HDAK00236U DAN; East Norse. Texts and artefacts

Årgang 2016/2017
Engelsk titel

East Norse. Texts and artefacts


The course is an introduction to East Norse texts and manuscripts. The course offers a chance to study East Norse texts in the original language, reading a range of runic inscriptions and Old Danish and Old Swedish texts representing genuine Scandinavian genres as well as rewritings and adaptations of European works, such as runic inscriptions on stones and loose objects, medieval provincial laws, medical books, instructional texts, romances, and devotional books.

The course presents an overview of the history of the East Norse languages from the Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages dealing with the following topics: the linguistic developments from Proto Norse to East Scandinavia, the emergence of East Scandinavian runic dialects, the runic lexicon, the phonological and morphological changes of Old Swedish (c. 1225 – 1526) and Old Danish (c. 1100 – c. 1525).

The course includes field trips to a runic location on Zealand and to the city of Lund in the Skåne region as well as a visit to the Danish National Museum.

As a large part of the texts to be read are preserved in manuscripts located in the Arnamagnæan Collection in Department of Nordic Research students will get hands-on practice in reading and describing manuscripts.

Participants (who need no prior experience with East Norse) will learn to read the runic alphabets and how to transliterate runic inscriptions. They will learn how to read and translate diplomatic (un-normalized) representations of texts in East Norse and will be able to identify Old Swedish and Old Danish texts respectively and to characterize texts as regards syntax and style. They will get an overview of the usage of runes from the Iron Age to the High Middle Ages in Southern Scandinavia and of East Norse texts and manuscripts. They will gain basic knowledge of East Norse paleography and the codicology of the medieval book.


Secondary literature


Michael P. Barnes: Runes a Handbook. Woodbridge 2012.

Sven B.F. Jansson: Runes in Sweden. Stockholm 1987

Erik Moltke: Runes and Their Origin. In Denmark and Elsewhere. Copenhagen 1985.

Einar Haugen: The Scandinavian Languages. 1976

Old Danish and Old Swedish:

In The Nordic Languages: An International handbook of the history of the North Germanic languages, ed. Oscar Bandle et al., Berlin/New York, 2005:

Jonas Carlquist: The history of Old Nordic manuscripts III: Old Swedish.

Britta Olrik Frederiksen: The history of Old Nordic manuscripts IV: Old Danish.

Lars-Olof Delsing: The morphology of Old Nordic II: Old Swedish and Old Danish.

Patrik Åström: Manuscripts and bookprinting in Late Medieval Scandinavia and in Early Modern Times.

Britta Olrik Frederiksen: Medieval books in Danish – in plain and less plain figures. In Living Words & Luminous Pictures: Medieval book culture in Denmark.Essays, ed. Erik Petersen, København/Aarhus 1999.


An English Dictionary of Runic Inscriptions in the Younger Futhark: http:/​/​runicdictionary.nottingham.ac.uk/​index.php

Runic Dictionary (Aberdeen): http:/​/​abdn.ac.uk/​skaldic/​db.php?if=runic&table=database&view=runic

Fornsvensk lexikalisk databas: http:/​/​spraakbanken.gu.se/​fsvldb

Faksimileutgåva av Otto Kalker: Ordbog til det ældre danske sprog (1300-1700): http:/​/​www.hist.uib.no/​kalkar/​

ODS på nettet: ordnet.dk

Gammeldansk Ordbog/Gammeldansk Seddelsamling: gammeldanskordbog.dk


Old Swedish bibliography and the Swedish runic bibliography: http:/​/​fornsvenskbibliografi.ra.se

Fornsvenska textbanken: http:/​/​project2.sol.lu.se

Studér Middelalder på Nettet: middelaldertekster.dk


Lectures, class teaching, workshops and students' presentations
  • Kategori
  • Timer
  • Eksamensforberedelse
  • 160,5
  • Holdundervisning
  • 42
  • Undervisningsforberedelse
  • 210
  • I alt
  • 412,5
Skriftlig prøve
Written take-home assignment, optional subject.