The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a system used by Germanic tribes for the northwestern. Its inscriptions are found on artifacts from the 2nd to 8th centuries, in Scandinavia, from the late 8th century, the script was simplified to the Younger Futhark, while the Anglo-Saxons and Frisians extended the Futhark which eventually became the Anglo-Saxon futhorc. The Elder Futhark consists of runes, often arranged in three groups of eight runes called an ætt. In the following table, each rune is given with its common transliteration, ï is also transliterated as æ, and may have been either a diphthong, or a vowel near or. Z was Proto-Germanic, and evolved into Proto-Norse, and is transliterated as ʀ. The remaining transliterations correspond to the IPA symbol of their approximate value. H n i j ï p. t b e m l d The Elder Futhark runes are commonly believed to originate in the Old Italic scripts, either a North Italic variant, conversely, the Greek-derived 4th century Gothic alphabet does have two letters derived from runes, and. Similarly, the Meldorf inscription of 50 may qualify as proto-runic use of the Latin alphabet by Germanic speakers, the Raetic alphabet of Bolzano in particular seems to fit the letter shapes well. The f, a, g, i, t, m and l runes show no variation, and are generally accepted as identical to the Old Italic or Latin letters F, A, X, I, T, M and L, respectively. There is also agreement that the u, r, k, h, s, b and o runes respectively correspond directly to V, R, C, H, S, B and O. The runes of uncertain derivation may either be original innovations, or adoptions of otherwise unneeded Latin letters, similarly, the s rune may have either three or four strokes, and only from the 5th century does the variant with three strokes become prevalent. Note that the runes of the 6th to 8th centuries tend to have only three directions of strokes, the vertical and two diagonal directions. Early inscriptions also show horizontal strokes, these appear in the case of e, the general agreement dates the creation of the first runic alphabet to roughly the 1st century. Early estimates include the 1st century BC, and late estimates push the date into the 2nd century, the question is one of estimating the findless period separating the scripts creation from the Vimose finds of ca. Other scholars are content to assume a findless period of a few decades, pedersen suggests a period of development of about a century to account for their assumed derivation of the shapes of þ and j from Latin D and G. The invention of the script has been ascribed to a person or a group of people who had come into contact with Roman culture, maybe as mercenaries in the Roman army. The script was designed for epigraphic purposes, but opinions differ in stressing either magical, practical or simply playful aspects
Image: Einangsteinen inscription
Distribution of pre-6th century Elder Futhark finds.