Today we are talking about the runes. They are ancient to the point of prehistoric. The only thing necessary for something to be prehistoric is for it to have had its advent before written history. The first instances of runes as we know them today show up as ancient petroglyphs at various locations around northern Europe, but there is evidence to support that they trace back to earlier symbolism originating in the Caucas mountains.
Originally, they hadn’t assumed the seemingly abstract form we see today, and displayed a more obvious resemblance to the concepts behind them. They were originally pictographic and continued to follow that logic even if not the strict resemblance.
I’m reminded how an Inukshuk resembles a roughly formed man. That is an apt comparison, and there may even be cultural links.
So the evolution of the runes followed a progression perhaps not unlike the Asian characters, and had a spiritual connection perhaps rather much like Egyptian hieroglyphs to the point of being the singular province of a caste of shaman, or wise folk, before the information began to be spread more widely.
Are humans the only ones to leave runes? According to the lore, the runes existed before the human use of them. They weren’t created by humans so much as discovered.
Maybe a bear or cat scratching a tree is a rune? That is what inspired the runes and similar runic type script.
Did they also have a more mundane application, perhaps like a regular alphabet? They would come to have a mundane application later in their history as the native users sought ways to record names and stories.
But yes, the rune figures were found to show up all around nature, and many of the characters have apparently obvious connections to their conceptual meaning. The rune for elk looks like an elks horn, and the rune for yew looks like a tree. Some of the runes no longer bear an obvious connection to the original visual symbolism. An arch representing an ox and symbolizing strength, things like that, and the order of runes in a line of script was more conceptual than our own alphabet. The most common rune alphabet is called the Futhark, which isn’t a word but the sequence of initial characters, kind of like we call the alphabet the ABC’s.
Runes were the first language? They were one of the first languages yes, and the oldest languages on the planet do all have a pictographic origin. The other origin for alphabetic characters was in the cultures system of mathematics.
So a line of conceptual runes could be spoken, and thus could create a new word? Indeed. It’s how they came to use the runes as an alphabet, and why they can’t translate many of the oldest runic scripts.
Was Ogham later? Ogham was almost parallel to the runic. Ogham was based on their tree based symbolism. They even assigned a tree to the various moons of the year. This is how people got named sometimes, and is why we have names like Ash even today. It is possible to become literate in the Ogham script, at least in a sense. We don’t know for certain if we are keeping to the original intent of the script, but we may be very close.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.