In following out certain inquiries as to the history and connection of early Alphabets, it became necessary that I should make myself acquainted with what had been written on the origin of the Runes. It speedily became manifest that none of the current theories on the subject were sufficient to explain the facts. A re-examination of the conditions of the problem gradually led to the wholly unexpected conclusions which are set forth in the following pages. I have thought it best to publish these results in a separate form, instead of including them in a larger forthcoming work on the History of the Alphabet, because it seemed needful, in putting forth a theory so entirely novel, to state the argument with greater fullness of detail, and in a more technical form, than would be desirable or a more technical form, than would be desirable or proportionate in a more comprehensive work. When this book was ready for the press I accidentally discovered that Eask, the greatest of Scandinavian scholars, believed that the view which I have advocated would ultimately prove to be the true solution of the problem of the Runes. I do not find, however, that he ever worked out the details of the theory or even formally propounded it.
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