

Or: ... calculating words cleverly calculated
If today we speak about „magic“, we tend to think in terms of witchcraft, which suspends the law of nature. In the Middle Ages, however, they understood "magic" in terms of power over things (OE magan = can; mæg = he can). Behind the concrete things they suspected hidden forces that determine their kind. It would therefore be possible to gain power over things, if one knew the formulas to which they obey, in this context name and number^{1}. From this point of view a rune (e.g. the rune which stands for ‘victory’) was the very thing itself, while the individual victory (e.g. Titus’s victory over the Jews) was just one occurrence of this kind. Since the sign (rune) represents the thing in itself, it was considered more real than the individual phenomenon. And since these runes have a numerically definable position in the runic row, the number turns into an organizing principle of magic quality. Thus the 24 runes of the fuþark were divided into three groups of 8 runes each (aett, pl. ættir). The rune , for example, is number 17 (position and value) in the runic row of 24 and in the 3rd aett number 1 (3/1)^{2}. Thus the system of 24 runes defines things by their runic names, numbers and values. To know them meant to gain power over the phenomena.
But all over again:
The Germanic runic row , fuþark, was composed of
The grune, stands for gifu, gift, a very important source of income those days, when salary was not yet heard of. And as all the Thenumber of runes (24) in the older fuþark does not result from the number of sounds needed to be transcribed. The row of 24 serves numeric purposes along with magic. Just like each rune each number has its particular meaning: Eleven (11) refers to elves, 3 is divine, 9 even more so, 4 and 8 times of it even more so. The product of all that mixes the cocktail: Inscriptions could number 24, 48 or 72 runes, sometimes 240, 480 or 720 symbols. Or 12 times 300, or, or or … There was a meaning with all numbers, a meaning which is fairly uncertain today.
Apart from 11, the numbers
Applied to runic texts this means: Inscriptions composed of a certain number of symbols
When  due to consonant shifting  the Germanic fuþark had changed into the AngloFrisian fuþorc of first As remains to be seen, the runemaster developed such perfection at runes and values that they constitute a real challenge to our pocket calculators.
^{1} Helmut Birkhan, Magie im Mittelalter (München 2010) refers to 'magic and mantic (i.e. soothsaying) as forces guaranteeing the coherence of the cosmos. ^{2} For ætir see K. Düwel, Runenkunde (2001), S.182 ff, Verschlüsselungen und Geheimrunen  runische Kryptographie. ^{3} Heinz Klingenberg (Runenschrift – Schriftdenken – Runeninschriften, Heidelberg 1973) figured the runic value of the front panel 720 and thus came to the same result as we, indepently from him. 



