Runes and metrics

Michael Schulte


The paper argues that the metrical status of the older runic inscriptions has been partly overestimated in the research literature, and that it is more likely to account for traditions of elevated, stylized prose instead. In the present discussion, three diagnostic criteria will be assessed: 1. the syllable-count, 2. quantity-sensitivity and 3. the structural complexity of the alliterative scheme. The fine divide between style and metrics will be exemplified by inscriptions such as Noleby, Sjælland II, Tjurkö I and last but not least, the StentoftenâBjörketorp group. In conclusion, the Germanic long-line represents the only true metrical form within the older runic corpus, whereas the bulk of the Early Runic inscriptions are identified as artefacts of elevated prose style with typical features of formulaic diction.



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ISSN 1890-5455

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