Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Real Story Of The Gandersheim Rune Casket

If you ever go to Braunschweig Germany (and you should, it’s a good base for the Harz and Quedlinburg), make sure to take in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. For me the most interesting exhibit is the so-called Gandersheim Rune Casket, an exquisite early mediaeval carved box of bone and brass. In 1999, a Symposium […]

Deciphering the Gandersheim Rune-Casket

Some weeks ago, I posted an article criticising the failure of runologists to read the incision on the base of the Gandersheim Rune-Casket. You can read my original post  here. This time I wish to show how a modified version of distinguished etymologist Prof. Elmar Seebold’s reading provides a satisfactory decipherment of the script. The […]

Weapons For Wordsmiths

Smiths were an important part of medieval society. Wayland the Smith was a significant legendary character, although most of the stories about him have been lost. In the list of skills and occupations in the poem The Gifts of Men we find a smith at ll. 61-66: Sum mæg wæpenþræce,      wige to nytte, modcræftig smið      […]

Muspilli and The Wanderer – Where Have All The Horses Gone?

Any doubts about the antiquity of at least parts of the Elegies from the Exeter Book can be settled by a comparison of a phrase in The Wanderer with a phrase in the Old High German poem Muspilli. The Wanderer, l. 92 Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago?      Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa? mearg is here translated […]

Riddle 60 – The Medium Is The Message

The 95 riddles in the Exeter Book are not for the faint hearted and this humble scribe normally safeguards his mental health by staying well clear of them. But a possible connection with The Husband’s Message has forced my hand on this occasion. See my post on The Husband’s Message here.) Riddle 60, which is […]

The Hidden Ingeld – Pt II

Read Part I here if you have not already done so. The story of Ingeld and Freawaru From Beowulf, we know: —Ingeld married  Freawaru, who was a daughter of Hroðgar. —Ingeld was a Heaðobard, son of Froda  who was killed by the Danes, when a Wiðergyld is killed on the battlefield. —An old warrior provokes […]

The Hidden Ingeld – Pt I

In 797, Alcuin of York, an English religious consellor to the pious Franks, famously wrote to the Bishop of Lindisfarne, about the use of secular verse and music in the cloisters: Verba Dei legantur in sacerdotali convivio. Ibi decet lectorem audiri, non citharistam; sermones patrum, non carmina gentilium. Quid Hinieldus cum Christo? “The words of […]