SWIFTNESS IN THE OLDER RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS. A RUNOLOGICAL AND LINGUISTIC COMMENTARY ON THE RECENTLY DISCOVERED RAKKESTAD-STONE FROM ØVERBY IN EASTERN NORWAY

The author presents a new interpretation of the recently discovered Rakkestad-stone from eastern Norway. The runic inscription on this stone is to be dated in the period AD 350–500 and its language is Proto-Norse (Ancient Nordic). Every new find of an older runic inscription is a sensation as such and this applies to the Rakkestad-stone as well. The article presents an alternative reading and interpretation of this runestone in a framework of fixed runic formulae and phrases. The author argues that the inscription running along the narrow side (line A) is a syntactic unit in its own right, which is separated from the sequence inisni on the broad surface of the runestone (line B and C); in this sentence the verb writu ʻI writeʼ or wrait ʻI wroteʼ is probably elided, i.e. simply omitted. The author suggests the reading of the first two (slightly damaged) runes as ek ʻIʼ (and not lu, allegedly imperative ʻhew, chisel, carve!ʼ). This yields the frequent ek irilaR-formula, which has several well-known parallels in the older runic inscriptions. This sequence is commonly translated as ʻI [am] the runemasterʼ, but the technical term irilaR is certainly in need of comment. Also, the author focuses on the word raskaR, which, as he argues, is a personal name or by-name ʻswift oneʼ (German rasch), which yet again has many lexical-semantic parallels in the corpus of the older runic inscriptions. Rather than overstraining reconstruction, the author builds his interpretation on well-attested runic inscriptions and further parallels from the Northand West Germanic languages.

pdf_iconSchulte M. SWIFTNESS IN THE OLDER RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS. A RUNOLOGICAL AND LINGUISTIC COMMENTARY ON THE RECENTLY DISCOVERED RAKKESTAD-STONE FROM ØVERBY IN EASTERN NORWAY