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Runes in Action – Two South Germanic Inscriptions and the Notion of a “Literate” Epigraphic Culture

Journal article
Authors Michelle Waldispühl
Published in Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies
Volume 5
Pages 65–90
ISSN 1892-0950
Publication year 2014
Published at
Pages 65–90
Language en
Links https://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/ge...
Keywords Continental runic inscriptions, South Germanic runic inscriptions, Steindorf sax, Bülach disc brooch, epigraphy, context, literate culture, nonlexical inscriptions, script imitation
Subject categories German language, Germanic languages, Languages and Literature, History and Archaeology

Abstract

This article investigates two well-known South Germanic inscriptions, the iron sax from Steindorf and the silver disc brooch from Bülach. Detailed epigraphic analysis reveals such great uncertainties in readings for each of these that the previous interpretations of both must be re-evaluated. A subsequent contextual analysis of the function of the epigraphy considers technical features of writing and of layout and composition, as well as the material properties and function of each of the objects. Employing a broader approach to literacy which examines not only the writing itself but also the situational communicative setting, the author interprets the inscribed objects as a means of performance in various conceivable situations. The main conclusion is that greater attention should be given to the visual characteristics of runic writing.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
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