Ansuz (rune)

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Name
Óss
"god" "god"; "oak"; "ash" "god"
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter ansuz.svg Runic letter os.svg Runic letter ac.svg Runic letter ansuz.svg Long-branch Oss.svg Short-twig Oss.svg
Unicode
U+16A8
ᚩ ᚪ ᚫ
U+16A9
U+16AA
U+16AB
U+16AC
U+16AD
Transliteration a o; a; æ o
Transcription a o; a; æ ą, o
IPA [a(ː)] [o(ː)]; [ɑ(ː)]; [æ(ː)] [ɑ̃], [o(ː)]
Position in rune-row 4 4; 25; 26 4

Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark, . The name is based on Common Germanic *ansuz "a god, one of the main deities in Germanic paganism".

The Younger Futhark corresponding to the Elder Futhark Ansuz rune is , called óss. It is transliterated as ą. The Anglo-Saxon futhorc split the Elder Futhark a rune into three independent runes due to the development of the vowel system in Anglo-Frisian. These three runes are ōs (transliterated o), æsc "ash" (transliterated æ) and ac "oak" (transliterated a).

The shape of the rune is likely from Neo-Etruscan a (EtruscanA-01.png), like Latin A ultimately from Phoenician aleph.

Name[edit]

In the Norwegian rune poem, óss is given a meaning of "estuary" while in the Anglo-Saxon one, ōs takes the Latin meaning of "mouth". The Younger Futhark rune is transliterated as ą to distinguish it from the new ár rune (ᛅ), which continues the jēran rune after loss of prevocalic *j- in Proto-Norse *jár (Old Saxon jār).

Since the name of Gothic a.svg a is attested in the Gothic alphabet as ahsa or aza, the common Germanic name of the rune may thus either have been *ansuz "god", or *ahsam "ear (of wheat)".

Rune poems[edit]

Variations of the rune in Younger Futhark.

In the Icelandic rune poem, the name óss refers to Odin:

Óss er algingautr
ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
ok valhallar vísi.
Jupiter oddviti.
Óss is aged Gautr
and prince of Ásgardr
and lord of Vallhalla.