‘Ragnhildr sætti stæin þænnsi aft Alla, Sǫlva goða, véa liðs, hæiðværðan þegn. Alla synir gærðu kumbl þausi aft faður sinn auk hans kona aft ver sinn. En Sóti ræist rúnar þæssi aft dróttin sinn. Þórr vígi þæssi rúnar.’
‘Ragnhild set this stone after Alli, the “gođi” of the Sǫlvar, the “vé” of the retinue, a noble thane. Alli’s sons made these memorials after their father and his wife after her husband. And Sóti carved these runes after his lord. May Thór hallow these runes.’
The Glavendrup Runestone (DR 209) offers us a glimpse into the society of Pagan Denmark. It stands at one end of a stone ship, a type of monument often built overtop of graves, representing the journey over a body of water to the afterlife. Nine graves were found within the outline of the ship, suggesting continued use of the monument over time.
The man after whom the runestone was raised is said to be a ‘goði,’ a word used for a secular leader in the Icelandic Commonwealth, but as stated in the Landnámabók, the ‘goði’ was originally a Pagan priest, which is clear from its obvious derivation from Old Norse ‘goð,’ meaning ‘god.’
He was also a ‘vé,’ another religious title, derived from Common Germanic *wíhaz meaning ‘holy.’ (Compare: Gothic ‘weiha’ and ‘weihs’).
Finally, he was a ‘þegn,’ a ‘thane,’ which is recognizable to an English speaker as a type of lower nobility.
The Pagan nature of this stone is cemented by Sóti’s invocation of Thor, the formula of which is used on several runestones from the Pagan period.
(The last part of the inscription will be covered next week.)