Ælfred versus Alfred

You may have seen this strange squished-together “ae” before, on the spine of a dusty old Encyclopædia on grandfather’s book shelf. This ligature is the Anglo-Saxon letter ash, and though it is rarely used these days, I find it quite beautiful. Ash is the fourth letter of the elder futhark, and the twenty-sixth letter of the Anglo-Saxon futhark, or runic alphabet, and is drawn like the modern capital letter F with the two arms angled downwards.
Ash Rune

Ash Rune

The world tree, Yggdrasil, is an ash, the great tree from which Woden (Odin) hung for nine days and received the gift of writing.
I wish to reclaim this beautiful letter, and so use it for both Ælfwyn and Ælfred. I hope your eye soon becomes accustomed to it, and learns to welcome it as much as I do. There are two other letters that you will find in Old English and Old Norse (and modern Icelandic, still so similar to Old Norse): The letter Thorn: Þ (uppercase) and þ (lowercase); and Eth: Ð (uppercase) and ð (lowercase). Þ is sounded like “th” in the, and Eth as “th” in thing.
Thorn and Eth

Thorn and Eth

{ 0 comments. read them below or… add one }

Leave a Comment

Book One Free!
Read the Best Selling Circle of
Ceridwen Saga - Free. Over
200,000 words of action and
adventure. Free when you join
the Circle - my mailing list.
the_circle_of_ceriowen_book_one_small - _ -

Send My Book!