Runic Alphabet

The Runic alphabet is a writing system used by the Germanic people of northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, and Iceland. It is traditionally known as futhark, after its first six letters.

The origins of the Runic alphabet are uncertain. Runic writing is derived from alphabets of the Mediterranean region and appeared relatively late in the history of writing. The Germanic peoples used the Runic alphabet from about the 3rd century AD to the 16th or 17th centuries AD.

Runes are letters in a ruin alphabet. There are several runic alphabets:

  • Elder Futhark (2nd to 8th centuries)
  • Anglo-Saxon (5th to 11th centuries)
  • “Macromannic runes” (8th to 9th centuries)
  • Younger Futhark (9th to 11th centuries)
  • Medieval runes (12th to 15th centuries)
  • Dalecarlian runes (16th to 19th centuries)

In early Runic inscriptions, the direction of writing varied but later was written from left to right. The Runic alphabet has 24 letters.

Rune
Name
Letter
Fehu "fay-who"F
Uruz "ooo-rooze"U
Thurisaz "thoor-ee-saws"TH
Ansuz "awn-sooze"A
Raidho "rye-though"R
Kenaz "kane-awze"K or C
Gebo "gay-boe" or "yee-boe"G
Wunjo "woon-yo"W or V
Hagalaz "haw-gaw-laws"H
Nauthiz "now-these"N
Isa "ee-saw"I
Jera "yare-awe"J or Y
Eihwaz "eye-wawz"EI
Perthro "perth-row"P
Algiz "all-yeese" or Elhaz "ale-hawz"Z or -R
Sowilo "soe-wee-low"S
Tiwaz "tea-wawz"T
Berkano "bear-kawn-oh"B
Ehwaz "ay-wawz" or Ehwo "ay-woh"E
Mannaz "mawn-nawz"M
Laguz "law-gooze"L
Ingwaz "eeeng-wawz"NG
Dagaz "thaw-gauze"D
Othala "oath-awe-law"O