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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.

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finger-ring

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    AF.1869

  • Description

    Finger-ring; gold, hollow hoop with transverse ribs and rays on the shoulders, from each of which bifurcating supports rise to a boat-shaped bezel containing a cabochon sapphire held by four claws; round the hoop, legend in relief on a ground keyed for enamel.

  • Date

    • 14thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 1.25 inches
    • Weight: 100 grains
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Gothic
      • Inscription Position

        hoop
      • Inscription Language

        Old English
      • Inscription Content

        alc god wils act beter c m
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Dalton 1912, Catalogue of Finger Rings:
    This might have been included in Class F (Inscribed Rings), but so much of its interest lies in its form and the style of its setting that it seemed best to keep it among rings of a similar appearance.

    Text from Ward, Cherry et al, 'The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century,' London 1981, pl. 157.
    The shoulders of the hollow hoop of this gold ring are decorated with ribs; from each of the ribs two supports rise to the prominent bezel in which a sapphire is held by four claws. The outside of the hoop is decorated with rays at the shoulders and a black-letter inscription reserved against a hatched ground that was formerly enamelled. The legend reads: ALS GOD WILS ACT BETER CM ('As god wills, do better cm'). The language clearly indicates an English origin, but the shape of the elaborate bezel and the use of curved supports to relate it to the hoop recall the ring found at Hornsey (Pl. 136).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Ward et al 1981 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1912 1830 bibliographic details
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1897

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    AF.1869

Finger-ring; gold, hollow hoop with transverse ribs and rays on the shoulders, from each of which bifurcating supports rise to a boat-shaped bezel containing a cabochon sapphire held by four claws; round the hoop, legend in relief on a ground keyed for enamel.

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Object reference number: MCM2507

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