Runes are letters in the runic alphabets of Germanic-speaking peoples, written and read most prominently from at least c. 160 CE onwards in Scandinavia in the Elder Futhark script (until c. 700 CE) and the Younger Futhark - which illuminated the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) - as well as in England and Frisia in the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (also known as Anglo-Frisian Futhorc) writing system. In England, runes were in use from the 5th century CE until perhaps the turn of the 11th century CE, while in Scandinavia the use of runes extended well into the Middle Ages and beyond.

More about: Runes


  • c. 100 CE - c. 700 CE
    Elder Futhark runic script in use by Germanic-speaking peoples.
  • c. 160 CE
    Vimose Comb - earliest attested proper runic inscription, reading "harja".
  • c. 500 CE - c. 1000 CE
    Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (also Anglo-Frisian Futhorc) runic script in use, in England and Frisia.
  • c. 700 CE - c. 1200 CE
    Younger Futhark runic script in use (in Scandinavia).
  • c. 790 CE - c. 1100 CE
    The Viking Age.
  • c. 1200 CE
    Medieval Futhork runic script fully formed. It gradually developed from Younger Futhark between the late 10th century CE and c. 1200 CE.