NFI2102 – Runology - Runic Inscriptions of the Middle Ages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The runes were a writing system used by a number of Germanic peoples from the second century AD throughout the Middle Ages. This course covers the last phase of the runic tradition in Scandinavia from ca. 1050 to the Reformation. In addition to a close study of representative inscriptions from this period, the runic writing tradition will be studied in the context of the far-reaching social and cultural developments that happened during this time, in particular the introduction of the Latin language and of the Latin alphabet.

We will study in detail the relationship between the runic and the Latin written culture, and analyze how the Scandinavian vernacular and Latin, as well as the runes and the Latin alphabet were used in society. How did these two written cultures influence one another? What was their mutual status? To what degree were medieval Scandinavians proficient in both languages and scripts?

Learning outcome

During this course, the students will acquire

  • specific skills in reading and interpreting runic inscriptions from the Middle Ages.
  • an in-depth knowledge of the developments that the runic writing system went through during this period. 
  • insights into the complex relationship between the medieval runic and the Latin written cultures.
  • Moreover, the students will gain familiarity with different research tools such as runic editions and databases.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

NFI1100 - Runology – a general introduction or equivalent. The course presupposes a good knowledge of Old Norse. One should also be able to read not only runic inscriptions but also Old Norse literary texts in the original.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with NFI4122 – Runology - Runic Inscriptions of the Middle Ages


The teaching is given in 14 double lectures and seminars, 28 hours in all.

A qualifying assignment has to be approved before the student may take the final exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The final exam will be an oral examination.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every other spring starting 2007


Every other spring starting 2007

Teaching language