Runes and runestones

Far from being illiterate thugs the Vikings had their own writing system, the runes. Given to men by Odin the runes could be used for simple messages or magical incantations. We see the runes most often on runestones, huge stone memorials to fallen warriors or events. Hundreds of runestones still stand in Scandinavia, placed by relatives or comrades to memorialise fathers, brothers, sons and friends.

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