http://www.northernway.org/school/onw/teutonic/runes.html

Prior to 200 BCE, certain purely magikal symbols such as the swastika, the cross, and the Sun-wheel were engraved on rocks in Northern Europe for ritual purposes. During the next four hundred years, these proto-runic symbols were adapted into the Germanic Elder Futhark alphabet composed of 24 characters. This is the oldest extant runic system (thus the name “Elder”), and is named Futhark after the first six letters of the alphabet (FUThARK).

 

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