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Ansuz (rune)

Ansuz (rune)

NameProto-GermanicOld EnglishOld Norse
ShapeElder FutharkFuthorcYounger Futhark
Runic letter ansuz.svgRunic letter os.svgRunic letter ac.svgRunic letter ansuz.svgLong-branch Oss.svgShort-twig Oss.svg
Transcriptionaoaæą, o
Position in

Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark, ᚨ. The name is based on Proto-Germanic *ansuz, denoting a deity belonging to the principal pantheon in Germanic paganism.

The shape of the rune is likely from Neo-Etruscan a ([[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/EtruscanA-01.png/15px-EtruscanA-01.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/EtruscanA-01.png/23px-EtruscanA-01.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/EtruscanA-01.png/30px-EtruscanA-01.png 2x|EtruscanA-01.png|h15|w15]]), like Latin A ultimately from Phoenician aleph.


In the Norwegian rune poem, óss is given a meaning of "estuary" while in the Anglo-Saxon one, ōs ᚩ takes the Latin meaning of "mouth". The Younger Futhark rune is transliterated as ą to distinguish it from the new ár rune (ᛅ), which continues the jēran rune after loss of prevocalic *j- in Proto-Norse *jár (Old Saxon jār).

Since the name of [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2d/Gothic_a.svg/15px-Gothic_a.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2d/Gothic_a.svg/23px-Gothic_a.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2d/Gothic_a.svg/30px-Gothic_a.svg.png 2x|Gothic a.svg|h15|w15]] a is attested in the Gothic alphabet as ahsa or aza, the common Germanic name of the rune may thus either have been *ansuz "god", or *ahsam "ear (of wheat)".

Development in Anglo-Saxon runes

The Anglo-Saxon futhorc split the Elder Futhark a rune into three independent runes due to the development of the vowel system in Anglo-Frisian. These three runes are ōs ᚩ (transliterated o), ac "oak" ᚪ (transliterated a), and æsc ᚫ "ash" (transliterated æ).

Development in Younger Futhark

The Younger Futhark corresponding to the Elder Futhark ansuz rune is ᚬ, called óss. It is transliterated as ą. This represented the phoneme /ɑ̃/, and sometimes /æ/ (also written ) and /o/ (also written ᚢ). The variant grapheme ᚯ became independent as representing the phoneme /ø/ during the 11th to 14th centuries.

Rune poems

In the Icelandic rune poem, the name óss refers to Odin:

Óss er algingautr
   ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
   ok valhallar vísi.
Óss is agedGautr
   and prince of Asgard
   and lord of Valhalla.


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Sep 24, 2019, 8:51 PM