|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Inscription||1994 (18th Session)|
The Jelling stones (Danish : Jellingstenene) are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth, in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscriptions on these stones are considered the best known in Denmark. In 1994, the stones, in addition to the burial mounds and small church nearby, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an unparalleled example of both pagan and Christian Nordic culture.
The stones are strongly identified with the creation of Denmark as a nation state. Both inscriptions mention the name "Danmark" (in the form of accusative "tanmaurk" ([dɑnmɒrk]) on the large stone, and genitive "tanmarkar" (pronounced [dɑnmɑrkɑɹ̻̊˔]) on the small stone).
The larger stone explicitly mentions the conversion of Denmark from Norse paganism and the process of Christianization, alongside a depiction of the crucified Christ; it is therefore popularly dubbed "Denmark's baptismal certificate" (Danmarks dåbsattest), an expression coined by art historian Rudolf Broby-Johansen in the 1930s.
After having been exposed to the elements for a thousand years, cracks are beginning to show. On 15 November 2008 experts from UNESCO examined the stones to determine their condition. Experts requested that the stones be moved to an indoor exhibition hall, or in some other way protected in situ, to prevent further damage from the weather.
In February 2011 the site was vandalized using green spray paint, with the word "GELWANE" written on both sides of the larger stone, and with identical graffiti sprayed on a nearby gravestone and on the church door.After much speculation about the possible meaning of the enigmatic word "gelwane", the vandal was eventually discovered to be a 15-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome and the word itself was meaningless. As the paint had not fully hardened, experts were able to remove it.
The Heritage Agency of Denmark decided to keep the stones in their current location and selected a protective casing design from 157 projects submitted through a competition. The winner of the competition was Nobel Architects.The glass casing creates a climate system that keeps the stones at a fixed temperature and humidity and protects them from weathering. The design features rectangular glass casings strengthened by two solid bronze sides mounted on a supporting steel skeleton. The glass is coated with an anti-reflective material that gives the exhibit a greenish hue. Additionally, the bronze patina gives off a rusty, greenish colour, highlighting the runestones' gray and reddish tones and emphasising their monumental character and significance.
The inscription on the larger of the two Jelling stones (Jelling II, Rundata DR 42) translates to:
King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian.
In normalized Old Norse:
Haraldr konungr bað gǫrva kumbl þausi aft Gorm faður sinn auk aft Þórví móður sína. Sá Haraldr es sér vann Danmǫrk alla auk Norveg auk dani gærði kristna.
|(side A)||ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᛦ ᛬ ᛒᛅᚦ ᛬ ᚴᛅᚢᚱᚢᛅ|
ᚴᚢᛒᛚ ᛬ ᚦᛅᚢᛋᛁ ᛬ ᛅᚠᛏ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚱᛘ ᚠᛅᚦᚢᚱ ᛋᛁᚾ
ᛅᚢᚴ ᛅᚠᛏ ᛬ ᚦᚭᚢᚱᚢᛁ ᛬ ᛘᚢᚦᚢᚱ ᛬ ᛋᛁᚾᛅ ᛬ ᛋᛅ
ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ (᛬) ᛁᛅᛋ ᛬ ᛋᚭᛦ ᛫ ᚢᛅᚾ ᛫ ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ
|haraltr : kunukʀ : baþ : kaurua |
kubl : þausi : aft : kurm faþur sin
auk aft : þąurui : muþur : sina : sa
haraltr (:) ias : sąʀ * uan * tanmaurk
|(side B)||ᛅᛚᛅ ᛫ ᛅᚢᚴ ᛫ ᚾᚢᚱᚢᛁᛅᚴ||ala * auk * nuruiak|
|(side C)||᛫ ᛅᚢᚴ ᛫ ᛏ(ᛅ)ᚾᛁ (᛫ ᚴᛅᚱᚦᛁ ᛫) ᚴᚱᛁᛋᛏᚾᚭ||* auk * t(a)ni (* karþi *) kristną|
The stone has a figure of the crucified Christ on one side and on another side a serpent wrapped around a lion. Christ is depicted as standing in the shape of a cross and entangled in what appear to be branches.This depiction of Christ has often been taken as indicating the parallels with the "hanging" of the Norse pagan god Odin, who in Rúnatal gives an account of being hanged from a tree and pierced by a spear.
Another copy of this stone was placed in 1936 on the Domplein ('Dom Square') in Utrecht in the Netherlands, next to the Cathedral of Utrecht, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Utrecht University.
In 1955, a plaster cast of this stone was made for a festival in London. It is now located in the grounds of the Danish Church in London, 4 St Katherines Precinct, Regents Park, London. The copy is painted in bright colours, like the original. Most of the original paint has flaked away from the original stone, but enough small specks of paint remained to enable the determination of what the colours looked like when they were freshly painted. A copy is also located in the National Museum of Denmark, and another copy, decorated by Rudolf Broby-Johansen in the 1930s, just outside the Jelling museum, which stands within sight of the Jelling mounds.
A copy exists in Rouen, Normandy, France, near Saint-Ouen Abbey Church, offered by Denmark to the city of Rouen, on the occasion of the millennium of Normandy in 1911.
A facsimile of the image of Christ on Harald's runestone appears on the inside front cover of Danish passports.
The inscription on the older and smaller of the Jelling stones (Jelling I, Rundata DR 41) translates to "King Gormr made this monument in memory of Thyrvé, his wife, Denmark's adornment."
|(side A)||᛬ ᚴᚢᚱᛘᛦ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᛦ ᛬|
᛬ ᚴ(ᛅᚱ)ᚦᛁ ᛬ ᚴᚢᛒᛚ ᛬ ᚦᚢᛋᛁ ᛬
᛬ ᛅ(ᚠᛏ) ᛬ ᚦᚢᚱᚢᛁ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢ
|: kurmʀ : kunukʀ :|
: k(ar)þi : kubl : þusi :
: a(ft) : þurui : kunu
|(side B)||᛬ ᛋᛁᚾᛅ ᛬ ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᛦ ᛬ ᛒᚢᛏ ᛬||: sina : tanmarkaʀ : but :|
A runestone is typically a raised stone with a runic inscription, but the term can also be applied to inscriptions on boulders and on bedrock. The tradition began in the 4th century and lasted into the 12th century, but most of the runestones date from the late Viking Age. Most runestones are located in Scandinavia, but there are also scattered runestones in locations that were visited by Norsemen during the Viking Age. Runestones are often memorials to dead men. Runestones were usually brightly coloured when erected, though this is no longer evident as the colour has worn off. Most runestones are found in present-day Sweden.
The Scandinavian Runic-text Data Base is a project involving the creation and maintenance of a database of runic inscriptions. The project's goal is to comprehensively catalog runestones in a machine-readable way for future research. The database is freely available via the Internet with a client program, called Rundata, for Microsoft Windows. For other operating systems, text files are provided or a web browser can be used to interact with the web application Runor.
The Battle of Fýrisvellir was fought in the 980s on the plain called Fýrisvellir, where modern Uppsala is situated, between King Eric the Victorious and an invading force. According to Norse sagas, this force was led by his nephew Styrbjörn the Strong. Eric won the battle, and became known as "the Victorious".
The Snoldelev Stone, listed as DR 248 in the Rundata catalog, is a 9th-century runestone that was originally located at Snoldelev, Ramsø, Denmark.
At Broby bro in Uppland, Sweden there are six runestones. U 139, U 140 and U 151 still stand by the road, but U 135, U 136 and U 137 have been moved a distance away from the road.
The Hargs bro runic inscriptions, or U 309, U 310 and U 311, are 11th century Younger Futhark inscriptions in Old Norse on bedrock in Skånela Parish, Uppland, Sweden.
Sønder Vissing I or DR 55 is a runestone located in the church of Sønder Vissing in eastern Jutland, Denmark. Sønder Vissing is a small settlement located in Horsens municipality approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Silkeborg, 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Skanderborg and 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of the Viking monuments of Jelling.
The Ingvar Runestones is the name of around 26 Varangian Runestones that were raised in commemoration of those who died in the Swedish Viking expedition to the Caspian Sea of Ingvar the Far-Travelled.
The Istaby Runestone, listed in the Rundata catalog as DR 359, is a runestone with an inscription in Proto-Norse which was raised in Istaby, Blekinge, Sweden, during the Vendel era.
The Hällestad Runestones are three runestones located in the walls of Hällestad Church in Torna-Hällestad, about 20 kilometers east of Lund in Skåne, southern Sweden. Their Rundata identifiers are DR 295, 296, and 297. DR 295 is notable because it is held to be raised in memory of a warrior who fell in the legendary Battle of the Fýrisvellir, near Uppsala, Sweden between the Jomsvikings led by Styrbjörn the Strong and Styrbjörn's uncle Eric the Victorious, the king of Sweden, c. 985. The other stones were raised by the same people, and they probably formed a monument together in memory of comrades lost in the battle. The Karlevi Runestone, the Egtved Runestone and the Sjörup Runestone may be connected to them.
The England runestones are a group of about 30 runestones in Northern Europe which refer to Viking Age voyages to England. They constitute one of the largest groups of runestones that mention voyages to other countries, and they are comparable in number only to the approximately 30 Greece Runestones and the 26 Ingvar Runestones, of which the latter refer to a Viking expedition near the Caspian Sea. They were engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark.
The Varangian Runestones are runestones in Scandinavia that mention voyages to the East or the Eastern route, or to more specific eastern locations such as Garðaríki.
The Viking runestones are runestones that mention Scandinavians who participated in Viking expeditions. This article treats the runestone that refer to people who took part in voyages abroad, in western Europe, and stones that mention men who were Viking warriors and/or died while travelling in the West. However, it is likely that all of them do not mention men who took part in pillaging. The inscriptions were all engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark. The runestones are unevenly distributed in Scandinavia: Denmark has 250 runestones, Norway has 50 while Iceland has none. Sweden have as many as between 1,700 and 2,500 depending on definition. The Swedish district of Uppland has the highest concentration with as many as 1,196 inscriptions in stone, whereas Södermanland is second with 391.
The Manx runestones were made by the Norse population on the Isle of Man during the Viking Age, mostly in the 10th century. Despite its small size, the Isle of Man stands out with many Viking Age runestones, in 1983 numbering as many as 26 surviving stones, which can be compared to 33 in all of Norway. So many of them may appear on the Isle of Man because of the merging of the immigrant Norse runestone tradition with the local Celtic tradition of raising high crosses.
The Skern Runestone, designated as Danish Runic Inscription 81 or DR 81 in the Rundata catalog, is a Viking Age memorial runestone located in the small village of Skjern, Denmark between Viborg and Randers. The stone features a facial mask and a runic inscription which ends in a curse. A fragment of a second runestone designated as DR 80 was also found in Skjern.
The Jelling stone ship is a stone ship, the longest known to have existed, remains of which lie under the two royal barrows at Jelling, Denmark.
The Læborg or Laeborg Runestone, listed as DR 26 in the Rundata catalog, is a Viking Age memorial runestone located outside of the village hall or Forsamlinghus in Læborg, which is about 3 kilometers north of Vejen, Denmark. The stone includes two depictions of the hammer of the Norse pagan god Thor.
The Ålum Runestones are four Viking Age memorial runestones which are located at the church in Ålum, which is 9 km west of Randers, Denmark. One of the stones refers to a man with the title drengr and two of the other stones were raised by the same family.
The Sønder Vinge stone 2 or DR 83 is a Viking Age runestone engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark runic alphabet. The stone is in granite and was discovered in 1866 as a corner stone of Sønder Vinge Church, positioned with the runic inscription outwards. It is presently located in the porch of the church. It is probably from the period 970-1020 due to runic and linguistic features. It is 180 cm tall, 132 cm wide and 35 cm thick. Parts of the runic inscription have eroded which makes some runes hard to read. The style of the runestone is the runestone style RAK.
The Egtved Runestone or DR 37 is a Viking Age runestone engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark runic alphabet. It was discovered in 1863, by a master mason named Anders Nielsen from Starup, in the southern part of the cemetery of Egtved church. It is dated to the period 900–1020. The stone is in granite and measures 80 cm in height, 55 cm in width and 43 cm in thickness. The style of the runestone is the runestone style RAK.
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