Since ancient times Rune readings have played an important role in Northern European cultures. In his book "germania" Tacitus, a Roman historian who lives some 2000 years ago, describes the casting of Runes as it was practiced by the Teutonic peoples. The oldest known runic inscription dates from approximately the same time. It is on an Alaman or Suebic helmet. On it a name is inscribed, probably of the owner of the helmet: The inscription on this helmet reads from the right to the left: HARIGASTI(Z)TEIWA (WULF)IL(A). Both, the Alamans and the Suebes were German tribes. The helmet was found in the lastcentury near Graz, Austria. It was dated to the years 6-9 c.e. (common era).The Germanic runes are essentially different from the ancient Greek and Roman alphabets. Runes have not been used on an everyday basis to write down trivial things. They served religious-cultic purposes and magic. Their magical power has been fully mastered only by a few Rune Masters. The Germanic peoples did not have a script for everyday usage.
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