900-year-old Viking code cracked to reveal secret message: "Kiss me"

A 13th-century Viking code that has eluded scholars was finally cracked by a runologist working at the University of Oslo. So, what was the secret message? "Kiss me."

K. Jonas Nordby is the PhD student in Oslo who figured out the jötunvillur code inscribed on this plank:


Image: Wooden plank inscribed in code via Medievalists.net.

The "Kiss me" message is just one of 80 Norse inscriptions also written in the code, many of them just as charming. Medievalists.net explains:

"It's like solving a puzzle," said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. "Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes." However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was 'Kiss me'. Nordby explains "We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages." In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes.

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