Jonas Lau Markussen

The Ramsund Carving Sö 101

The carvings of the rock face are in the runestone style Pr 1 (c. 1010-1040) pertaining to the Ringerike style.

 

The inscription is not signed.

 

The carving is c. 4,70 m wide.

 

 

Runic inscription

The rune text begins at the tail end of the animal.

 

Runes

ᛋᛁᚱᛁᚦᚱ ᛬ ᚴᛁᛅᚱᚦᛁ ᛬ ᛒᚢᚱ ᛬ ᚦᚬᛋᛁ ᛬ ᛘᚢᚦᛁᛦ ᛬ ᛅᛚᚱᛁᚴᛋ ᛬ ᛏᚢᛏᛁᛦ ᛬ ᚢᚱᛘᛋ ᛬ ᚠᚢᚱ ᛫ ᛋᛅᛚᚢ ᛬ ᚼᚢᛚᛘᚴᛁᚱᛋ ᛬ ᚠᛅᚦᚢᚱ ᛬ ᛋᚢᚴᚱᚢᚦᛅᚱ ᛒᚢᛅᛏᛅ ᛫ ᛋᛁᛋ ᛫

 

Transliteration

siriþr : kiarþi : bur : þosi : muþiʀ : alriks : tutiʀ : urms : fur * salu : hulmkirs : faþur : sukruþar buata * sis *

 

Old Norse

Sigriðr gærði bro þasi, moðiR Alriks, dottiR Orms, for salu HolmgæiRs, faður SigrøðaR, boanda sins.

 

English

Sigríðr, Alríkr’s mother, Ormr’s daughter, made this bridge for the soul of Holmgeirr, father of Sigrøðr, her husbandman.

 

Notes

The Ramsund Carving is one in a series of depictions of the legend of Sigurd the dragon slayer including runestones from Scandinavia and stone crosses from the British Isles. The earliest dating to the eleventh century. Sigurd features in Norse and Continental Germanic tradition including the Nibelungenlied, the Völsunga saga and Snorri’s Edda.

 

The Legend of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer

According to Norse tradition, Sigurd, the posthumous son of Sigmund, was raised by the dwarf Regin, Ótr’s and Fafnir’s brother.

 

Fafnir acquired a gold hoard from the gods (Odin, Loki and Hoenir) in compensation for Loki killing the shapeshifter Ótr (Otter). In response to Fafnir keeping the hoard to himself, Regin persuades Sigurd to kill Fafnir.

 

Regin, who is a skilled smith, creates the sword Gram for Sigurd from the pieces of Sigurd’s father, Sigmund’s shattered sword. Sigurd slays the dragon Fafnir by lying in a pit and stabbing it in the heart from underneath.

 

Regin tears out Fafnir’s heart and tells Sigurd to cook it. When Sigurd checks if the heart is done, he burns his finger and sticks it in his mouth. As Sigurd tastes the dragon’s blood, he suddenly understands the language of the birds. The two birds sitting in the tree above him warn him that Regin plans to kill him to acquire the dragon’s gold for himself and to avenge Sigurd killing his brother.

 

Sigurd kills Regin and rides away with the hoard on his horse Grani and then finds the sleeping Valkyrie Brynhild and awakens her by cutting off her armour. She teaches him the runes, and they vow to wed each other.

 

But Sigurd forgets his promise and marries Gudrun instead and deceives Brynhild into marrying his blood brother Gunnar. When Brynhild finds out how she was tricked, she has Sigurd killed and commit suicide herself. She and Sigurd are both burned on the same pyre.

 

From left to right, the carving depicts the following characters and scenes:

  • Regin with his head cut off by Sigurd. All his tools used to create the sword Gram lies scattered to the right of him.
  • The shapeshifting Ótr is depicted as a wolf-like creature.
  • Sigurd cooking the heart of Fafnir over a bonfire with his thumb in his mouth tasting dragon blood after having burnt it.
  • The horse Grani tied to a tree with the hoard on its back.
  • The two birds sitting in the tree advising Sigurd to kill Regin and find Brynhild.
  • Sigurd piercing the dragon Fafnir from below with his new sword Gram.

 

Sigríðr’s Family

Sö 101, U 617 and Sö 106 are all raised by the same aristocratic family of Sigríðr and her father in law Holmgeirr, and even relates to the Hakon Jarl Runestones (Hakon is mentioned on U 617).

 

The Kjula Runestone (Sö 106) Raised by Alríkr, Sigríðr’s son in memory of his father Spjót.

 

Translation of the inscription: “Alríkr, Sigríðr’s son, raised the stone in memory of his father Spjót, who had been in the west, broken down and fought in townships. He knew all the journey’s fortresses.”

 

The Ramsund Carving (Sö 101) Made by Sigríðr, Sigrøðr’s wife, in memory of her father in law Holmgeirr.

 

Translation of the inscription: “Sigríðr, Alríkr’s mother, Ormr’s daughter, made this bridge for the soul of Holmgeirr, father of Sigrøðr, her husbandman.”

 

The Bro Runestone (U 617) Raised by Ginnlaug, Holmgeirr’s daughter in memory of her husband, Ôzurr, son of earl Hákon.

 

Translation of the inscription: “Ginnlaug, Holmgeirr’s daughter, Sigrøðr and Gautr’s sister, she had this bridge made and this stone raised in memory of Ôzurr, her husbandman, earl Hákon’s son. He was the viking watch with Geitir(?). May God now help his spirit and soul.”

 

———

Ramsundsberget, Mora, Södermanland, Sweden

Sö 101

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