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2016 | 21 | 13-20

Article title

Inskrypcja na grocie rozwadowskiej włóczni (KJ 35): ik eruls czy ik erlas?


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Title variants

The Rozwadów spearhead inscription (KJ 35): ik eruls or ik erlas?

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The paper discusses two possible interpretations of the (East Germanic?) runic inscription found in Rozwadów, Poland (KJ35), which reads ]krlus. Two alternatives are proposed: (1) [i]k (e)r(u)ls, and (2) [i]k (e)rlas, both with the meaning ‘I belong to the Heruli’. The first alternative assumes that the rune kaunan is a remainder of the first person personal pronoun ik ‘I’ known from Gothic, whereas the preceding rune isaz has been destroyed as the spearhead is broken just before kaunan. Then, the expected rune ehwaz is absent; we can either guess it was destroyed, or never written at all. The last assumption here is a metathesis of uruz and laguz from the intended *eruls to the attested (e)rlus, and the syncope in a-stems. The second alternative is similar but it argues that the last but one rune should be read ansuz, not uruz, and moreover, it assumes neither the metathesis of uruz and laguz, nor the syncope in a-stems. If the inscription ]krlus is to be read [i]k (e)r(u)ls, it would contain the only known Germanic attestation of a continuant of the Proto-Germanic *erulaz, later to yield the Old Norse form *jǫrull. If, on the other hand, it is to be interpreted as [i]k (e)rlas, it would be the only attestation of a continuant of the Proto-Germanic form *erlaz predating Old Norse jarl. Both hypotheses show that the inscription is of great importance for the studies on the (phonetic) development of the word known from Proto-Nordic as erilar.


  • Høgskolen i Sørøst-Norge, Drammen


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