscribed on grave markers, memorials and cenotaphs as compared to other objects. Nonetheless, runes have also been found engraved on cliff walls, rocks, building walls, on magical charms and talismans, religious objects, weapons, gold and silversmiths inscribed runes on artistic objects, trade markers to note the name of the owner of a pile of goods, etc.
Historically, runes are believed to have been developed in the era when ancient Germans raided communities located in the south, which is modern day Italy. Scholars are still in argument whether the alphabets were derived from the old Italic alphabet or maybe from an Etruscan writing and carried back to the north.
The Norse people believed that Odin discovered runes in an ordeal where he hung himself in the world tree called Yggdrasil for nine days. In the period, Odin fasted and gazed at the Well of Urd where the runes were inscribed. As a result, the runes themselves were believed to have mystical powers besides their capability to store and convey meaning. Runes were used extensively to prepare charms for healing, protection or even laying a curse.