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Title: Runology  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Runes, Runa ABC, Runic transliteration and transcription, Daniel Henry Haigh, Ralph Elliott
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


This article is about the philological discipline, not to be confused with occultist concepts like runosophy.
Children being taught a runic alphabet (1555), from Olaus Magnus's Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus

Runology is the study of the Runic alphabets, Runic inscriptions and their history. Runology forms a specialized branch of Germanic linguistics.


Runology was initiated by Johannes Bureus (1568-1652) who was very interested in the linguistics of the Geatish language (Götiska språket), i.e. Old Norse. However, he did not look at the runes as just an alphabet but rather something holy or magical.

The study of runes was continued by Olof Rudbeck Sr (1630-1702) and presented in his collection Atlantica. The physicist Anders Celsius (1701-44) further extended the science of runes and travelled around the whole of Sweden to examine the bautastenar (megaliths, today termed runestones). Another early treatise is the 1732 Runologia by Jón Ólafsson of Grunnavík.

The various runic scripts were well understood by the 19th century, when their analysis became an integral part of the Germanic philology and historical linguistics. Wilhelm Grimm published his Ueber deutsche Runen in 1821, where among other things he discussed the "Marcomannic runes" (chapter 18, pp. 149-159). In 1828 he published a supplement, titled Zur Literatur der Runen, where he discusses the Abecedarium Nordmannicum.

Sveriges runinskrifter was published

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