Eilthireach wrote:Yet even stout scientists who use to back away from anything esoteric agree that the Runes were used in magic. Were they? The findings seem to support that the Runes were an alphabet - sometimes used in an esoteric context, but not exclusively.
Or could it be that the magical texts mostly disappeared because they were written on non-durable materials? And the names people etched into their swords and helmets remained?
At the moment I am a bit at loss. I personally have no doubt that the Runes were used in a religious/spiritual context, the Eddic texts are giving more than enough references. But why is there so little archaeological evidence of this?
Any ideas, anyone?
Good question indeed.
Apart from the fact that the material used was non-durable, it could also be because those who magically worked with the runes did not want to write about them, maybe because tradition was orally transmitted. It is also likely that few people were literate in runes.
Also, runes were meant to be carved and not written, so they were carved on rock and were meant for short inscriptions and these inscriptions (on runestones) are oftenly described as "self-promotion of one or a family" and not transmission of knowledge.
Superstition also comes in the way, in Belgium for instance, anything sharp (like scissors or stakes) could only be used (it's still the case in some places) by those who were skilled and trained, therefore, runes could only be carved by a few persons.
The only surviving written accounts were not recorded until the Christian era, between the 9th and 12th century. They are known as the Rune Poems (one in icelandic, one in norvegian and one in anglo-saxon). None of them are about the Elder Futhark, which is supposed to be the only Futhark that was used as a magical tool.
But true, runes on weapons is a very common example of their magical use. Some scholars also believe that runes were integrated into architecture, like this : http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wulfric/v ... /runes.jpg .