Stentoften Stone

‘Níu hǫbrumR, níu hængistumR, HǫþuwolfR gaf [ár]. HæriwolfR mægiu’s nú hlé.(?) HæiðiR rúno [ru]no felh ek heðra, ginnorúnoR. HermalausaR ærgiu, weladauþ[R], sa þat briutið.’
‘With nine billy goats, with nine stallions, Hǫþuwolf gave harvest. Hæriwolf is now shelter for [his] son. A sequence of heavenly runes I conceal hither, mighty runes. Protectionless(?) because of cowardice, killed by treachery, [be] he [who] breaks this [monument].’

The Stentoften Runestone (DR 357) is one in a series of runestones from Blekinge all connected to one clan/family.

The first sentence describes Hǫþuwolf, apparently the head of the clan, sacrificing nine goats and nine horses towards a successful harvest, comparable to Adam of Bremen’s description of the sacrifices made at the Temple of Uppsala.

The second sentence is debatable, but we know from the Istaby Runestone (to be presented next week) that Hæriwolf died before Hǫþuwolf, so perhaps the implication is that Hæriwolf is now watching over his son as a spirit.

The third sentence describes the ‘bright’ and ‘mighty runes’ being hidden. The runestone was discovered with the inscription side down, and if it was placed that way to begin with then the inscription reads true. (The emendation of ‘runono’ to ‘runo [ru]no’ is based on the Björketorp Runestone, to be presented soon.)

The last sentence is a familiar curse against any who might damage the stone. The meaning of the first element of the first word is obscure, but here I follow Antonsen (A Concise Grammar of the Older Runic Inscriptions) in relating it to Old High German and Old Saxon ‘skirm/skerm,’ meaning ‘cover, shelter,’ from the Proto-Indo-European root *(s)ker-.

Photo: Stentoftenstenen by Henrik Sendelbach, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Link
(Side B not pictured.)

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