Thurisaz

Last updated
Name Proto-Germanic Old English Old Norse
*ÞurisazÞornÞurs
"giant""thorn""giant"
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter thurisaz.svg
Unicode
U+16A6
Transliteration þ
Transcriptionþþ, ð
IPA [θ][θ], [ð]
Position in
rune-row
3

The rune is called Thurs (Old Norse Þurs "giant", from a reconstructed Common Germanic *Þurisaz) in the Icelandic and Norwegian rune poems. In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem it is called thorn, whence the name of the letter þ derived. It is transliterated as þ, and has the sound value of a voiceless dental fricative /θ/ (the English sound of th as in thing).

Old Norse North Germanic language

Old Norse was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements from about the 9th to the 13th century.

Jötunn Race of giants in Norse mythology

In Norse mythology, a jötunn is a type of entity contrasted with gods and other figures, such as dwarfs and elves. The entities are themselves ambiguously defined, variously referred to by several other terms, including risi, thurs, and troll.

Thorn (letter) letter

Thorn or þorn is a letter in the Old English, Gothic, Old Norse, Old Swedish and modern Icelandic alphabets, as well as some dialects of Middle English. It was also used in medieval Scandinavia, but was later replaced with the digraph th, except in Iceland, where it survives. The letter originated from the rune in the Elder Fuþark and was called thorn in the Anglo-Saxon and thorn or thurs in the Scandinavian rune poems. Its reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is Thurisaz. It is similar in appearance to the archaic Greek letter sho (ϸ), although the two are historically unrelated.

Contents

The rune is absent from the earliest Vimose inscriptions, but it is found in the Thorsberg chape inscription, dated to ca. AD 200.

Vimose inscriptions

Finds from Vimose, on the island of Funen, Denmark, include some of the oldest datable Elder Futhark runic inscriptions in early Proto-Norse from the 2nd to 3rd century in the Scandinavian Iron Age.

Thorsberg chape

The Thorsberg chape is an archeological find from the Thorsberg moor, Germany, that appears to have been deposited as a votive offering. It bears an Elder Futhark runic inscription, one of the earliest known, dating to roughly 200 CE.

Name

Þurs is a name for the giants in Norse mythology. Tursas is also an ill-defined being in Finnish mythology - Finland was known as the land of the giants (Jotland) in Scandinavian/north Germanic mythology. [1]

Finnish mythology is a commonly applied description of the folklore of Finnish paganism, of which a modern revival is practiced by a small percentage of the Finnish people. It has many features shared with fellow Finnic Estonian mythology and other Uralic mythologies, but also shares some similarities with neighbouring Baltic, Slavic and to a lesser extent, Norse mythologies.

In Anglo-Saxon England, the same rune was called Thorn or "Þorn" and it survives as the Icelandic letter Þ (þ). An attempt has been made to account for the substitution of names by taking "thorn" to be a kenning (metaphor) for "giant". [2]

Icelandic orthography is the way in which Icelandic words are spelled and how their spelling corresponds with their pronunciation.

A kenning is a type of circumlocution, in the form of a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Old English poetry.

Metaphor Figure of speech

A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy and simile are all types of metaphor. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature is the "All the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:

It is disputed as to whether a distinct system of Gothic runes ever existed, but it is clear that most of the names (but not most of the shapes) of the letters of the Gothic alphabet correspond to those of the Elder Futhark. The name of Gothic letter thiuth.svg , the Gothic letter corresponding to Þ is an exception; it is recorded as þiuþ "(the) good" in the Codex Vindobonensis 795, and as such unrelated to either þurs or þorn. The lack of agreement between the various glyphs and their names in Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse makes it difficult to reconstruct the Elder Futhark rune's Proto-Germanic name.

Gothic alphabet alphabet used for writing the Gothic language, created in the 4th century by Ulfilas for the purpose of translating the Bible

The Gothic alphabet is an alphabet for writing the Gothic language, created in the 4th century by Ulfilas for the purpose of translating the Bible.

Elder Futhark system of runes for Proto-Germanic

The Elder Futhark, Elder Fuþark, Older Futhark, Old Futhark or Germanic Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a writing system used by Germanic tribes for Northwest Germanic dialects in the Migration Period, the dates of which are debated among scholars. Runic inscriptions are found on artifacts, including jewelry, amulets, tools, weapons, and, of course, runestones, from the 2nd to the 8th centuries.

The Codex Vindobonensis 795 is a 9th-century manuscript. It contains letters and treatises by Alcuin, including a discussion of the Gothic alphabet. It also contains a description of the Anglo-Saxon futhorc.

Assuming that the Scandinavian name þurs is the most plausible reflex of the Elder Futhark name, a Common Germanic form *þurisaz can be reconstructed (cf. Old English þyrs "giant, ogre" and Old High German duris-es "(of the) giant").

Old High German is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 700 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as "prehistoric" and date the start of Old High German proper to 750 for this reason. There are, however, a number of Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the 6th century, as well as single words and many names found in Latin texts predating the 8th century.

Rune poems

The Germanic rune ᚦ is mentioned in three rune poems:

Rune Poem: [3] English Translation:

Old Norwegian
Þurs vældr kvinna kvillu,
kátr værðr fár af illu.


Thurs ("Giant") causes anguish to women,
misfortune makes few men cheerful.

Old Icelandic
Þurs er kvenna kvöl
ok kletta búi
ok varðrúnar verr.
Saturnus þengill.


Thurs ("Giant") is torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess
Saturn's thegn.

Anglo-Saxon
Ðorn byþ ðearle scearp;
ðegna gehƿylcum anfeng ys yfyl,
ungemetum reþe manna gehƿelcum,
ðe him mid resteð.


The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any thegn to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.

Saturn possibly refers to Ymir or Útgarða-Loki.

Related Research Articles

Yngvi aaron

Old Norse Yngvi, Old High German Inguin and Old English Ingƿine are names that relate to a theonym which appears to have been the older name for the god Freyr. Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz was the legendary ancestor of the Ingaevones, or more accurately Ingvaeones, and is also the reconstructed name of the Elder Futhark rune ᛜ and Anglo-Saxon rune ᛝ, representing ŋ.

The Elder Futhark Odal rune, also known as the Othala rune, represents the o sound. Its reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is *ōþalan "heritage; inheritance, inherited estate".

Runes letters

Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark ; the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc.

is the rune denoting the sound p in the Elder Futhark runic alphabet. It does not appear in the Younger Futhark. It is named peorð in the Anglo-Saxon rune-poem and glossed enigmatically as follows:

The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a runic alphabet and a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries. The reduction, somewhat paradoxically, happened at the same time as phonetic changes led to a greater number of different phonemes in the spoken language, when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse. Thus, the language included distinct sounds and minimal pairs that were written the same.

Kaunan rune

The k-rune is called Kaun in both the Norwegian and Icelandic rune poems, meaning "ulcer". The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is *Kaunan. It is also known as Kenaz ("torch"), based on its Anglo-Saxon name.

Algiz is the name conventionally given to the "z-rune" of the Elder Futhark runic alphabet. Its transliteration is z, understood as a phoneme of the Proto-Germanic language, the terminal *z continuing Proto-Indo-European terminal *s.

*Raidō "ride, journey" is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the r- rune of the Elder Futhark . The name is attested for the same rune in all three rune poems, Old Norwegian Ræið Icelandic Reið, Anglo-Saxon Rad, as well as for the corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet 𐍂 r, called raida. The shape of the rune may be directly derived from Latin R.

Jera is the conventional name of the j-rune of the Elder Futhark, from a reconstructed Common Germanic stem *jēra- meaning "harvest, (good) year".

*Naudiz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the n-rune , meaning "need, distress". In the Anglo-Saxon futhorc, it is continued as nyd, in the Younger Futhark as , Icelandic naud and Old Norse nauðr. The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐌽 n, named nauþs.

Haglaz rune

*Haglaz or *Hagalaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the h-rune , meaning "hail".

*Laguz or *Laukaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the l-rune , *laguz meaning "water" or "lake" and *laukaz meaning "leek". In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, it is called lagu "ocean". In the Younger Futhark, the rune is called lögr "waterfall" in Icelandic and logr "water" in Norse.

*Isaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the i-rune , meaning "ice". In the Younger Futhark, it is called Iss in Icelandic and isa in Old Norse. As rune of the Anglo-Saxon futhorc, it is called is.

Berkanan is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the b rune , meaning "birch". In the Younger Futhark it is called Bjarkan in the Icelandic and Norwegian rune poems. In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem it is called beorc. The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐌱 b, named bairkan.

Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark, . The name is based on Proto-Germanic *ansuz, denoting a deity belonging to the principal pantheon in Germanic paganism.

The d rune (ᛞ) is called dæg "day" in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem. The corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet 𐌳 d is called dags. This rune is also part of the Elder Futhark, with a reconstructed Proto-Germanic name *dagaz.

*Sowilō or *sæwelō is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic language name of the s-rune, meaning "sun". The name is attested for the same rune in all three Rune Poems. It appears as Old Norse sól, Old English sigel, and Gothic sugil.

*Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for "man", *mannaz.

References

  1. Fornjot and the Settlement of Norway
  2. Old English Rune Poem
  3. Original poems and translation from the Rune Poem Page.