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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


Chant Avedissian (Egypt), King Farouk and Queen Nazli, two stencils made using pigments and gum Arabic on recycled cardb

© 2006 Chant Avedissian

Queen Nazli

King Farouk

King Farouk

These two paintings are by the Egyptian artist Chant Avedissian. One is of King Farouk of Egypt, who became king in 1936 and assumed full constitutional authority the following year when he came of age. He died in 1965. The other painting is of his mother Queen Nazli, who was married to Farouk's father King Fouad. She outlived both her husband and son, dying 1978.

When King Farouk came to the throne he was a focus of hope for Egyptian nationalists and Islamists, but many of them turned against him by the 1940s. He remained at the centre of a dazzling social scene: Cairo at that time attracted statesmen, spies and film stars who were to make Egypt the intellectual and cultural capital of the Middle East. His mother became a focus of glamorous intrigue.

King Farouk was overthrown in the revolution of 1952. This portrait is inspired by an early portrait of him and shows him in full regalia. In the background is an Ottoman textile design with his insignia superimposed upon it.

Avedissian has a strong interest in traditional arts and local materials. He has worked in a wide range of media, including photography and textiles, and has used stencils on cardboard since about 1990.