Berkanan

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Name
Bjarken/Bjarkan
"birch" "birch"/"poplar"? "birch"
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter berkanan.svg Runic letter berkanan.svg B rune short-twig.svg
Unicode
U+16D2
U+16D3
Transliteration b
Transcription b
IPA [β] [b] [b], [p]
Position in rune-row 18 13

*Berkanan is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the b rune , meaning "birch". In the Younger Futhark it is called Bjarken in the Icelandic rune poem and Bjarkan in the Norwegian rune poem. In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem it is called beorc ("birch" or "poplar"). The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐌱 b, named bairkan.

The letter shape is likely directly based on Old Italic B 𐌁, whence also the Latin letter B.

The rune is recorded in all three rune poems:

Rune Poem:[1] English Translation:

Old Norwegian
Bjarkan er laufgrønstr líma;
Loki bar flærða tíma.


Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.

Old Icelandic
Bjarkan er laufgat lim
ok lítit tré
ok ungsamligr viðr.
abies buðlungr.


Birch is a leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.

Anglo-Saxon
Beorc byþ bleda leas, bereþ efne swa ðeah
tanas butan tudder, biþ on telgum wlitig,
heah on helme hrysted fægere,
geloden leafum, lyfte getenge.


The poplar bears no fruit;
yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Original poems and translation from the Rune Poem Page.