Episode 25: Germanic Markings and the Runes

We explore the expansion of Germanic tribes into the Danube region where the Germans encounter the Etruscan alphabet.  The Germanic runes develop and provide the first opportunity for the Germanic tribes to write their own language.


Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

4 thoughts on “Episode 25: Germanic Markings and the Runes

  1. Is there a significance in the differing order of the Germanic runes as opposed to the retained order in the letters from the Phoenician to the Latin alphabet?

    • Many scholars think the runes were influenced by an early version of the alphabet, perhaps the Etruscan version. But it doesn’t appear that the order was maintained. I don’t really know why. Perhaps it was because the runes were influenced by the alphabet, but they weren’t really intended to be a proper borrowing of the alphabet.

  2. From what I learned of earlier episodes, the greeks and the romans adopted the alphabet of the phoenicians and the Etruscans whithin a century or so after they got in contact with those cultures. It seems rather strange that niether the celts nor the germanic tribes adopted the latín alphabet sooner, as they were in contact with the Romans for many centuries.

  3. If you do not have paper or papyrus, Latin and Greek letters are much more difficult to reproduce. Runes are very practical for wood and stone unless you have developed more skilled methods of inscribing letters.

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