Passion and desire
People also used runes to write about love and sex. Several rune-sticks from the German Wharf in Bergen tell of throbbing hearts and hot love. Examples are:
‘I love another man’s wife so much that fire seems
cold to me.’
‘Love me, I love you; Gunnhildr, kiss me.’
‘Ingibjörg slept with me when I was in Stavanger.’
In the display are four objects from medieval Oslo – all with runes concerning passion and desire. They mainly concern love between men and women.
The large rib-bone has runes on both sides written by two people in a dialogue. The first asks what was written in the Church of the Holy Cross in Oslo. The rude answer on the side we see here is: ‘Óli is unwiped behind and fucked in the arse’.
1. ‘Nikulás loves so much the woman called Gýríðr, the stepdaughter of Pitas-Ragna.’ Decorated wooden wheel (spindle whorl) from Oslo. 1100s/1200s?
2. ‘The man who carved these runes loves you, Þordís.’/ [‘Þóra, I know how to make love.’] Cow rib from Oslo. 1200–1250.
3. [‘How did that statement go that you carved in the Church of the Holy Cross? ???.’] / ‘Óli is unwiped behind and fucked in the arse.’ ‘???. That went well!’ Rib from Oslo. 1200–1250.
4. ‘Ása loves St(einn?).’ / [‘I know.’] Rib fragment from Oslo. 1125–1175.
All photos: Eirik Irgens Johnsen © Museum of Cultural History