Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Runes, a written language of the Northern tribes of Europe. The Norse runic alphabet contains sixteen characters, while the Anglo-Saxon contained forty. The Germans practised runic writing, and Goths and other Teutonic tribes carried the practice to Spain, etc, The alphabet is sometimes ascribed to the Phoenicians, but many hold that it did not originate till after the introduction of Christianity. Owing to its employment in magic rites, the Church looked with disfavour on its use. The word in Old Norse means also "a secret": cf. Germ. raunen, "to whisper."