The runes of Grívf are mostly used as either a medium for the lyrics or bind runes, graphical riddles if one wills. The offset is either 16- or 24-futhark, with special regard to cipher runes. In addition to simple cryptography, I have also devised a number of other "ciphers", which I use in my runes. I have drawn inspiration from binary numbers and hexadecimal, as well as simple, classical cryptography methods.

Most of my runes end up in the albums, but some of the riddles I work out never find their way there. These end up on this page instead.
It is important to stress, that the runes of Grívf are *not* authentic. They are inspired by authentic methods, allright, but I have put so many new concepts in there that I can hardly call it viking/iron age runes anymore.

And by the way - everything here is copyrighted.

I've devised a new rune cipher, and I think it's pretty clever. I put it here with hopes that I might receive some feedback from the more g33ky rune users out there. And that some other nerd than me can find use of it.

Many rune writers find it a frustrating problem that there is no viking numerals available. To a lesser extent, roman numerals have been used by the vikings, but I believe I have found a much smarter system: Hexadecimal.
As we all know, there is 16 runes in the 16-futhark, I have earlier used this coincidence to create my very own rune cipher, the binary runes (click here for more info on that). But if we now count the runes as fe=0, ur=1, thorn=2 et cetera all the way to ygg=F, we have a numeral code available, which is much more apt to write large numbers than traditional binary is.

As owners of the Yggdrasil album might have noticed, I have used a sort of binary cipher runes to denote the number of each Hávamál stanza used in the cover. The binary number rune is the multiple Tyr looking tall rune next to each verse, and in the english translation, I have shown the number in arabic decimal.

Now, the trouble with binary numbers is that even though they are a simple system of writing, even small numbers like 793 require long strings to write (1100011001) - resulting in abnormally tall runes, which are not pretty fucking aestethic in the middle of a carving. So we move on to Hexadecimal and write 793 as 319, or in runes: oss-ur-iss.

So, that solves my problem of writing numbers. With three runes, I can write numbers up to 4095 (ygg-ygg-ygg). Also, Hexadecimal satisfies my fetish for numbers consisting of twos and threes (bearing that in mind, cipher rune users might have a laugh at the runes 2:3 and 3:2, considering my two surnames), instead og that crappy 2x5 business that is so common these days. Damn you, pentadactyly, damn you!

Now that we know how to define a number as a series of runes by converting it from decimal to hexadecimal and applying a simple monoalphabetic code, it should be evident that *any* number can be written as a rune word - and that any rune string can be calculated into a number (which by the way is too close to numerology to be cool, so that is not recommendable).

Well then. With all this said about the number system, on to the code!

When writing cipher runes, I have lately become fond of making series of runes instead of the usual multi-stave fellas. So I'd write ISAR as ??¿¿¿??¿¿¿¿¿??¿¿¿¿?¿¿¿¿¿ (where the question marks can be any rune, and the same rune turned upside down. I usually use Mann/Ygg. Issrunor is a variation where a long stave denote ætt number and a short stave denote rune number. Viking bar code, haha) instead of the multi-stave runes I used to write my name in the cover of Yggdrasil.
The new cipher, which I am still trying to come up with a cool name for, translates a series of cipher runes into 1's and 0's, so that ISAR is spelled 110001100000110000100000. Which is, lo and behold, a binary number! Hooray! And knowing what we know now, any number can be written in runes, so this "number" (the number of ISAR is just a misinterpretation of the cipher runes, mind you) can also be written in Hexadecimal runes (C60C20, that is 12979232 in decimal). Using my runes to represent the digits, I can write ISAR as birk-hagl-fe-birk-thorn-fe (:BHFBThF:), which is cool.

After making endless calculations of two to the power of some random number, however, it struck me that any four binary digits (a half-byte) corresponds directly to a given hexadecimal number. Stupid, stupid Isar! I already exploited that in the first binary cipher! Nevertheless, that made my life a whole lot easier. 110001100000110000100000 is chop-up-able into the strings 1100 0110 0000 1100 0010 0000 (24 digits in binary. How convenient...), which of course corresponds *directly* to the string C 6 0 C 2 0. Had my binary string not had a length divideable by 4, I'd just have added zeroes before the first "1" until I reached a suitable number of digits.

Another variation of the cipher would make use of the fact that any binary number has a complementary number: 100101 will be complementary to (0)11010, since the sum is 111111 (you can view them as inverted of each other, if you please). So the inverted ISAR number will be (00)1110011111001111011111 = 39F3DF. Notice the similar structure to C60C20? (a simple code also springs to mind, making a monoalphabetical cipher with a reversed futhark script as key) The sum is FFFFFF, perfectly analogous to the inverted binary numbers - each digit being the largest one in the system. In the sum of two complementary numbers in decimal, each digit will of course be 9. This also means that inverted numbers are odd, and non-inverted numbers are even, making distinguishing between the two a whole lot easier, since 8 runes will translate to odd numbers and 8 to even.

There is a number of problems with this cipher, though. First of all, there will almost always be more 0's than 1's in a rune string, since the maximum number of 0's is 6 (first æt contains 6 runes) and the maximum number of 1's is 3. This will in most cases create a skew towards the zeroes, resulting in odd-looking strings, and ultimately - a skew towards "low numbered runes" when we chop the string in half-bytes. Ygg will never appear in a non-inverted string, since there is no way four 1's can be in a row when using 16 futhark. This also serves to give the cryptograph a clue to whether or not a rune string has been inverted, since the prevalence of certain runes will be equally skewed.
Also, rune strings will gradually become longer and longer, since four digits correspond to *one* new rune, but the average rune takes up 5,125 digits of space. Considering that, simple sentences can become loo.ooong strings by applying the code over and over again.
I'll probably use the cipher here and there, until I come up with something better. Suggestions are more than welcome. Rune strings to denote numbers will also be present on the next album (not the split with Sól), despite it's 24-futhark iron age theme. 24-number systems is a fucking bitch to calculate.

-Isar, February 2009 CE

(Edit 18-02-2009 CE: I just discovered that runes have been used as numbers in the middle ages, though using a decimal system where feh = 1. 1362 would be written feh-thorn-kaun-ur. But again, it's not the first time I realize that an idea of mine is not new at all. I must be on to something. I still proclaim, however, that hexadecimal pwns. -Isar, the one and only incarnation.)

Link to the inscription on my belt


Yet to be solved.


Miodwitnir solved this on 14-03-2008 CE.

Updated 03-04-2008 CE.



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