The Karlevi runestone


  • Heather O'Donoghue Linacre College, Oxford



runes, runic inscriptions, skaldic verse, Old Norse literature, dróttkvætt, kennings


The Karlevi runestone, on the island of Öland, off the south-east coast of Sweden, is inscribed with the only known full stanza of Old Norse skaldic verse in Viking Age runes (that is, from approximately AD 750–1100). It is generally dated to the end of the tenth century, making it the oldest existing record of such verse. This piece outlines the origins, distribution, and chief features of the runic alphabet; contextualizes the inscription on the Karlevi runestone and the location of the stone itself; analyses the lettering and layout of the inscription in relation to the metre, style and cultural context of the verse it holds; and finally describes the character of skaldic verse and interprets the stanza.


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How to Cite

O’Donoghue, . H. (2023). The Karlevi runestone. Manuscript and Text Cultures (MTC), 2(1).