a name given to the letters of the alphabet by heathen Teutonic tribes prior to their coming under the influence of Roman civilisation; are formed almost invariably of straight lines, and scarcely exist except in inscriptions dating back to A.D. 1; found chiefly in Scandinavia, also in Britain. There are three runic alphabets (much alike), the oldest being the Gothic of 24 letters or runes. They are now believed to have first come into use among the Goths in the 6th century B.C., and to be a modified form of the old Greek alphabet introduced by traders.

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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