The Roek Stone - Riddles and answers
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Main article - PDF (19 pages as above)
Separate summary (below)
Kort svensk web-tolkning (5 sider)
Supplementary notes (from old web-article)
Appendixes and links:
The text and its structure (diagram)
The set-up of runes and encryption (table)
The runic text (Illustrata)
The Sparloesa Stone (web-article)
Other links

Author: Troels Brandt -
Challenges to the mind
(Peter Godman about the ideas of Alcuin)

Front and backside - Click for enlargement

Click on picture for full size. Links marked with orange text.

Established October 19, 2005 - Updated August 21, 2014

@ Gedevasens Forlag, 2004.


"Challenges to the mind" were popular at the Frankish court the time of the Rök Stone. Due to the political situation in Scandinavia of that time the stone was made in a combined Swedish and international context. The methods of the stone are clearly influenced by the Frankish renaissance initiated by Alcuin of York.

The scholars have accepted the encrypted runes of the stone. We shall never forget that way of thinking when reading the text – especially as the runes appear to be set up by using code keys in a very clear and planned structure. In the article the following simple and logical key structure of the text is recognised:
  • The text is separated into riddles (statements) by the Old Norse word "sakum" ("I say") succeeded by an interrogative pronoun. Each riddle may contain one or more stanzas.
  • The answers are confirmed indirectly in the succeeding riddle - connecting all the riddles.
  • When "sakum" is followed by "mukmini" the riddle is a common known myth ("public memory" by Wessén). In the other riddles the history of the relevant region shall be searched.
  • According to the numbering nine riddles are missing - representing the "nine generations" mentioned just before the missing riddles. The stanzas outside the numbering are a part of the hidden riddles.
The result is a coherent and plausible text based solely on the translation published by Runverket. All the answers are identified in the succeeding riddle - except of course for the last riddle. The structure and the interpretation of the text correspond with the set-up of the runes and the encryption.

The answers of the riddles are the mythical sword (Tyrfing), 9 generations of ancestors, the battlefield, Siulunti, the Ingoldings and the mythical Thor and his giant son. The last stanza must refer to the unmentionable Odin, but there is no question in the last stanza – the answer is hanging in the air.

The family of Vämod is identified as descendants after the Herulian king Hrodolphus, "weapon son" of the Germanic hero, Theodoric, to whom the text clearly refers. Also the historical events around the death of Vämod in Siulunti may be identified as the Danish/Frankish wars 812-815 AD.

Two kennings at the rear side may refer to the reception by the gods in Valhall – making the stone basically a parallel to some of the Gotlandic picture stones. They should probably appoint the fallen son as a hero. The stanzas with these kennings are framed by the last three riddles written in encrypted runes invoking Thor - and probably Odin - using obvious symbols and incantations which made the kennings to a prayer.

The interpretation was first time published in November 2004. An earlier version of this paper was presented in August 2006 at a symposium in Goetene, Sweden, together with Bo Ralph's interpretation. The papers from the symposium "Kult, Guld och Makt" were published in Danish language with English summaries in April 2007 by Historieforum Västergötland. Major adjustments since then are listed here as analyzes of the set-up and encryption have later lead to a confirmation of the interpretation where all the information is explained except a few words, which are not read or translated by the runologists.

Context - Click for enlargement

Major changes since "Kult, Guld och Makt" (2006):

17/2 2007Chapter 5Expanded with runic set-up, encryption and similarities
28/2 2007Chapter 3, 5 & 8Sophus Bugge - Heruls - Goldin
10/8 2007Note 3.3 and 4.3Ancient names in Hloedskvida and de Vries
30/8 2007Chapter 1 & 2, Note 1.4 & 2.2Comments to Bo Ralph's articles
10/9 2007Chapter 1, 3 & 5, Note 1.2Setup of runes and encryption (table)
12/9 2007Chapter 5/7Von Friesen's 24-rune problem
26/11 2007Chapter 3 & Note 3.4Structure of arguments improved
14/12 2007Note 2.2Comments to Bo Ralph's latest article
14/2 2008LinkSwedish summary, text and answers
03/8 2008Most chaptersReferences to articles by Schulte and Harris
21/8 2009LinkThe Sparloesa Stone
14/12 2009Chapter 3 & Note 3.18Weapon son
23/12 2009Chapter 3Rewritten
3/1 2010Chapter 5-7Restructered
28/7 2010Chapter 2Melnikova
4/4 2013Chapter 3Maeringaburg
11/4 2013Chapter 7The Kennings and the number-problems solved
29/4 2013Tables3 summarizing tables added
10/5 2013Chapter 3Restructered
23/5 2013Chapter 4Ingoldings and Scyldings
26/5 2013Chapter 6-8The order of the chapters changed
3/6 2013Chapter 7The combinations of 24
23/6 2013Chapter 8 & 10New sheet and new chapter 10
18/10 2013Chapter 3 & 7Decomposition and the tree-symbol
21/08 2014Main linkNew pdf-main article