The thirteenth-century runic revival in Denmark and Iceland

Tarrin Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While in the High Middle Ages runic literacy appears to have been very much alive in urban centres such as Bergen, interest in runes appears to have been of a different nature in learned circles and in other parts of the Scandinavian world which had adopted widespread textual production the Latin alphabet. This paper examines a number of runic phenomenon from the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries in Denmark and Iceland to argue that they belong to a cultural revival movement rather than forming part of a continuous runic tradition stretching back into the early Middle Ages. Some of these runic texts show some connection with the Danish royal court, and should rather be seen as forming part of the changes in literary culture emanating from continental Europe from the late twelfth century and onwards: they all show a combined interest in Latin learning and vernacular literary forms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-129
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Early online date26 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


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