The Viking-age rune-stones : custom and commemoration in by Birgit Sawyer

By Birgit Sawyer

This can be the 1st old examine of the total physique of overdue Viking runic inscription stones in Scandinavia. The 2300 inscriptions yield unforeseen info on a variety of themes, together with the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity, the expansion of royal strength and, most vital of all, the inheritance customs of the period.

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Cf. Zachrisson (), –. 11 U  = , U  (recumbent stone), U ; DR . G  was found under the altar in Follingbo church. 7 9 VAR1 10/18/00 1:23 PM Page 15 -:     There are, therefore, good reasons for thinking that the present distribution of rune-stones in Scandinavia as a whole, as well as within its different regions, is a reliable guide to their distribution in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and shows where the fashion for such monuments was, or was not, adopted.

There are about twenty Danish inscriptions with apparently pagan characteristics that can be interpreted as declarations of nonconformity,23 about the same number as are explicitly Christian. Conversely, the fact that most rune-stones in Uppland are ostentatiously Christian suggests that there it was the Christian faith that was deviant. The distribution and regional characteristics of the runic inscriptions may therefore reflect the process of conversion. The relatively few Danish rune-stones were erected during a short period, most of them in the decades immediately before and after the year , and there are roughly equal numbers of pagan and Christian inscriptions.

Women, whether alone or together with men, are very rarely commemorated by other women; there are only six (? 22 The sponsors. In Scandinavia as a whole it was as common for sponsors to act on their own as together with others, but there are considerable differences between areas and categories. % of the stones are sponsored by two or more persons, in Denmark and Västergötland about %, in Småland about %, while the corresponding proportion lies between about % and % in Södermanland and Uppland (see further Ch.

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