Cursed Stone of Glavendrup

Denmark is well supplied with runic inscriptions, in the village of Glavendrup on the central island Funen there is a huge rune stone with the longest inscription, and it has a curse on it. The Glavendrup Stone Ship and runestone are dates from the early 10th century, the middle of the Viking age. It has 60 meters or 67 yards long, and has a runic stone at its Western end. The runestone forms the end of a stone ship. There are other megaliths in the vicinity, including memorial stones with Latin characters from the early 20th century. In the stone ship, nine graves have been found, but they were all empty. The stone was found in 1794, narrowly missed being turned into building material in 1808, and finally placed where we can see it today in 1906. Glavendrup runestone is located a 15 minute drive Northwest of Odense Airport on Funen.

The Glavendrup Runestone

The inscription tells a story that the stone is dedicated to the memory of a man named Alle (Ali), and was placed there by his wife (Ragnhild) and sons, and blessed by the god Thor. It has been noted that Thor is the only Norse god who is invoked on any Viking Age runestones. And then it ends with a curse threatening to turn anyone who tampers with the stone or drags it away, into a “raete” (rita). Strangely enough present day rune experts have no idea what a “raete” is, but it is used as a threat in several other connections. However Ragnhild, wasn't just married to Alle, Ragnhild also had another runic stone made for another husband named Gunulf, known as the Tryggevaelde Runic Stone, carved by the same rune carver, Sote (Soti). The Tryggevaelde Runic Stone was originally placed near the East coast of Zealand but has been moved to the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen.

Here is the Old Norse translation from the inscription that carved on the Glavendrup stone:
A: Ragnhildr setti stein þessa eptir Ála sölva, véaliðs heiðverðan þegn.
B: Ála synir gerðu kumbl þessa eptir föður sinn ok hans kona eptir ver sinn, en Sóti reist rúnar þessa eptir dróttin sinn. Þórr vígi þessa rúnar.
C: At rita sá verði er stein þenna elti eða eptir annan dragi.

English translation:
A: ‘Ragnhildr placed this stone in memory of Áli the pale (?), the worthy thane of the véalið (‘army of the shrines’).
B: Áli’s sons made this monument in memory of their father, and his wife for her husband, but Sóti carved these runes in memory of his lord. May Thor consecrate these runes.
C: May he become a rita who removes (lit. ‘puts to flight’) this stone or distorts it after (i.e. for) someone else.’

According to McKinnell, Simek & Dwell (2004) this inscription is carved on the three sides of a very large reddish granite boulder (height 1.88 m, width of side A 1.42 m, of side B 1.59 m, of side C 55cm) that serves as the ‘prow-post’ of a ship-setting made of large stones. It is the longest surviving runic inscription in Denmark. The Ragnhildr who is named here also commissioned the Tryggevælde stone, Zealand, in memory of her (previous?) husband; it ends with a very similar curse, but does not include the dedication to Thor.

In C, rita (rata, ræta) may be interpreted as ‘sorcerer?’, and ‘to become a rita’ must mean something shameful along similar lines; this is at least implied by a connection with the term ergi ‘passive sexual perversion’ on the Saleby rune-stone. The definition of rita as a ‘pejorative term for an evil-doer’, a sorcerer (warlock) or ‘fiend’ is perhaps too mild a euphemism for what is meant. This kind of formula is found on a total of seven Danish runestones and although three of them are from Northern Jutland, there are also examples from Fyn, Zealand, Scania and Västergötland. The verbal form ailti (here 3rd pers. subj.) should probably be interpreted as ‘who damages’ or ‘who destroys’. It might possibly refer to removal and re-use of the stone for another similar monument.

In view of this, the end of the Glavendrup inscription might also be translated literally ‘or drags it away to commemorate someone else’; however this boulder is so massive that it would be very difficult to remove it physically.

Sources:
Gods and Mythological Beings in the Younger Futhark in Runes, Magic and Religion : A Sourcebook by McKinnell, J. and Simek, R. and Dwel, K. (2004);
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 “Dane-lore: 10 of the Weirdest Sites in Denmark” by: Dr. Lars Thomas;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glavendrup_stone;
http://www.vikingdenmark.com/glavendrup-stone-ship-runic-stone-funen-denmark.html

Pic Source:
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 page 23
Cursed Stone of Glavendrup Cursed Stone of Glavendrup Reviewed by Tripzibit on 04:42 Rating: 5

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