An Introduction to English Runes

An Introduction to English Runes - R.I. Page On a visit to the Jorvic Centre I spotted this in the shop there - how could I not buy it? Such an obscure subject I thought...

And I was surprised to discover how obscure. There is not much in the way of English (e.g. Anglo-Saxon) writing out there that has survived (unlike Scandinavian runes) and it vanished completely from use after the Norman conquests.

To be fair, I didn't realise that there was any form of literacy outside of the Latin church in England during Anglo-Saxon times, and indeed the evidence of the level of literacy in England is scant - there are many variations of the standard runic futhark and many occasions where runic and Latin are mixed up - Pages suggests this is because Latin lacked the letters representing old English sounds such as 'th' and 'w'.

And it is in the field of linguistics that the small and limited corpus of English runes becomes important - highlighting the way that 'Old English' is used in everyday life and maybe providing clues to a language which has not been used for a 1000 years.

This is a fairly dry, but fascinating book, though made entertaining at times by Page's 'irony'. Apparently this is necessity of being an English Runologist.