Fehu

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Name
"livestock, wealth"
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter fehu.svg
Unicode
U+16A0
Transliteration f
Transcription f
IPA [f]
Position in rune-row 1

The Fe rune (Old Norse ; Old English feoh) represents the f-sound in the Younger Futhark and Futhorc alphabets. Its name means "(mobile) wealth", cognate to English fee with the original meaning of "sheep" or "cattle" (Dutch Vee, German Vieh, Latin pecum, Sanskrit pashu).

The rune derives from the unattested but reconstructed Proto-Germanic *fehu in the Elder Futhark alphabet, with the original meaning of "money, cattle, wealth".[1]

The corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet is 𐍆 f, called faihu. Such correspondence between all rune poems and the Gothic letter name, as well, is uncommon, and gives the reconstructed name of the Old Futhark a high degree of certainty.

The shape of the rune is likely based on Etruscan v 𐌅 F, like Greek Digamma Ϝ and Latin F ultimately from Phoenician waw w.

Rune poems[edit]

The name is recorded in all three rune poems:

Rune Poem:[2] English Translation:

Old Norwegian
Fé vældr frænda róge;
føðesk ulfr í skóge.


Wealth is a source of discord amongst kin;
the wolf lives in the forest.

Old Icelandic
Fé er frænda róg
ok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir.


Wealth is a source of discord amongst kin
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.

Anglo-Saxon
Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;
sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan.


Wealth is a comfort to all;
yet must everyone bestow it freely,
if they wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Page, Raymond I. (2005) Runes. The British Museum Press. p. 15. ISBN 0-7141-8065-3
  2. ^ Original poems and translation from the Rune Poem Page.