Karlevi Runic stone

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One of the most famous stones with inscriptions of ancient Norse written language in the form of rune writing is found at the small town of Karlevi on the island of Öland.

The stone with the ancient insription

The inscription is a tribute to a local chieftain who has just died. The writing is in a form of a poem in verse form and is the only such poem which has survived in the original form all the way back to the age of the Vikings. The famous Icelandic sagas – the Edda’s – are written a couple of centuries later hence the writing isn’t from the actual period of the Viking rule but from a later date – though much of the original tradition probably remained intact in the Edda’s.

The poem tells about a man who was brave in battle named Sibbe. Sibbe has died and he is likened to Odin the chief Aesir god.

Ancient Karlevi Stone

An interesting thing about the stone is it is made around year 1000. This is the time when the people of Scandinavia are slowly transitioning from the traditional Norse religion to the new Christian religion. This transition meant there was writing on the back of the runic stone where it says INONIN EH which is probably supposed to be IN NOMINE IHESU – or in Jesus name. Hence the transition is made gradually so this brave old man who has died will be protected by both the original gods and the new gods.

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