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Mästare och minnesmärken: Studier kring vikingatida runristare och skriftmiljöer i Norden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to determine what can be known about the people who were able to write runes during the Viking Age. The investigation is based on the runecarvers’ own statements about themselves and their work, which is normally found in the signature or the carver formula of the inscriptions. The material comprises all carver formulas known from primarily Scandinavian Viking-age runic inscriptions, but since most of the inscriptions are found on rune-stones, there is a focus on runecarvers who worked in this material.

In the study the form and content of these carver formulas are closely analyzed in different ways. It can for example be shown that the choice of verbs in a carver formula is primarily determined by chronology, which is also reflected in the geographical distribution of different verbs in the material. The study also shows that the carver formula is normally positioned finally in the text, and that the examples of other positions might be determined by the content of the rest of the inscription. In some cases the runic monument is signed by more than one name, which has been interpreted as indicating the existence of workshops. Even if this is true for parts of the material, many of the co-signed stones seem to be the products of carvers who only worked occasionally. An investigation of the personal names and the use of attributes such as patronymic, titles or bynames, shows no difference from the normal Viking-age population, which indicates that the rune-carvers were not members of a special social class.

The latter part of the study deals with the relationships between the rune-carver and the sponsor of the runic monument. Special attention is paid to some local carvers in the Mälar Valley in order to determine their social status and the extent of their production of rune-stones. The study shows that some of these carvers belonged to a wealthy group of land-owners with contacts abroad, and many of them have executed about ten rune-stones, often in the vicinity of their own dwellingplace. In conjunction with this, there is also an attempt to see to what extent the writing habits of these local carvers are influenced by more productive and presumably professional carvers. This investigation leads to a re-evaluation of one of the most famous carvers in the district, Åsmund Kåresson, which also has some implications for the picture of how the rune-stone custom was introduced into central Sweden at the beginning of the 11th century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2007. , 442 p.
Stockholm studies in Scandinavian philology, ISSN 0562-1097 ; N.S., 43
Keyword [en]
Rune carvers, Runic inscriptions, Rune-stones, Viking Age, Personal names, Åsmund Kåresson, Rune-stone custom
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6864ISBN: 978-91-85445-64-6OAI: diva2:197218
Public defence
2007-06-01, hörsal 4, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-05-10 Created: 2007-05-10 Last updated: 2013-04-05Bibliographically approved

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