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A New Runic Inscription from Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul
Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
2016 (English)In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies, ISSN 1892-0950, E-ISSN 1892-0950, Vol. 7, 101-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the investigation of the interior of Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul in search of Cyrillic inscriptions, Russian epigraphists discovered an inscrip­tion that was later identified as comprised of Scandinavian runes. In 2011, the present author had the opportunity to study it herself. The inscription is lo­cated on a marble windowsill in the eastern wall of the northern first floor gallery, a sill covered with many Cyrillic (mostly of the second half of the twelfth to the mid-thirteenth century) and Greek graffiti. The c. 27 cm long line of runes reads a͡rịṇba͡rþrr͡aṣṭruna͡rþasi, Old Norse Arinbárðr rеist rúnar þessar [older: þā(ʀ)si], ‘Arinbárðr cut these runes’. The inscription appears to be cut fairly regularly but demonstrates some paleographic idio­syncrasies, e.g. all r-runes (also in a͡r) have sharply pointed tops. Some distinctive features in­clude the consistent usage of the bind-rune a͡r whenever a combination of a and r is employed (four times, once for r͡a) and the absence of the ʀ-rune in older rūnaʀ. Though neither peculiarity provides firm grounds for dating the in­scrip­tion, it was most probably produced in the second half of the eleventh or first half of the twelfth century and most likely carved by a Scandi­navian merce­nary in the service of the Byzantine emperor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo, Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2016. Vol. 7, 101-110 p.
Keyword [en]
Runic graffiti, Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, Vikings in By­zan­tium, carver formula
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309277OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-309277DiVA: diva2:1087633
Available from: 2017-04-08 Created: 2017-04-08 Last updated: 2017-04-11Bibliographically approved

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