Franks Casket (Front Panel)

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For the front panel, I will not go into a lengthy description of the central images, which present themes from Germanic legend (Wayland the Smith) and Christian tradition (the Adoration of the Magi—note the runic inset ᛗᚫᚷᛁ mægi ‘Magi’) but are unrelated to the runic text. Here below I give the text, clockwise from the top.

ᚠᛁᛋᚳ·ᚠᛚᚩᛞᚢ·    ᚪᚻᚩᚠᚩᚾᚠᛖᚱᚷ
fisc·flodu·    ahofonferg




Here is the text in verse format, with alliterating letters boldfaced. The first two lines make up a short riddle that tells where the material of the “casket” came from—a beached whale. The third line (=the text on the left of the panel) names the material.

fisc flodu ahof on fergen-berig,
warþ gas-ric grorn þær he on greut giswom.
hronæs ban.

1 flodu masc u ‘flood’—ahof VI ā-hebban 3 sg pres ind ‘lifted up’; fisc is its direct object, so that this sentence reads as OSV—fergen-berig firgen-beorh ‘mountain-cliff’

2 warþ III weorþan ‘became’—gas-ric ‘raging creature’; cf. Ic geisa ‘to rage’ and the proper name Geisaricus < *gaisa-rīkijaz (?) ‘raging ruler’—grorn ‘troubled, sad’—greut grēot ‘sand, dry land’—giswom III ge-swimman

3 hronæs sg gen ‘whale’s’—ban neut a ‘bone’

The flood lifted the fish up onto a mountain-cliff;
the raging creature became sad when he swam onto dry land.
Whale’s bone.


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