Misuse of the Lore

Were Runes invented in the Bronze Age

After a debate in the Facebook group “Norse Rune Writing/Translating” (in 2017) I became aware, that some people seem to think that the runes were invented in the Bronze Age. Then asked for sources guy who proposed the very early date could just say “I can’t remember which old dusty book I found it in … I don’t have to show you the road though. you need to do more research .”. So I decided to do a bit of research.

What do the archeologist say:

Lisbeth M. Imer, Runologist at The National Museum of Denmark writes in her book: Danmarks Runesten – En fortælling” 2016 says that the runes were properly created in the environment of the nobility in the second or third century CE (p. 30).

Jørgen Jensen, archeologist at The national Musem of Denmark wrote in his work: “Danmarks Oldtid -Ældre Jernalder“ 2003 write that the oldest inscriptions we know, are from the late second century, but that runes may be a bit elder because Tacitus in about 100 CE that the Germanic people use marks cut in twigs to take omens from. (The original text can also be seen here: Den første skrift )

Professor Lotte Hedager from Oslo University wrote in Politikens Danmarkshistorie, bind 2 Danernes land (1988) that the runes must have been invented around the time of Christ, but that the first inscriptions are from the first century and that the use of runes became more common around year 200. (p 310) (The original text can also be seen here: Futharken – det ældste runealfabet )

So it’s quite clear that the runes were created at the start of the Common Era sometime between year 1 and 200. Why would someone then think that the runes went back to the Bronze Age (1700-500 BC), which are 500 years before the earliest date of the runes?

I tried to google “Bronze Age Runes” and found a couple of pages.

The first one I found was Oswald The Runemakers page. He says: “Rune-like symbols appear as cave markings as early as the late Bronze Age (circa 1300 BC), and they are mentioned in the Bible, but their use in ritual and as an Oracle for consultation must certainly pre-date their use as a system of writing.”. The page seems to be a shop, where “Oswald” is seeling rune sets for divination.

The second I found was History of The Runes from a Wicca group

This last article has references, but they are two articles from 1898 and 1928. There can be good information in old scholarship, but it goes against everything modern schoolers think today, you shouldn’t take it seriously.

Both pages are from people using runes for magic/divination and not as part of serious historical research. When you read the homepages it also becomes clear that it’s not the rune-letters they are referring to. They interpret the figures on the Bronze Age carvings as having the same symbolic meaning as they think the runic letters have. This symbolic meaning is interpreted from the medieval rune poems written down very late (about 1500 years after the end of the Bronze Age).

It is fine in your religious practices to use pictures from Bronze Age Rock Carvings to represent the symbols you get from the Rune Poems, but there is no historical or archeological evidence for runes being from the Bronze Age.

This page was deleted by a mistake at the end of 2019. This blog post is from the old page and has been reposted on the new page.

Misuse of the Lore

I took an arrow in the knee is not Old Norse slang

Many pages are sharing the following Meme at the moment

The only thing that’s true in that meme is that it is mind blown.

The idea comes from a modern game named Skyrim and was invented to make some guards have a conversation. There is no historical information that such an expression existed in Scandinavia in the Viking Age.

For more information see this link

This page was deleted by a mistake at the end of 2019. This blog post is from the old page and has been reposted on the new page.

Misuse of the Lore

Midgard Serpent at the Mid-ocean ridge

I have many times seen this  meme which is a manipulation of the plate boundaries to look like The Midgard Serpent (also called Jörmungandr)

Often the Meme is followed by this text:

The myths are a storehouse of infinite knowledge. They speak of the Midgard Serpent lying at the bottom of the see. He encircles the globe and when he moved great earth trembles cause terrible convulsions. Most believe this is just a tale, but the ancient knew of his existence at the bottom of the oceans. Now, with modern technology, we can see for ourselves that the Myths were true–he does exist. But how did primitive Norsemen know of this great belt of fissions at the bottom of the oceans? Perhaps they were not primitive as most people think they were? Did they have knowledge passed down to them from thousands of years earlier, in a time when their ancestors had built an advance civilization, more advanced than ours’ today? But when it collapsed, their knowledge was encoded in Myths passed down from generation to generation? Take a look at the maps once more and think about it. – unknown author

My comment:

It is funny and might be an interpretation of the myth into modern cosmology we can use today, but the thing about “advance civilization, more advanced than ours’ today” is at best silly and a little insulting to our ancestors, who did amazing things with the technology available to them. Notice that the map is manipulated. The lines they have highlighted are boundaries between tectonic plates, but they have just selected those that fit with what they want you to see. Humans are experts to notice patterns and if you condition people to see a pattern they will do so.

The same map, but only with mid-ocean ridges

Most of the boundaries they have chosen are the mid-ocean ridge, but not all. The ridges near the west coast of Greenland are very small and not active anymore and in the Pacific, there are only ridges in short areas along the Californian coast and none along the Aleutian Islands. On the map above the mid-ocean ridge is colored red. I have modified the original map to show this. Notice how the serpent has disappeared.

The map with both constructive and destructive plate boundaries

They have chosen to include the destructive line along the Californian coast and the destructive boundary along The Aleutian Islands. If they decided to include island arcs and destructive plate boundaries, then there are plenty of more places that need to be included in the picture. They are included as lines with lumps on in the picture. If you include all of them, then there is no serpent either.

This page was deleted by a mistake at the end of 2019. This blog post is from the old page and has been reposted on the new page.

Misuse of the Lore

The “Jord” Meme

This meme will appear regularly on different Facebook pages.

When I read the Meme I feel it makes four statements, and I will look into each:

1. Jord was the first wife of Odin and mother of Thor.

This is true, it can be attested in the lore (look for references in Simek; Dictionary of Northern Mythology: p. 179)

2. She (Jord) was also known as Mother Earth

This is a bit harder. I can’t seem to find any reference to anyone in ancient Scandinavia talking about a “Mother Earth”. It’s mainly a modern concept used to associate the same function in different mythologies around the world. It is not clear to Ymir, the giant from which Midgard was made and me the relationship with the goddess Jord.

  3. Her name Jord was pronounced Yard

I don’t know which language it is referring to, I don’t know old Norse but in modern Scandinavian languages, Jord is pronounced different from the English Yard.

4. It literally means Earth or Land! And is why we call parcel of land a Yard

Let’s start with the English word Yard. There are two origins of the word yard. The first one is the measurement from the Old English word Gerd, meaning Stick/rod (from the yardstick that was used to measure length). This is not the word referred to in the Meme. 

The other meaning of Yard is a “patch of ground around a house” from Old English geard or Old Norse garðr. (source

I have looked at the danish word Jord, and it has its origin in the Old Norse word jörð and the old English word eorþe. From  

So you see, that the old Norse/Scandinavian word Jord for earth/soil/goddess have different old Norse and Old English origins. So there is no common origin between the words

I will add an observation here, that the English word Yard has a connection to the Old Norse word garðr (fence), which are part of Old Norse Miðgarðr (Midgard), which are one of the 9 worlds and the world the humans live in. But saying that because Midgard is the fenced area where the humans lives and a fenced area around your house are the same word is a bit of a stretch. I will also say that we don’t know if the Goddess is Jord are associated with Midgard, or maybe the soil.

This page was deleted by a mistake at the end of 2019. This blog post is from the old page and has been reposted on the new page.