Home R - panel (Left Side) - The Inscription: Romulus und Remus

The Inscription: Romulus and Remus

Again we start our reading on the left edge. Like on the front panel the reading runs from left to right and on the bottom rim from right to left, but now not retrograde but upside down. Thus we read, now divided into measure (//):

  oÞlæ unneg //
Romwalus and Reumwalus // twoegen
a* // fœddæ hiæ wylif // in Romæcæstri3-Rune

* this a may be the last letter of the preceding, rather than the anlaut of the following word.As the carver seems to be aiming at the pattern t f g (glory by wealth and gift, i.e.largesse), the a-rune a-Rune may have been put for numeric reasons only.

un-near home:
Romulus and Remus, two brothers,
the she-wolf raised them in Romburg

Without any doubt this inscription refers to the picture it frames, though the phrase "un-near home" is normally regarded to be a comment on the situation the twins are in, and put at the end of the reading. But Alba Longa is not far from home; and the twins - sons of the Roman God of War, Mars - most likely suffered more from hunger than from homesickness.

It is suggestive to think of an introducing magic formula. It is composed of 9 runes, just like hronæs ban on the F-Panel and like her fegtaÞ on the T-Panel.

The text following that formula starts in the upper left corner - a very relevant spot - with the rune r-Rune in the name Romwalus, which alliterates with Reumwalus and Romæcæstri. It does not form two complete stanzas of three alliterations each; it consists of half stanzas, each with two syllables stressed. At this point we have another look at the phrase "... twoegen gibroðær a // foeddæ ...". Here the rune t-Rune - symbol for power and glory - is accompanied by the runes f-Rune - symbol for wealth - and g-Rune - gift, symbol for largesse, in this case with regard to the retainers. Admittedly, this would be mere speculation, if the T-panel did not show the same pattern. In order to achieve this the carver added the lacking g changing the correct form iuþeas into an odd form giuþeas. By the way, if he had not done that the rune i-Rune (ice) in iuþeas might have spelt "death" instead.

The name-forms Romwalus and Reumwalus are quite unusual. But walu in Northumbrian means 'slaughter, carnage' and as a plural 'dead bodies', which fits quite well to the twins' task as sons of Mars and helpers at battle. The runes (so called 'tree' or twig runes') hidden in the roots of their trees (see below) also spell 'death'.

r-Rune (rad) stands for "ride" or "travel" and thus hints at the topic of the panel: On the way to war.

The inscription concludes with three dots. If a single dot stands for the first rune (f-Rune) three dots arranged in one (upright) line may represent the third rune (T-Rune, thorn), which originally belonged to the god "Thor". And he was seen as a son of the Germanic god of war, Woden/Odin, almost identical with the Roman twins, who were believed to be the sons of Mars, the Roman god of war.


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