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The Origins of the Runes - Page 2 of 3

     
  jpeg image: anglo-saxon hagalaz runeVariations in pronunciation can also occur. For instance, the Norsemen pronounced W as a V, but Anglo-Saxons had adapted this to the modern W sound by 600AD.

There are those who suggest that many of the rune forms are copied from Roman script - the system of letters on which modern Western writing is based.

Such examples as Mannaz (M), Fehu (F), Berkanan (B), Raido (R) are obviously very similar, but it seems more likely to me that the rune symbols (although not then used as letters) are earlier in development. Or at least, they were developed from the same source as the Roman script.

Consider the technology and equipment that was necessary to undertake Roman writing. Parchment or paper with all the processing that requires - such as blanching chemicals and drying processes; the formulation of durable ink and its mass production; and not forgetting the development of a complex writing implement such as the quill pen. A civilization is hardly likely to undertake all these developments unless a suitable format for writing already existed.

Look now at the needs of the runemaster or runemistress, what did they require? Nothing more than a stick of wood and a sharp knife to incise the runes. Both of these requisites have been available to Man from the very earliest times. That runes were initially cut in wood there is no doubt. The very shape of the runes confirm this by the avoidance of the horizontal or curved line.

If you experiment with a flat wood surface you will find that it is very easy to cut straight lines across the grain. It is much more difficult to cut a curve with a straight knife blade. And it is almost impossible to cut a line horizontally along the grain - the cut closes up as the wood dries, and the line thus disappears.

The early runemasters and runemistresses therefore developed a system of writing from their existing fund of mystic or religious symbols which would endure on wood. The symbols were composed of vertical and angled straight lines that could easily be cut or burned in wood.

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