NFI4122 – Runology - Runic Inscriptions of the Middle Ages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Runology covers 1300 years of the history of writing. Runes were a distinctive writing system for a number of Germanic peoples from the second century AD until runic writing died out in Norway in the 15th century. This course provides a study in depth of the runic inscriptions from the Middle Ages 1050-1400. In addition to a close study of inscriptions, the inscriptions are also studied in the context of cultural history, in particular with reference to the relationship between the runes and the Latin alphabet. Why did runic writing continue to be in use after the introduction of the latin alphabet. There will be a special focus on the interplay between data (runic inscriptions) and theory (about written communication in the Middle Ages).

Learning outcome

The aim is to provide students with specific skills in reading and interpreting runic inscriptions from the Middle Ages and to place these in the context of cultural history.

Students will also gain insights into the discussion of orality - literacy as a historical perspective on the Middle Ages in terms of forms of writing.


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

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

The minimum number of attendants for the course is 5.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

NFI1101 – Norrøn grammatikk og eldre språkhistorie or NFI4120 – Old Norse - language and texts. It is possible to take the course parallel to NFI4120.

Recommended previous knowledge

Some basic knowledge of runology is to be desired but is not obligatory.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with NFI2102 – Runology - Runic Inscriptions of the Middle Ages


14 double lectures and seminars, 28 hours in all. Students must submit an individual reading list within a set deadline.

The reading list must be approved by the teacher in order to 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 is a trial lecture. The student will be given a topic and will have one week (5 working says) to prepare a 20 minutes’ lecture.

The lecture shall be given in a conference room and will be open to the public; students, scholars and others who might be interested.

The given topic will be related to data (runes and runic inscriptions) and theories about the data.

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.

Language of examination

The trial lecture may be held in English or any of the Scandinavian languages

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 2011


Every other spring starting 2011

Teaching language