INTRODUCTION THE RUNIC ALPHABET The origin of the Runic alphabet, the native script of the Teutonic peoples, is still a matter of dispute. Isaac Taylor derived it from a Thracian Greek alphabet, Wimmer of Copenhagen from the Latin alphabet; but each of these theories is open to grave objections, and it is perhaps less dangerous to conclude with von Fricsen of Upsala that it was taken from a mixture of the two. It is sufficient here to mention that it must have been known to all the Teutonic peoples and that the earliest records go back at least to tbe fourth century. It was certainly known by the Goths before their conversion; for Wulfila took several of its characters £dt his Gothic alphabet, and two inscriptions (Pietioassa in Wallachia and Kovcl in Volhynia) have been found in lands occupied by tbe Goths in this period. In its original form the Runic alphabet consisted of 24 letters, which from the absence of curved or horizontal linos were especially adapted foe carving on wood.
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