Further reading

Beilin, Elaine. "'Some Freely Spake Their Mind': Resistance in Anne Dowriche's French Historie." In Women Writing and the Reproduction of Culture in Tudor and Stuart Britain, edited by Mary Burke, et al., 119-140. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2000. Dowriche, Anne. The French Historie: That Is, A Lamentable Discourse of Three of the Chiefe, and Most Famous Bloodie Broiles that Have Happened in France for the Gospell of Jesus Christ. Women Writers Online. Brown University Women Writer's Project. Available online. URL: http:// textbase.wwp.brown.edu. Downloaded on February 14, 2006.

Lysbeth Em Benkert futhark alphabet (futhorc,

FUTHORK, RUNES) Runes date to the time before Christianity arrived in northern Europe, and because of this, they became associated in later times with non-Christian religions. The runic alphabet is called futhark after the first six letters of the alphabet— f, u, th, a, r, and k. The futhark alphabet consists of 24 letters, 18 consonants, and six vowels. Traditionally, these are divided into three groups of eight, called xttir (singular ®tt). Some scholars believe that futhark is related to other early inscription systems, such as ogham, but no direct evidence connects these. Like other runic languages, the runes stood both for individual letters and for individual words.

The earliest extant runic inscriptions date to ca. 200 c.e. Most are found on hard surfaces—stone, wood, metal—which explains the angular nature of the letters. For some time, futhark coexisted with the Latin alphabet, though in England it began to decline around the ninth century. It did not survive the Norman Conquest.

The futhark alphabet provided an important grapheme, the thorn (^), as an addition to the Latin alphabet. Since Latin does not contain the sound combination th, early representations of Old English used the thorn to represent the sound. old English poetry also reflects the usage of runes. Beowulf, for instance, contains several instances of the rune ethel ("homeland"). The Ruthwell cross preserves a large portion of the dream vision poem The Dream of the Rood in runes, lending a glimpse into early graphic systems and poetic composition.

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