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Runes tie our people together

Runic Alphabet - Old Norse


Little is known about the origins of the Runic alphabet, which is traditionally known as futhark after the first six letters. In Old Norse the word rune means 'letter', 'text' or 'inscription'. The word also means 'mystery' or 'secret' in Old Germanic languages.

Here are some theories about the origins of runes:

  • The alphabet was probably created independently rather than evolving from another alphabet.
  • Runic writing was probably first used in southern Europe and was carried north by Germanic tribes.
  • The Runic alphabet is thought to have been modeled on the Latin and/or Etruscan alphabet.

The earliest known Runic inscriptions date from the 1st century AD, but the vast majority of Runic inscriptions date from the 11th century.

Notable features

  • The direction of writing in early Runic inscriptions is variable. Later they settled down into a left to right pattern
  • Word divisions were not generally recognized in Runic writing, although one or more dots were occasionally used for this function.


  • The people using the runes were called by Tacitus as Germani.  The Germani are the common ancestors of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings and Normans.  In 200 AD they all spoke a language that was similar but the dialects were very different across the region.  This first rune is called the Elder Futhark and had 24 runes.
  • As time progressed these dialects became more pronounced and with the separation of the Anglo-Saxons in England and the Northern peoples who would become the Vikings the languages became quite separate in sound.
  • With these different sounding languages it is not surprising that the use of the runes changed as well.  The Anglo-Saxon tongue developed into what we now call English.  Their rune changed to accommodate their new language but it's obvious that it was derived from the SAME SOURCE.  This rune became the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc with 31 runes.
  • In Northern Europe the language changed as well.  Therefore their rune evolved to just 16 runes.  The runes used by the Vikings is called the Younger Futhork.


for more information visit these sites:





Elder Futhark

24 Runes

The letter k is also called kēnaz (torch) or kanō (skiff). The meaning of the letter name perş is unknown.

Elder Futhark is thought to be the oldest version of the Runic alphabet, and was used in the parts of Europe which were home to Germanic peoples, including Scandinavia. Other versions probably developed from it. The names of the letters are shown in Common Germanic, the reconstructed ancestor of all Germanic languages.

The original common Rune used from 150 AD until around 800 AD




Gothic Futharic

24 Runes

Gothic, an extinct east Germanic language, was originally written with a Runic alphabet about which little is known. One theory of the origins of runes is that they were invented by the Goths, but this is impossible to prove as very few inscriptions of writing in Gothic runes survive. These runes were replaced with a Gothic alphabet in the 4th century AD.




Anglo-Saxon Futhorc

31 Runes

400 - 1100 AD

A number of extra letters were added to the Runic alphabet to write Anglo-Saxon/Old English. Runes were probably bought to Britain in the 5th century by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians (collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons), and were used until about the 11th century.

Runic inscriptions are mostly found on jewelry, weapons, stones and other objects. Very few examples of Runic writing on manuscripts have survived.




Younger Futhork

Younger Futhork or "Normal Runes" gradually evolved Elder Futhark over a period of many years and stabilized by about 800 A.D., the beginning of the Viking Age. It was the main alphabet in Norway, Sweden and Denmark throughout the Viking Age, but was largely though not completely replaced by the Latin alphabet by about 1200 as a result of the conversion of most of Scandinavia to Christianity.

Three slightly different versions of the alphabet developed in Denmark, Sweden and Norway:


Swedish/Norwegian - Short Twig





Medieval (Latinized) Furthark

After the arrival of Christianity in Scandinavia, the Runic alphabet was Latinised and was used occasionally, mainly for decoration until 1850




Old Norse

Old Norse, the language of the Vikings, is a North Germanic language once spoken in Scandinavia, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and in parts of Russia, France and the British Isles. The modern language most closely related to Old Norse is Icelandic, the written form of which has changed little over the years, while the spoken form has undergone significant changes.

The earliest known inscriptions in Scandinavia date from the the 2nd century AD and were written in Runes mainly on stone, or on personal artifacts such as brooches and swords. The majority of these inscription have been found in Denmark and Sweden, and they are written in a dialect much more archaic than Old Norse itself.

Most Old Norse literature was written in Iceland and includes the Eddas, poems about gods and mythic origins, or the heroes of an earlier age; Scaldic poetry, which was concerned with extolling the virtues and telling tales of the notable exploits of kings and other patrons; and the Sagas, stories of historical figures or groups intended as entertainment.

Between 800 and 1050 AD a division began to appear between East Norse, which developed into Swedish and Danish, and West Norse, which developed into Norwegian, Faroese, Icelandic and Norn, an extinct language once spoken in Shetland, Orkney, and northern parts of Scotland.

Old Norse Pronunciation

Sample texts in Old Norse

Şórr heitir áss, ok er sterkr mjök ok oft reiğr. Hann á hamar góğan. Şórr ferr oft til Jötunheima ok vegr şar marga jötna meğ hamrinum. Şórr á ok vagn er flıgr. Hann ekr vagninum um himininn. Şar er Şórr ekr, er stormr.


A god is named Thor. He is very strong and often angry. He has a good hammer. Thor often goes to Gianthome and slays many giants there with the hammer. Thor also has a carriage that flies. He drives the carriage through the sky. Where Thor drives there is storm.




The Lord's Prayer in Old Norse - Futhark Runic Alphabet


Fağer uor som ast i himlüm, halgağ warğe şit nama. Tilkomme şit rikie. Skie şin uilie so som i himmalan so oh bo iordanne. Wort dahliha broğ gif os i dah. Oh forlat os uora skuldar so som oh ui forlate şem os skuüldihi are. Oh inleğ os ikkie i frestalsan utan frels os ifra ondo. Tü rikiağ ar şit oh mahtan oh harlihheten i ewihhet. Aman.

Source: www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/JPN-norse-old.html


The oldest datable runic inscription is the Vimose Comb from Denmark.  It's been dated to 160 AD


Vimose Comb, Denmark

Oldest Runic Inscription known



File:Elder futhark inscriptions.png

Map showing where the Elder Futhark Runes have been found


Tune Runestone, 200 AD, Norway

Elder Futhark


File:Sö319, Stäringe.jpg

Viking Runestone So 319



Lingsberg Runestone, 11th century, Sweden

Younger Futhork



Rok Runestone, Ostergotland, Sweden

Old East Norse


The parent alphabet if all these runes is

Old Italic

and ultimately



Here's something of interest

North American Rune Stones

Several rune stones have been found in the United States, most notably the Kensington Runestone in Minnesota.  It is a slab of gray stone, measuring 36 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It contains runic writing along the face of the stone and along one edge. The stone was found by a Minnesota farmer named Olaf Ohman in November of 1898 while a digging up a poplar tree stump on the southern slope of a 50-foot high knoll. The stone was buried face down about six inches below the surface, with the tree roots wrapped around it. Mr. Ohman and his sons saw the runic letters but did not know what they were.

Unfortunately, the stone was not left in place, so they were unable to demonstrate its obvious age from the growth pattern of the tree. The stone was sent to the University of Minnesota and then to Chicago. It was was studied by runic scholars, who interpreted the inscription to be an account of Norse explorers in the 14th Century. Many authorities who have since examined the stone have claimed it a forgery, but others are equally certain of its authenticity.

It is known King Magnus of Sweden sent that a party to Greenland in 1355. They never returned. It is very possible that these men were from that party. The stone bears the date of 1362. The transliteration of the text is generally accepted as:

"Eight Goths and 22 Norwegians on a journey of exploration from Vinland very far west. We had camp by 2 rocky islands one day's journey north from this stone. We were out fishing one day. After we came home we found 10 men red with blood and dead. AVM [Ave Maria] save us from evil."

The inscription along the edge of the stone says:

"Have 10 men by the sea to look after our ships 14 days' journey from this island. Year 1362."

The stone is now in the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, near where the stone was found.

At a 2000 conference in St. Paul, attended by archaeologists from about 20 states and three Canadian provinces, a Minnesota geologist and a Wisconsin chemist presented what they say is indisputable evidence that the runestone inscription is "real" and old, probably from the 1300s. Scott Wolter, president of American Petrographic services, is a licensed Minnesota geologist. He was instrumental in analyzing the stone's surfaces with Barry Hanson, a chemist and project manager for nonprofit archeology group, Archeology ITM, and Paul Weiblen, professor emeritus in geophysics at the University of Minnesota. Weiblen published a 45-page report on the mineralogy of the stone, and concludes that the carvings are significantly older than 1898, when it was discovered.

Kensington Runestone

Dr. Richard Nielsen, president of Houston Texas-based Nielsen Engineering, studies linguistics as a hobby. His research involving 14th century legal documents known as "Swedish Diplomas", reveals linguistic evidence linking the writing style and expressions on the stone to the vernacular found in historical legal documents of the period between 1355 and 1375. During the 14th century many of the educated scribes died of the bubonic plague. Less educated writers introduced vernacular into the legal documents during that period.

Thomas Reiersgord, author of The Kensington Rune Stone: Its Place in History, believes that the "10 men red with blood", were not killed by Indians, but were victims of the bubonic plague, carried in its incubation period from Europe, by one or more carriers in the group. In its pneumatic form the plague spreads and kills rapidly, the victims vomiting blood as well as covered with bloody pustules.


Other Rune stones found in North America include the Heavener Runestone, the Poteau Runestone, Shawnee Runestone, and the Spirit Pond Runestone.

See the link below for more information:



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