runes


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runes,

ancient characters used in Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian inscriptionsinscription,
writing on durable material. The art is called epigraphy. Modern inscriptions are made for permanent, monumental record, as on gravestones, cornerstones, and building fronts; they are often decorative and imitative of ancient (usually Roman) methods.
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. They were probably first used by the East Goths (c.300), who are thought to have derived them from Helleno-Italic writing. The runes were adapted to carving on wood and stone; they consisted of perpendicular, oblique, and a few curved lines. The first six runic signs were for f, u, th, o (a), r, c (k), hence the name Futhorc for the runic alphabets. There were two alphabets, one of 16 signs and the other of 24 (the same 16 with 8 additional signs). They were used extensively throughout N Europe, Iceland, England, Ireland, and Scotland until the establishment of Christianity. From then on the use of runes was reviled as a pagan practice. In Scandinavia their use persisted even after the Middle Ages; there they were used for manuscripts as well as inscriptions. The word rune is derived from an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning secret or mystery.

Bibliography

See A. F. Brodeur, The Riddle of the Runes (1932, repr. 1973); R. I. Page, An Introduction to English Runes (1973).

runes

(1)
Anything that requires heavy wizardry or black art to parse: core dumps, JCL commands, APL or code in a language you haven't a clue how to read. Not quite as bad as line noise, but close.

Compare casting the runes, Great Runes.

runes

(2)
Special display characters (for example, the high-half graphics on an IBM PC).
References in periodicals archive ?
An extraordinary coming-of-age fantasy tale written by a dynamic new voice in the world of fantasy, Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows has garnered high advance praise.
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