Franks Casket (Left Panel)

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The left panel of the Franks Casket depicts, among other figures, a wolf lying on her back suckling the legendary twins Romulus and Remus who would later found Rome.

Top
ᚱᚩᛗᚹᚪᛚᚢᛋᚪᚾᛞᚱᛖᚢᛗᚹᚪᛚᚢᛋᛏᚹᛟᚷᛖᚾ
romwalusandreumwalustwœgen

Right
ᚷᛁᛒᚱᚩᚦᚫᚱ
gibroþær

Bottom
ᚪᚠᛟᛞᛞᚫᚻᛁᚫᚹᚣᛚᛁᚠᛁᚾᚱᚩᛗᚫᚳᚫᛋᛏᚱᛁ
afœddæhiæwylifinromæcæstri

Left
ᚩᚦᛚᚫᚢᚾᚾᛖᚷ
oþlæunneg

The text of the left panel amounts to a short description of the scene:

Romwalus and Reumwalus twœgen gibroþær
afœdde hiæ wylif in romæcæstri
oþlæ unneg

1 Romwalus and Reumwalus are the foundational brothers of Roman myth, Romulus and Remus; their names are altered here to appear Germanic in origin—twœgen ‘two’; cf. archaic Eng twaingibroþær ‘brothers,’ with collective ge- to denote a famous or canonical group; cf. Ger die Gebrüder Grimm

2 afœddæ 1 ā-fēdan 3 sg pret ind ‘nourished, reared’ lit. ‘fed’—hiæ ‘them’; direct object of afœddæwylif ‘she-wolf’ < PIE *wl̥kʷíh2 cf. * wĺ̥kʷos ‘he-wolf’—romæcæstri dat sg ‘Rome’ lit. ‘Rome-town’; the second element, OE ceaster (cf. modern -chester in place-names), is a loan from Lat castra ‘encampment’ lit. ‘camps,’ the plural of castrum

3 oþlæ neut dat sg ‘heritage, homeland’ < *ōþalą, which is also the reconstructed name of the ᛟ rune; the standard West Saxon form is ēþel < *ōþilą, which explains the Anglo-Saxon value of /œ/ for ᛟ (which was replaced with ᚩ ōs ‘[pagan] god’ for denoting the /o/ sound); both of these variants are themselves the lengthened-grade ablaut variants of the root *aþal-/*aþil- ‘noble’—unneg ‘far’ lit. ‘not near’ with negating prefix un– + OE nēah ‘near, nigh’

Romulus and Remus, two brothers;
A she-wolf reared them in Rome
far from their homeland.

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