Eggja stone

Eggja stone

The Eggja stone (also known as the Eggum or Eggjum stone) is a grave stone that was ploughed up in 1917 on the farm Eggja in Sogn og Fjordane in Norway.

It was found with the written side downwards over a man's grave (cf. the Kylver stone) which is dated to the period 650-700. The flat slab of stone is nowadays in Bergen Museum. Having as many as 200 runes, it is the longest known inscription in the Elder Futhark, but certain runes are transitional towards the Younger Futhark.

Many scholarly works have been written about the inscription, but only minor parts of the partially preserved inscription have received an accepted translation. It is generally agreed that it is written in stylized poetry and in a partly metrical form containing a protection for the grave and the description of a funerary rite. However, there are widely diverging interpretations about certain details.

There is also the image of a horse carved into the stone, but it does not appear to have any connection with the inscription.



* Panel 1:

:"nissolusotuknisaksestain :"skorinni????maRnak danisniþ :"rinRniwiltiRmanRlagi??:"??????galande

*Panel 2:

:"hinwarbnaseumaRmadeþaim :"kaibaibormoþahunihuwaRob :"kamharasahialatgotnafiskR :"oRf??na uimsuwimadefokl?f?

*Panel 3:


tandardized Norse spelling

* Panel 1:

:"Ni's sólu sótt ok ni saxe stæin skorinn. :"Ni (læggi) mannR nækðan, is niþ rinnR, :"Ni viltiR mænnR læggi ax."

* Panel 2::"Hin(n) varp *náséo mannR, máðe þæim kæipa í bormóþa húni. :"HuæaR of kam hæráss á hi á land gotna. :"FiskR óR f(ir)na uim suim(m)ande, fogl á f??????? galande."

* Panel 3:

:"Alu misyrki"


One suggested translation:

* Panel 1:

:"No sun sought and no sax stone scarred:"No man laid it nude as the "niþ" runs:"No bewildered men lay it aside

Suggested interpretation:The stone has been prepared in accordance with tradition; the stone is untouched by sunlight, and not cut with iron. It should not be uncovered during the waning moon, and should not be removed from its place.

* Panel 2:

:"Hither stone the man stained with corpse-sea, made thus oarpins in the bearing-worn boat:"Whom as came harrier-god here to "goð" 's land?:"Fishlike, out of river-fear swimming, as bird, our of f(?) crowing

Someone has stained this stone with blood (kenned as "corpse-sea"); perhaps as part of a sacrifice to facilitate the passage of the deceased or call on whatever power the inscription is addressed to.The "hæráss" is the "god of armies" - a psychopomp god which comes to the land of the living (godly ones) to take the deceased to an afterlife. Most likely the shapeshifting, shamanic áss Odin is meant, but the Christian god has absorbed this kenning in later Norse poetry.

A more prosaic interpretation (offered by Ottar Grønvik) is that this text describes the death of the buried man in a dramatic ship accident.

* Panel 3:

:"ALU the misworker

The meaning of the "alu" formula is uncertain, as are the runes spelling it out. It could be an iconographic or a regular abbreviation, or a mix of the two. The runes Ása-Laukr-Ur might be read as a blessing of or ward against miscreant(s), but this presupposes the not undisputed and somewhat poorly supported theory claiming that runes were used as part of folk magic and divinatory practices, and that their iconic meaning had significance beyond mnemonics in this respect. It might also be a word in itself, translating as "ale". Beer or mead played an important part in Norse ritual, both as sacrifice and beverage. Thus the word doubles as the word for festivities and public ritual.


Panel 2 has been suggested to contain a stanza in the Galdralag meter, i.e.:

:"HuæaR of kam hæráss á:"hi á land gotna. :"FiskR óR f(ir)na uim suim(m)ande,:"fogl á f??????? galande."

:"Whom as came harrier-god:"here to "goð" 's land?:"Fishlike, out of river-fear swimming,:"as fowl, out of f(?) crowing

The inscription loosely follows the pattern of the Merseburg Incantations, divided into two complementary parts, but where the Merseburger invokes a mythic event and calls for an exorcistic repetition, the Eggja composer seems to twice invoke a ritual, the first time listing two desired outcomes, in the second instance asking a question and answering it. Both inscriptions may represent some of the few remaining examples of pre-Christian "ljoð" or "galdr", ritual verse chanted by the cult leaders, shamans or oracles of Norse Scandinavia.

ee also

*Alu (runic)

External links



M. Olsen, 'Norges Indskrifter med de ældre Runer' (Christiania), Vol. III, pt. 2.
*The article "Eggjastenen" in "Nationalencyklopedin" 1991.

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