Medeltida runor och runliteracy : kulturell krock eller kompromiss?
Sammanfattning: During the 12th to the 16th century the Scandinavian region went through a cultural change, from Germanic to Latin culture. This change effected a wide variety of areas for example law, piety, clothing, religion and system of writing. It is the change in the system of writing this essay will examine i.e. the change from runes to the Latin alphabet. The medieval runic Europe (including the Nordic countries and the north Atlantic islands) has a great variety in their numbers of runic material but in total there is about 2800 of them. Most are from the Scandinavian countries Sweden and Norway. The runic alphabet and the Latin alphabet coexisted during the Nordic Middle ages but the Latin alphabet became dominant over time.The runic alphabet changed during the 11th and 12th centuries from 16 runes to 28 (as many letters as the Latin alphabet) and was in continues use during the whole time period. The question is why it survived for so long? How come the runic alphabet did not die out sooner given the introduction of the Latin alphabet and the influence from Latin countries (i.e. Western Europe)? Earlier research has largely focused on the Viking age carvings and has not problematized the change from an historical point of view or from a cultural perspective. This essays goal is to explain that change by categorizing the inscriptions according to their theme and content in order to identify runic usage as a cultural belonging, be it a passive or active choice. I will also discuss the literacy level (or to be precis the runeliteracy) of the Scandinavian countries. Who could read the runes and in what context where they used?
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