An Introduction To English Runes * Raymond Ian Page (1973/1999)

Raymond Page is a famous rune-scholar from the UK. He wrote several books on the subject and lectured at Cambridge University. This book was first published in 1973, but heavily updated in 1999. The second edition had a reprint in 2006. I bought this book for two reasons. First I want to read more about non-Scandinavian heathenry and second I need to read more about runes. In about 250 pages Page speaks about each and every item with runes on it, found in the UK. He divides runes on stones, coins, in manuscripts and elsewhere. The entire book Page keeps stressing that almost any finding is hard to impossible to interpret. The reasons for this is that the findings have runes in many different futharks, either or not mixed and either or not mixed with other, usually Roman, letters. It seems that many rune-carvers either carved symbols that they did not know, or they were very sloppy in their execution. Then of course there is the problem of the state of the findings. Often the runes are (largely) extremely hard to read. Last but not least, there is the point that even when the runes are readable, they appear to mean nothing. With all that in mind, countless of rune-combinations are mentioned and either or not interpreted. During the course of the book you will read a lot about both English and non-English runes. Page shows himself as a very critical, but realistic and not too closely-minded scholar. Still, the book is quite dry and if it were not for the many image and examples too dry. But indeed, if you want to read something serious about the runes, without all kind of come-up-with information, mystical interpretations, etc., this is one that you have to get.
1973/1999 Boydell Press, isbn 0851157688

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