Ancient Norse rune code cracked

Norwegian scientist helps shine more light on the secrets of the Vikings

February 28th, 2014 2:15 pm| by admin

A Viking rune code that had baffled scholars for centuries has finally been cracked, but instead of revealing dark secrets, the inscriptions are mostly lighthearted banter. “Kiss me”, one of them reads.

PhD candidate Jonas Nordby of Oslo University, who solved the 12th/13th century Jötunvillur code, describes the inscriptions as the “SMSes of the Middle Ages”.

It would appear therefore that rather than encrypting politically sensitive information, codes were a common way of playing, learning rules and even showing off – indeed, the inscription ‘interpret these runes’ often accompanied the codes.

Rune-writers the popstars of the age
The ability to write and crack codes conferred a certain degree of status. A coded message found on the Orkney Islands reads as follows: “These runes were carved by the most rune-literature man west of the sea”.

Henrik Williams, a professor at Uppsala University’s Department of Scandinavian Languages, applauds Norby’s discovery, but confesses that he was never a fan of Jötunvillur.

“Personally I think Jötunvillur is an idiotic code because whoever made it chose a system that is so hard to interpret," he told @@@@. "It’s irritating not being able to read it.”

In Jötunvillur, the original runic character is replaced with the last sound of the rune name.

Jötunvillur makes up but a few of the 80 inscriptions found in Scandinavia and the British Isles, which means the riddle-solving will continue for runologists hopeful of finding something slight more revealing than banter.

Danish companies need to hire more refugees, but on lower wages
Danish Capital in 2015: High wages and education requirements a deterrant to employable refugees
With Europe facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, all associated matters ...
Livslinien annually receives 5,000 calls in the late hours (photo: iStock)
Danish government retracts grant for suicide helpline’s night opening
With its finance bill for 2016, the government aims to cancel four million ...
Nørgaard was inspired by Easter Island statues among other things (photo: Tivoli)
Danish artist unveils Hans Christian Andersen giant head at Tivoli Hotel
On Friday, the renowned Danish artist Bjørn Nørgaard unveiled a four-metr...
When the incentive to reach the top is not financial
Why Innovation?: Purpose is the profit
For centuries, success has been objectified as how much money we earn and t...
Out & About: CIS students dyeing their hair for peace
Photos: CIS The Copenhagen International School community once ag...
(Photo by iStock)
Today’s Date: Storm of Friedrichstadt
October 4 Storm of Friedrichstadt Today is an official military flag da...