ᛈ byþ symble plega. and hlehter
wlancum ðar wigan sittaþ
on beor sele bliþe æt somne ᛬᛫
It is a feast game and laughter
For proud sitting to battle there
In the beer hall peacefully united.
Nobody knows what this is for certain. The only time we ever see the word peorð in Old English is in lists of rune names, so we only know what the Rune Poem riddle says, that it is what it is. We don’t even have all the clues we need to identify it. The Peorð stanza has a hole right in its very center. In the first half of the second line a word most likely starting with W, so it can alliterate with wlancum, is missing. What? Why? Was it at the edge of a crumbling page? Did the vellum dry and split through the word? Did a worm eat it? Did a scribe forget to copy it? The Rune Poem exists in only one copy of a manuscript that tragically burned in a fire, so we don’t know. We know the missing word is not wlancum, the dative plural … More
Old English poetry was performed, probably sung, for purposes beyond mere entertainment. The Germanic tribes Tacitus visited at the end of the first century would prep for battle by barding, which he called “a peculiar kind of verse” sung to stimulate their courage and to divine the outcome of the coming fight through the quality of the sound itself. Tacitus tells us about these peculiar verses almost immediately in his report back to the empire, so you know it was impressive. It would be. Imagine it: he says the people would put their battle shields to their mouths, perhaps in them, and sing. A shield as a musical instrument. Their favorite sounds were “a harsh piercing note and a broken roar,” which “does not seem so much an articulate song, as the wild chorus of valor.” What were the words? Were they the names of the gods? An appeal for their protection? A … More
Something’s missing. It’s missing and what it is exactly is unclear. What is clear is that you will soon have time for fun and recreation so lean into it. Gather together with friends, peacefully united, and play. Play hard, this is a battle.
Voiceless bilabial stop. Send air through your mouth, now stop it, now start. If you vibrate your vocal cords you make a B. This is not that, keep your larynx still and put a little extra air into it. Perfect.
Carve a line down. Now carve a bent line at the top. Mirror that line on the bottom, make a cup on its side. You can put dice in it or a drink, it’s a toss up. Don’t spill.