Deciphered Viking Code Reveals Ancient 'Text Messages'

Deciphered Viking Code Reveals Ancient 'Text Messages'

A Norwegian runologist has cracked an ancient Viking code that was used for frequent communication, similar to modern text messaging.

An ancient code that dates back to 12th or 13th-century Scandinavia has been deciphered by runologist K Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo. Rather than conceal sensitive information, Nordby believes the code was used for more everyday purposes.

Known as the jötunvillur code, the cipher is found on only nine inscriptions, all from different parts of Scandinavia, and has never been interpreted before. Nordby cracked the code after studying a 13-century stick on which two men had carved their name in both code and in standard runes.

"The thing that solved it for me was seeing these two old Norse names, Sigurd and Lavrans, and after each of them was this combination of runes which made no sense," said Nordby, who is writing his doctorate on cryptography in runic inscriptions from the Viking Age and the Scandinavian Middle Ages.
Nordby says that the sticks on which the code has been written are "everyday objects, so you often find names on them, either because they used them to communicate that it was something they wanted to keep or sell, or for practicing writing, or because they were talking about people so names occur frequently".

While many rune sticks have been excavated, just a few use codes, and even fewer use the jötunvillur code. "They were used to communicate, like the SMSes of the Middle Ages - they were for frequent messages which had validity in the here and now," Nordby said. "Maybe a message to a wife, or a transaction." The runologist pointed out one example that is believed to say "kiss me."

Nordby also believes that codes like jötunvillur could have had educational purposes. "It seems more and more clear that coded runes were not for keeping secrets, not for sensitive communications such as during the Second World War, or like for today's secure communications," he said. "But that actually, they were used to get to know the alphabet, or rune names. What if codes were used like a game, playing with a system? With jötunvillur, you had to learn the names of runes, so I think codes were used in teaching, in learning to write and read runes."

I wonder what future cryptographers and historians will have to say about text speech.

Source: The Guardian
Image source: Henrik Sendelbach

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Sigurd wrote: "yo dude whatcha doing?"
Lavrans wrote: "oh nothing, just raiding some village in northern France LOL (Looting Out Loud)"

I'm a bit confused here, so they're like SMS from today, but they might've been used to teach the alphabet? WHAT? The first thing that came to mind was ona Viking writing "yo wassup?" in a piece of wood and throwing it really far so another one would read it.

Future cryptographers will find our ancient texts, all saved on one of the mighty Google database backups.
They will read them and come to the only possible conclusion:

The people of the 21:st century were idiots.

Translation: U mad, bro? *trollface*

C'mon, it'd be perfect.

Someone clearly doesn't understand what "texting" means let alone Emails and IMs are. What's this? Posting - a method of communication which has been around for centuries is also similar to texting, Emails and IMs?!?!

Source: The Guardian

yeah ill wait for somone with actual sources to confirm this. But this does sound very likely. people like to do "texting" and always did. its just that modern technology finally enabled us to do it very cheaply and easily.

 

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