Early rune texts

This is a list with comments to around 30 early rune texts. There is around 450 items with texts but less than 100 have understandable fragments. These few texts can give us a clue about the culture of the Erils and entire South Scandinavia

Rune text, Heruli, Eruli, Eril, farman, goldsmith, ornum, oldemor, give eye, ceorl, huskarl, bread guest, sal guest, skin merchant, gastir, hall, love magic, thane, Illerup, salus alu, Laur, ChiRo, Mithraism, Thor, Tyr, Mithras, Wodan, Lugh, Frey, Remus, Romulus, Langobards, Breza futhark

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Golden Age of Erils | Gold medallions, medals and bracts | Feudal ideas

This essay comments only the intelligible texts. On the other hand it is just a part of the patchwork quilt that pictures the Golden Age. Thirdly it naturally also pictures the upper class that in every culture is the carrier of the expensive kinds of arts and other things.

The by-product is that we can see the connection between Heruli / Eruli (in Latin texts) and Erils. It is good to have different names since the Heruli were mostly legionaries while the Erils belonged to a full society of the old Ionian type. The rune texts are mainly from the heydays in 4th and 5th century AD. But the whole book covers approximately the first 600 years AD if there is something to analyse about the society.

The legionaries get paid in gold and that have given us the golden bracts, neckrings, and some jewellery that is like a showcase of the entire culture. However it is naturally the upper class that can afford the luxurious things. We cannot draw conclusion about how the major part the farmers were involved. We know from some graveyards that the rich were buried at the same place as ordinary people.

Normally early scripts were carried by the upper class … if I remember it right it took a while before I could read and write … and what use would the script be for a farmer that could use symbols and icons if he needed to keep something in memory. Half of the texts are on golden items and then we know that the writer was skilled. From later times we know that the nobility used to have some skilled handicrafters around. The word "duke" seems to originally have meant "men in the court" with different skills.

In my texts I use the word "Heruli" since it is the use today. For the Skandinavian part I use "Eril" that sounds Danish and Denmark was the centre those days. In Icelandic of today "Eril" means "tiresome peddler" and that is the view former rural people surely thought of. On Gotland they used the word "farman". From later periods we know the "birkarl" in Finland and Northern Scandinavia that came to the people and demanded for food and night room. They even got the right to collect taxes.

Many of the rune texts are difficult and the interpreters have mixed opinions. I follow normally the easiest and most frequent solution, but add my own view up to what I have learnt in my studies. When looking at ancient times we seldom get a clear-cut explanation. But when we lay puzzle and get many facts we can see some pattern. But it is obvious that we can not use later times such as the Edda literature as general frames. Only in some clear details we can use the late texts. We should look for more earthy idols and archetypes.

Texts concerning "Eril/ Iril"

Brattsberg, Gjerpen, Telemark on fibula … ek erilaR

By, Sigdal, Buskerud on piece of rock … I erilaR. Hror Hrorsson made this rock

Rosseland, Hardanger, Hordaland on little stone ... I WagigaR, Agilamundo's eril

Veblungsnes Romsdal on rock that fell into sea in 1935 … I erilaR Wivila

Kragehul, Fyn spear shaft …I Asgil's eril called Muha ga ga ga gagaga ….

Eskatorp, Fjaeraas, Halland on 16 grams golden bract … Made wilald WigaR I erilaR

Väsby, Skåne the same

Lindholm, Skaane amulet …I erilaR called Sawilagar aaaaaaaarrrnnnbmutt :alu

Etelhem, Gotland on fibula … I erilaR wrote

Jaersberg, Kristinehamn runestone … Ljuv I, Ravn I, I erilaR wrote the runes

For readability I have made the texts "flowing" but following the original tightly. Besides this there are 6 cases in Skaane and at Gotland with the text EELIL, but it is too far to be sure did they mean "eril". Some people have difficulties with R an L so better not be too certain. These texts give us the impression of a special class belonging to a group. In two cases subordinated or employee.

On the stone from Kristinehamn the names are probably the payer and the doer. It is quite normal in later rune stones with specialised rune masters. When it comes to golden pieces it is obvious that only specialised goldsmiths could make it. At Eskatorp the goldsmith WigaR making a "wilald" where WIL maybe means "rest or stable stage" and ALD is timespace or "alder".

From these texts we see that the Erils were a special class including thanes, riders, writers, skilled in handicraft and maybe we can find more skills. We have got frames we can connect to the word "Eril" because they are mentioned in a text. Some of the texts express only that they are proud of the fact that they can write. Those days it would also mean increase in reputation … I think I remember that from my early days of writing "I exist". Erilar Wivila could be glad that the rock was stable when he stood there writing his name.

The Rosseland stone is from 5th century and it is addressed to a woman and owner of the farm. The characteristic from the fjord landscape of Norway is that there could have been a big farm as centre and leading the connection to the outer world. For instance furnishing bigger boats for travel and trade. In Beowulf we can read about the hero bringing home "the Pearl" to the Lady of House and then she gave him some gift as pay. Very many of the golden bracts are found in pair in female graves.

I know from medieval times that 10 percent of the farms were in the hands of women for different reasons. In older times maybe it also was a matter of ritual since we find big female neckrings in some folklands. At Jutland there was the principle of "ornum" with the leading Lady in charge for the house and farming. From Denmark we have the concept "oldemor" that means and old lady was in charge for the domestic administration. Folklore tell about the "House Mother" that let the small animals out between here legs in spring as if she gave birth to them into "another world"

When I read our oldest province law and the inheritance code in the earliest version for some reason I got the impression that inheritance of land were practised on the female line. Inheritance code seems to be fairly new since earlier the estate surely was owned by the family clan with no distribution form generation to generation. The trade and war was a matter for the male. However there are naturally exceptions. For instance they have found some woman warrior buried at Rhine.

Two golden bracts with a different style than normal carries the only samples with "Eril". There is only the Sun Horse Pegasus, a flag marking spring equinox maybe and a few dots. In other aspects it is like other bracts. The making of the horse is the same "pressure from behind" style as for instance bracts from Dal. We recognise similarity in the ears, tongue and legs etc. To be a skilled goldsmith it takes maybe ten years and most of the bracts are very skilled work.

Most of us have forgotten how difficult it could be to learn reading and writing … at least if it should be perfect. Why do all teachers demand for perfection? Some of the texts could be because they were beginners. The space is little on a bract with diameter 1 - 2 inch. Their teachers the Romans used many shortenings and surely they made trials in that too.

I have found only one clear texts with "give eye" meaning some magic. We cannot use this as rule for the attitude of these goldsmiths and their buyers. Another thing is that "in love and war" all tricks are allowed and even in our days young people make magic … at least they did in my real heydays … sometimes it works … other times not. We can find a collection of texts that have to do with this and mainly on fibulas and buckles. Still this should be compared to around 500 slightly different motifs.

The early Anglo-Saxon laws are surely heritage from Scandinavia. There are rich graves in Kent showing that the upper class was among the first to move to England and there are some finds of golden bracts too. We get their World Order that were the four classes of freemen / nobility in a natural hierarchy. The demand for a leader rise with size of community and if the land is big there need to be a vice or counsel around the king and thanes/ ritual leaders in suitable sized counties.

But these are small classes compared with the ceorl / merchant / soldier / handicrafter / huskarl. In normal peace the demand for soldiers is little. We know little about the staff and the providers of food that surely has been tenants since that was the easiest organisation to manage. The higher class owned at least five hides / farms and we can compare it with medieval society with the feudal class owning hides by the same principle.

Ordinary people were as we say in Sweden their own law-room. It was the class of free peasants but also divided in four classes and little known because they lived in their own small settlement within the by-law. That means the organisation of the village and the ritual year.

From a few texts we get the impression of the lower class freemen as "bread guests" as the ambulating specialist and the "huskarl" as ordinary specialist at a bigger noble estate. Other guests could have been friendly hostage or hostage by agreement. We also know about education by sending the youngster as a "guest" to some nobleman.

I have made some statistics about finds, but as I see it the choice is not representative and it is too small. Scandinavia is big with differences in environment, population and cultural conditions. The main area in Denmark and Skaane has given too few facts since only 16 % are grave finds and only a minor part is excavated with modern methods. The period with fast growing population in 19th century took most of the artefacts and monuments. Then we can only take some examples and try to give a reasonable explanation.

Another category of texts have to be understood as concerning Erils by class and profession and we get another dimension to the texts.

Texts that implies Erils by the meaning

Gallehus, South Jutland on golden horn … I bread guest from Holte made the horn 

Tjurkau, Blekinge on golden bract … Made runes on the Walha (Welsh?) corn Heldar for Kunimund

Berga, Saudermanland on rune stone … End of the Sal guest

Askrova, Førdefjord, Sogn og Fjordane rune stone on woman's grave … Guest from the forest

Nydamboat, Sundeved, South Jutland on axe shaft … Wagagastir

Kaarstad, Sogn og Fjordane on rock … I am from other marks … BaijiR

Skaerkind, East Gautland on rune stone … Skin merchant

Tune stone, 5th century A-side … I Viv after Vodurid companion made runes

Zealand II on golden bract …Hariuha is my name knowing dangers --- - give eye

Huglo i Stord, Hordaland 3 meters long stone … I thane UngandiR on Huglo

Tørvika i Kvam i Hardanger, Hordaland on rock in tomb … U … land protector

Valsfjord i Bjugn, Sør-Trøndelag on rock wall …Hagustaldr (erilar) Godag's servant (thewar)

Illerup bog the finds on Museum Moesgaard … laguthewa (part of text)


Maybe we should begin with the golden horns that in original weighed ca 3,5 kilos each and the length ca 30 inches. Present horns are only copies since the original was stolen, so we cannot be sure that they looked as the copies. Anyhow they are masterpieces and tell us about two societies with differences and similarities.

I have not found any big ritual neckring from Jutland and Anglia but these two horns together represent maybe the same thing and they equals 5 - 7 normal neckrings. We know from West Gautland how there could be different rituals since they have found one, two, three neckring or a female ring per folkland. From Anglia and North Germany we know about "the ritual leader with the cornucopia" as symbol. Since they found two horns it could symbolise brotherhood as well as treaty. I could also be a sealed treaty since the horns were in hide in soil and could them come to use again.

The collection of motifs is a little different on the two and the horn with the text is slightly more noble and the other. Not much from the Edda literature there except the motif with Tyr and the Fenris Wolf we also see on golden bracts. The significant detail is "a hand in the gap or a lost hand". Originally the symbolism is about Ramadan and synchronising the sun and moon year. We should also remember that it was the time of harvest so many events were included in the symbolism.

Anyhow we get a little information about the goldsmith and rune master. He tells that he is "bread guest" and it means he was hired for the job. Then we can look for the place Holte and we do not find it in South Jutland and southward. There has been the estate Holte in Strand Rogaland Norway and in a grave they found 3 golden bracts, 7 gold bars, 1 ring of raw gold, 1 small gold pearl plus 8 weights of lead for weighing gold perhaps.

However there is Holte north of Copenhagen that could have been an important place. The idea "holt and lund" was an old Celtic place for ritual celebrating Cernunnos, the horned and maybe also Frey. Originally that was the asterism Perseus that was stars of spring around 1900 BC, but the concept lived as tradition after that until Christian times. This is also known from some place names in England.

The word "gastir" occurs in several texts but it is not known as proper name at the time. That is why we could se it as the describing terms about ambulating specialists. Then HLEWA = bread tells that he was a guest.

The bract from Tjurkau was also made by someone from another place. The word "Walha" they have taught much about and suggest "Wales". Probably they traded with Wales at least for tin since Bronze Age. They think there has also been a "gold trade" from Ireland via Wales across England to Norfolk. Then we have only to continue over the North Seas. The Romans ended that trade but surely the word lived long after that.

We can expect that kings, earls and thanes build their own hall = sal in Germanic languages. We have for instance "Upsal" on the Sparlausa rune stone but also as place name. In this case we do not know his speciality but the chieftain could have lawman, runemaster, merchant, rider, guest/ hostage and maybe something else we do not know of.

The guest from the forest suggests that she was a bride from another country. In this case Baijir would be Bavaria maybe since we know about the brotherhood between Scandinavians and Batavians and other people at the Rhine. The word "mark" meant borderland as for instance Mercia and land of the Marcomanni = Bohemia.

The text from the Nydam ship they interpret "waga = flame". Then it would be the guest at the fire in the hall. In this connection I come to think of the old word "gast" for the crew on sail ship.

Skin trader was surely a suitable name for those farmen and traders travelling around and buying all kinds of skin. They could sell to the Romans at Rhine and even in Rome. Rare skin like marten would not weigh much and a cargo could make a fortune in Rome.

Texts with a companion we have also from Viking Age. For instance there are two similar texts and stones at North Jutland and In West Gautland telling about "trading fellows". It would be convenient to have the fellow in another place so that you could be the guest for free. To live on "buying foot" was very expensive until our days … I would not stay for long at hotel today since in such case someone else should pay the bill. Another thing when they were travelling with expensive cargo it would be good to be more than one ship on tour for many reasons.

Hariuha add some love magic I suppose. I think it is a funny image and the rider seems to sit with "full hand". From my younger days I remember that especially the girls made trials … sometimes wit success … other times not. This is the only clear "magic" text I have found in 450 motifs. Another thing is that I think all professions using fire have been mystic in all times. They also needed to keep people far from the fire and hot things only the skilled could manage. Many texts from the Rhineland are on fibulas to a lass.

In the big area with this culture there was differences in language and we can not clearly date the word for local leader. In the rune texts we have gode, thegn and thane in the laws and rune texts. But we have also old words like vising and nesking. Land protector could be understood as hired man in charge instead of the "big man", but also a bailiff for a county.

Since all people lived rural life and in collective household there were no need for servants at normal farms. Young people could not get another job and profession but had always their place in the collective household. The nobility could afford servants or specialist visiting at least for a time. Hagustald is a known proper name and he was maybe a ceorl and Eril employed for a longer time. Later on Scandinavian rune stones they were called "huskarl"

The bog at Illerup Jutland has left around 15000 finds from the Roman Age. They suppose the biggest deposit was made ca 205 AD after a big battle. They think 1000 men at 50 ships were fighting the Jutes and have then left all kind of remains in armour and martial artefacts. In this bog they have thrown many other thing during several hundred years and it is the same in other bogs. But we can not draw to many conclusions from a few bogs that could be exceptions.

We have a few big bogs such as Vimose Fyn, The Kaeringlake Skaane, Skedemosse Auland an Hjortspring South Jutland an they have all be used during a long time as "final deposition". I do not think we should put too many magical and cultic qualities into this. They were forced too have a place for eternal depositing and the place was the bog … my commune has used 10 hectares the past 50 years and they have not given the best land to that purpose.

The finds are so many that it can give a good picture of not only martial things but also the Roman import and life at the time. The museum at Moesgård is specialist on these finds and Jorgen Illkjer has written a book that mirrors the finds. There are not many rune finds with intelligible texts. Since they are difficult to interpret they give a lot of bias to discussion but not to clear-cut conclusions.

The text "laguthewa" maybe means "servant on/ of the sea"


Roman medal Trunderup, Fyn Constans II 337 - 361 AD. The texts are very shortened and influenced maybe the use of runes on the bracts.

Personifications, idols and gods

Aarstad, Rogaland on rune stone … ALU

Lellinge, Praestau Zealand on bract … SALUS ALU

Broholm, Fyn two bracts with a head …DOMINUS NOSTER CONSTANS PIUS FELIX AUGUSTUS shortened to TANS P F AUG

Pietroasa, Romania on neckring … God Iovi hailag (sanctified)

Skrydstrup, Jutland on bract …Laukar alu

Skaane on bract … Lathu Laukar Gakar alu

Odense Fyn on bract … Laur (swastika) OWA RLUT EATHL

Fuglset, Maure Romsdal on little stone … tor ? wite ?

Ribe, Denmark on skull bone …Ulfur, Oden, Hydyr helped rod against Awerki and Tverkun Egbor

Arguel, France on silica stone "arbitag ? wodan ? lugohha› ? zej ? kim ?"

Nordendorf fibula from Nidersachsen "loga ? ore ? wodan ? wigi donar ? awa leub wini

Kaerlich Rheineland-Pfalz on fibula "wodani ? hailag ?"

For pictures see Laukar, Time and Flow

The simple text ALU occurs on 14 inscriptions I know of and it is the most frequent of the small texts. One of them is sole text on rune stone. It is surely derived from "alere" in Latin that means beginning. This and several other texts should be seen as imperative. The same counts for the word LATHU = load used in the same kind of short expressions. There are 9 of them.

In Latin SALUS is used as imperative for wishing good health. So SALUS ALU is the wish "Begin good times / begin Health" as for instance at Lellinge. It was personified as a person feeding a serpent. Observe that the Celtic word order is opposite to our normal writing. The serpents of Scandinavia were not unique because we see many of them in Roman symbolism.

But from the rock-carvings we can see that Scandinavians used them in symbolism long before the Romans we know of. Maybe we could find more personifications of Roman origin as for instance ANNONA is seen somewhere and that was the personification of "harvest". However it is very difficult to solve shortened texts.

One of two samples of "brother bract" from Broholm Fyn. Left text is not intelligible and the right is the shortened text above. The tri-feet above symbolises the running moon year

The two similar bracts are "made at Fyn" using elements from Roman symbolism. The brothers should perhaps be Constans II 337 - 361 AD and his brother Constans I. The third brother Constantine II died in 340 AD and then we can date this to 340 - 350 AD. In the neighbourhood we have the finds from Trunderup … se picture above and another of the same kind from Allesau. The left text is near Roman capitals, but even in Rome we find that kind of symbolic capitals on some coins. On the bract we see in some cases mix of Roman Capitals and runes.

These medals and bracts give us the direct connection between the Herulian mercenaries and the Erils at home. Since we have these finds spread over southern Scandinavia the Heruli was also recruited from that area. We do not know when it started but we know the heydays from the finds.

At Brangstrup, Fyn there is a find with 48 golden coins from every emperor from Aurelianus 270 - 275 AD to Constans II 361 AD. Mostly there is 2 - 3 from every emperor but from Constantine I there are 13 solidus. To the Constantine finds we can add the medal from Veien, Buskerud Norway. That tells us that the Heruli were not concentrated to Denmark only at that time. From Valentinian I 364 - 375 AD there are medal finds from Faxe, Zealand and Lista, Vest Agder, Norway. In between we have the copies and bracts with name of the Constantine brothers …se the history of Heruli for the whole age.

We should note that we do not see one labarum or ChiRo = PX in the standard. Constantine I introduced that as compromise between Mithraism and Christianity ... see Mithras. On the shield was a big PX but in the cross point there was the sun. The officer used "golden helmet" with PX in silver cloride - amalgamate on the crest. In sunlight it was like a beam lightening from the leaders of the Sun Cesar's army … no wonder that they created the bract with the Sunrider.

The emperor got his might from Deus Sol Invictus = The unbeatable Sun. However we do not know if they meant the same ecological view as we have today that the Sun drive it all on the earth. I would say the Scandinavian bracts are ecological. But we have to consider that Jupiter / Iovi was the imperial god and the emperor sitting in the chair of Jupiter on earth like Augustus in his propaganda. On the golden medal from Aarhus (Valens) and Odense (Constantius II) on the reverse Jupiter sits naked in a chair with the Eagle at foot.

With these facts we understand better the neckring from Pietroasa Romania with the text "Consecrated to Iovi". Probably was the ring and golden bowls owned by some assembly of officers celebrating rituals to Mithras. We can only guess that they hide them around 378 AD when the Huns arrived to the Roman Empire.

We can also interpret the Nordic LAUR / LAUKAR and 9 occurrences and some synonyms. The name could be seen as "flow" understood as the sun-flow and the person with a long leg pictures that is the Sun go to Underworld when warming the soil … the Egyptians told that the dung-beetle rolls the sun. Since the Erils disappeared in 6th century it is only natural that there could have been other names on the archetypes and ideas. As we say "new brushes, give new names."… Note about onion, beer and Laurday below

We have the name in our name for Saturday that spelled in the old fashion would be LAUR, i.e. short script for Laukar ... see the bract from Odense. We would spell it "Laurdag" in the old fashion. We have a few place names with root Laur-. Constantine I established the weekday names in his reign. Then we can understand that even the upper class in Scandinavia introduced that practise. Then the occurrence of the gods Thor and Odin / Wedne is the only evidence we have for Erils knowing these gods in Scandinavia. Surely the use have started in Rhineland.

"Lathu Laukar Gakar alu" could be translated "Load Laukar … "Go Time/ Sun". Folks used their own synonyms and often with the root "GA = Go". The bract from Odense has the swastika separating the summer seasons while they usually saw the winter half as a long waiting with no special program for the time.

The composition corresponds to the style in South Jutland to Elbe. From Nebenstedt there is a similar text but also a bract with a going man and the texts "Beam-Eyed sanctify the runes". Bracts and texts like these make me think of Time, Sun and Flow as the main idols and archetypes. To these came the New Moon goddess or the Full Moon old man with cornucopia giving the flow of water.

The text from Fuglset, Møre Romsdal is clear as "Thor knows" and it is the only of the kind I found late in my writing. In England Thor is present only in the Saxon provinces.

As we see from the few texts with Edda gods we have to go to the mentioned area from Ribe and down to Rhineland and France to get evidence. There is nothing of the kind in the rest of Scandinavia. That maybe indicates that these gods "wandered north" with later cultural influence … see also Anglo-Saxon place names

In the bracts we can only identify Tyr for sure from the detail when he loose his hand or put in the gap of the Fenris-Wolf. The Balder motifs are only in second hand much like the myth we know. But that is made more like a fairy tale with not much in common with agriculture.

The text from Arguel France we can only partly interpret. The first word "arbitag = inheritance" rises questions but gives no answer. Wodan is clear and Lugh was one of the great gods among the Celts with some in Scandinavia and it could be Loke. In Celtic time they called him Lugh Longarm and they tell he was the "inventor" as for instance the javelin. Since that is a very old invention he must be very old.

The last two words are difficult. "Kim" in Danish is the same as "Frau"/germ but it also means "frog". For "Zej" I have no suggestion … yet. The inscription could have been made by a trader, but we know also that the Heruli and many other tribes flied to France for the Huns.

The Nordendorf text should protect the love of Awa and Finn. The god names sound very Scandinavian and Vige-Tor was the consecrator and maybe the same we see marrying in Bronze Age at the Vitlycke rock.

These two and the one on with swastika probably invoke the "four gods of Age" from the little known four-headed-quartet that represent four corners of time circle/ square known as Vishnu and Danish Elle = Age … sometimes symbolised with the swastika or just a cross or crossed circle.. It is quite the same as Triglav for the moon-year.

Wodan protects the Kaerlich fibula and we understand the girl that got this protection. Every time a person shows his good will to another it is a kind of protection no matter which words are used.

See also Erils the history for more about the connection Heruli and Erils.

Other inscriptions

Undley, Suffolk, England on bract with Remus & Romulus under Roman Lupus and perhaps the helmeted head of Constantine I above that. Origin surely a coin from Arles France or Trier Germany … see Arles. Text in runes

"Howl with the Lupus boys, that pays"

Strøm on Hitra, S.Trøndelag and grindstone

Line A: wate hali hino horna
LineB: haha skaþi haþu ligi

Wet rock may horn

Schyte may cut, hay lay

The horn is maybe the moon that symbolises rain and fertility

Setre, Bømlo, Sør-Hordaland on comb

A: hal mar mauna

B: alu na alu nana "

Hail maiden of maids

Protect you under, protect you Nanna

Nanna is maybe the Moon goddess and I think of a later text "handiest maid in Hadeland"

There are a lot of texts with wish for protection for the girl. On the Charney fibula there are the two runes KR and that is a shortening of "grip!" … those small and secret words that together with the gift maybe can grip even a flying maiden

Statistics bracts and runes

Around 1000 medals and golden bracts in finds from entire Europe

445 different motifs

200 sun riders 45 % of them 16 motifs with eagle helmet

145 snake pit 32, 5 %

40 sun king head 9 %

40 1- 3 "mythic persons" 9 %

20 medals 7 imported 4,5 %

389 localities Mackeprang 1952 … some new have been added

Last find 2001 at Bornholm 5 golden bracts and 6 solidus in a necklace

16 % finds in graves

42 % hoard finds

42 % undefined finds mostly after the plough



3 ritual necklaces

ca 25 neck-rings of ritual type (not snake neckrings)

Heaviest neck-ring ca 2 kilos Peterfitz, Polen

ca 450 early rune texts and half of them on golden bracts

79% of the texts in Germany are on "gifts for a woman" mainly on fibulas. That suggests that they maybe were given to a woman by traders or mercenaries.42 % are from Baden-Württemberg, 22 % from Bayern and 22 % from Niedersachsen - Schleswig 22 %. Maybe we should mention the area with the cruciform fibula in Bonn - Koblenz. Traders stayed for long near their market.

The early futhark (alphabet) from Vadstena, Kylver, Grumpan in Sweden but also from Breza, Bosnien and Charnay, Frankrike. Uncounted fragments from … Aquincum, Ungarn … Lindkaer Jutland and Beuchte Niedersachsen.

Early rune finds outside Scandinavia

Belgium 3, Bosnia 1, France 4, Netherlands 2, Poland 5, Romania 2, Ukraine 1, Switzerland 2, Bohemia 2, Germany 96, Hungary 7, Austria 1 and around 30 in England

Total ca 156

Source Kiel project

Plaster cast of the futhark from the Breza church

The Heruli became brothers of the Langobards through the marriage of king Rodulf's daughter with king Vaco and their son became king Valtari 540 - 547 AD.

Here we can quote a few lines from an article by Dr. T. Looijenga "Who wrote the Breza futhark, and why?"

"The Langobards therefore seem to have lived in the Breza region from around 535 until 567 AD, some thirty years. One of these is, I think, the most likely candidate to have cut this futhark in the column."

Maybe we should rather say that some in the Herulian suite wrote it on the half-pillar in the Church of Breza that Emperor Justinian build at this time. There is also a pillar with Latin alphabet and it seems to have been custom. The pillar fragment is less than two feet high and the text is 1 - 2 inches high in freehand. Again we get an opportunity to connect the runes to the Heruli.

Note on onion, beer and Laurday

I am aware that early interpreters fastened for some solution I can not support. There is ALU, = beer and LAUKAR = onion and why not LAUR in Nordic Laurday = Saturday. They have repeated their explanation from generation to generation without questioning in which contexts the texts occur.

Here we must remember that in Roman time Saturnus was the god of agriculture. That fits the symbolism of the idol we see on the golden bracts with signs of agriculture. Constantine I established present seven weekdays' names in beginning of 4th century. Then we have two possibilities for momentary use among Heruli in the empire and Erils in Scandinavia.

  1. That the Heruli copied that and brought it to Scandinavia. Such things must have been a matter mainly for the upper trading class.
  2. The other possibility is that the Eril traders at Rhine learnt it there and began to use it. That seems feasible since we have LAUR for Saturday and that name we see on golden bracts. On the other hand the Edda gods were not in use on the golden bracts in Scandinavia, but there are finds from Rhine and France.
  3. Note also name form "god name + KAR" = Laukar occurs later as Odinkar in 10th century

This is then the only evidence for that early use of Edda gods and then inspired by the contacts at Rhine. Since we have Thor in place names only in Saxon areas we can also deduce that the Saxons brought the weekday names to England.

From the golden bracts we see that LAUR symbolised the season or in the Animal Round the time from Gemini to Sagittarius. It was not exactly like the ancient or Roman system since the Erils seem to have corrected one month in their calendar due to precession. Anyhow we see that their World Order was made for farming. Then we also understand the four day names Frey, fertility; Laur, time and flow; Sun, the warmth and the Moon for rain.

Ti/ Tyr was the old Bull god or asterism Oxen and maybe god for herds and cowboys. The Romans set up stelae for Nordic Mercurius and at that time it was named Wotan /Ons/ Wedne in Rhineland by Saxons and maybe also the Erils. He was then the traders' idol. Thor / Thurs are very old and sounds alike in this form. In Germany they use Donner = Lightening while Thor in Scandinavia was the sanctifier in agreement.

Thurs was the tri-headed idol for the moon year of which there are some busts too. It was simply an icon for the World Order based on the calendar. I have only seen one four headed image and that was the World Order based on the sun year. In practise they used bot since they aligned the moon and the appropriate asterism on the ecliptic. In Rome it was Jupiter's day and he was the highest idol and the patriarchal World Order. Then it would be natural that the Erils used their highest god in that place.

All god names are confusing when they stand for rational concepts as for instance in Egypt the Falcon / Horus should be written, "time". The scribe god Toth was also the "moon" that counted time. Like in our rock-carvings his time was only the season. Other cultures made it easy by just giving the weekday names numbers and still other mixed use.

Above I analyse it as it is with no attention to objections. Another way to analyse is to see in which connection it occurs and we have the wish LAUKAR ALU but also LAUKAR LATHU where LATHU is much easier since it for sure means "load" or some synonym. Then these two meanings should be equal. Observe they use Celtic world order we would put the words the other way round.

Furthermore we have to consider the whole context of golden bracts. Obviously the goldsmiths copied roman medals and coins in the beginning. They also copied the text and the idea of texts sometimes. In Rome the bust picture at the averse normally copy the emperor and the reverse has often some god.

As we see on the Constans copies they also copy the emperors name. I think it would be natural that if there is text on bracts it is the name of the idol in the picture. That counts also for the LAUKAR bract. Another category is that the maker of the bract wrote his name, but then there is normally a word "fahi or tavido" telling that. Naturally we should look in every separate case for the use of text

I see it as simple folk etymology when they translate it "laukar alu" as "onion beer". I have gone through all 450 motifs and around 60 small symbols and not a single onion or beer. On the other hand the short text occurs together with a male figure and it would be natural that it comments that as it is on Roman coins.

Laur is short form of Laukar … we know that Danes swallow half of the word -J and there is the Odense text as sample and some place name too. It would be odd if in other languages they have star/ idol names on all weekdays. They invented them during the heydays of Heruli/ Erils. But the Swedes suppose there should be a "wash day" at Saturday. The original land of Erils = Denmark does not know about that.

As my teacher in mathematics said, "Check if you have got a reasonable answer before you leave the question". We have to look critically at the deeds of our forerunners. They were no always right and they have not all the knowledge we have.