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Runic Inscriptions

46 47 This intricately detailed silver gilt dragon with blue glass eyes dates from the ninth century and was once the frontispiece of a gabled Shrine. Seven and a half inches long, it was found on the bed of the Thames in the last century and now belongs to the British Museum. Translated into Old English the inscription defies straight forward interpretation. The first seven runes are repeated in the the thAmes FIttIng a magical cryptogram last eight characters of the inscription with the curious addition of the letter a. This compares with similar rearrangements of ciphered words in Old English code texts. Letter groups are also formed when the runes are translated into the Roman alphabet, in use at the same time. The unique grouping and layout of the characters indicate that the inscription probably represents a magical cryptogram. Remnants of the letter, word and sound magic that surrounded the runes are echoed here and probably precede the alphabet magic which flourished during the Middle Ages.
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