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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


John Martin, The Fall of Babylon, a mezzotint with etching

John Martin, The Fall of Babyl

Height: 464.000 mm
Width: 719.000 mm

PD Mm.10-6

John Martin (1789-1854) first interpreted the biblical scene of the destruction of Babylon in a huge painting exhibited at the British Institution in 1819. The scene draws on Jeremiah 51:58, which says 'The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain...'

The romantic reconstruction of Martin's image illustrates both the Tower of Babel and, on the right, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Claudius James Rich (1786-1821) had discovered the remains of the city of Babylon by the time Martin produced his painting and prints from it. Rich's discovery was a great inspiration to artists and writers. Like Martin, however, they did not necessarily base their interpretations on the archaeological evidence that Rich unearthed.