By Christopher Bishop
Master’s Thesis, University of Maryland, 2007
Abstract: This thesis seeks to illustrate that runes were considered magical even if also utilized as an alphabetic script. This argument will be achieved by first looking at scholarly arguments concerning the characters’ origins. However, though runes may be compared to other scripts, there existed a belief among the Old Norse people that the runes contained more and that even their true origins could be found in the divine. These divine connections are not without problems as they seem to fall into two categories involving male and female divinities. In addition, it will be shown that the practice of runic magic can be separated into three major categories: curse, cure/protection, and prophecy. More mundane, but equally important subjects such as memorials and inheritance will also be explored. Finally, lingering traces of runes continuing until today will be viewed to gauge lasting effects of the runes even after their primary time period.