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Runic Inscriptions

14 15 The Ruthwell Cross towers over seventeen feet high and is contained within the Ruthwell Church in Dumfries and Galloway, close to its original site. This runestone is perhaps the most impressive and elaborate piece of eighth century Northumbrian art and craftsmanship in the country. It displays the longest recorded rune passage in the British Isles, with several additional new rune forms appearing, lengthening the existing Fu orc into the Northumbrian Rune Row of about thirtythree characters. Although now worn and incomplete the passage details a variant Northumbrian dialect and theme of the early English Poem The Dream Of The Rood. The poem is recorded later in the Vercelli Codex in Italy in which the Cross itself speaks of the trials of Christ. This earlier version, with its strongly heathen overtones, may have utilised existing beliefs to enrich the newer story of the Crucifixion during the AngloSaxon conversion. Parallel Heathen myths such as the similar sacrifice of Woden upon the world tree or the resurrection of Balder are themes the poem may have touched upon. the ruthwell cross pagan poems, evolving rune schools
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