De Vikingen Achterna * Johan Nowé (2009)

I saw the author speaking a while ago and decided to get another book about the runes. “Following the Vikings” is not a book giving all kinds of interpretations of rune-signs, but more a purely historical book like that of R.I. Page that I recently reviewed. Nowé uses runestones to get firsthand information about the history of the writers of runes. He gives a history of the runes and their authors and when there is a stone available of shedding light on a part of that history, it is portrayed and translated. Nowé even explains how to translate the texts, giving a word-list, explaining grammar, etc. This way you will get a history of mostly the Vikings (but the runes are both older and more recent than the Vikings) that may be known for the larger part, but since runestones were raised mostly for personal reasons, such as commemorating a dead, telling people whose land the stone is on, etc. you will get quite intimate stories and not so much the larger information. In doing this, Nowé manages to give an overview of the development of the runes and the way the stones look (art historical). The approach is both original and refeshing, besides, I do not think I ever saw a book that actually explains the language of the runes itself. However Nowé shows and explains a large number of stones, also less easy ones such as the Rök stones (including an explanation of the cipher runes), I do have the feeling that the author picked only the stones that contribute to his story. I have not really looked into this, but this probably means that stones without historical information (which might (or might not) be more interesting) are not spoken about. Overall a very nice book about the runes. Currently only available in Dutch. I do not know if there are plans for a translation.
2009 Davidsfonds, isbn 9058265919

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