Study of Runes

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 5SV084

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Swedish G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Languages, 18 January 2007
Responsible department
Department of Scandinavian Languages

General provisions

This course is an elective.

Entry requirements

En B (specific entry requirements 2). Requirements have been lowered in relation to the original specific entry requirements.

Learning outcomes

The objective of this course is to give the students basic knowledge of runes and runic inscriptions during the whole of the period (from around 100 AD to around 1800) the runes have been used as a living means of writing.

Upon completing the course students will be able to

  • reproduce and transliterate the three futharks from the earliest time, the Viking Age and the Middle Ages
  • describe what characterises runic inscriptions from different periods
  • read, transliterate and translate the runic texts that are part of the course material as well as other, elementary Runic Swedish inscriptions, and comment on them from a linguistic, historical and content point of view
  • identify and understand the very most frequent Runic Swedish words and inflections
  • describe the regional and chronological distribution of the runic inscriptions
  • describe basic concepts and terms in the field of runic research
  • in a pedagogical manner present a rune stone inscription in the field
  • independently use runic dictionaries and runic databases


The runes are studied as a system of writing and the runic inscriptions as a testimony of the conditions of the society of that time. The course will also give a basic orientation of the language used in the runic inscriptions, focusing on the understanding of the content of the inscriptions and with emphasis placed on the stone inscriptions from the Late Viking Age.


The course instruction will consist of lectures and exercises. A viewing of the rune stones in Uppsala is included in the course and possibly an excursion.


Written or oral exam at the end of the course. To pass the course the students also have to give a presentation to the course participants of 1-2 rune stones in the field.

For students who fail the exam a re-test will be arranged within a reasonable time after the first exam. Students who have failed an exam twice have the opportunity (after a consultation with the Prefect) to request a change of examiner or form of examination.

Grading System: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG).