Among the medieval, mostly anonymous, works, the runic inscriptions from the Swedish province Uppland are surprisingly frequently signed with the author's name. The runic masters (Swedish runristare), the first Scandinavian authors known by name, have been the focus of academic interest since Otto von Friesen's (1913, 1933) and Erik Brate's (1925) publications, with new fi ndings published more recently (Thompson 1975, Philippa 1977, Quak 1978, Crocker 1982, Ahlen 1997, Kallstrom 1999 i 2007). The present article is a short presentation of the signature types used by the runic masters from Uppland in the 11th and 12th century and of the most important members of the possible runic guild of that time. A typology of signatures concerning the type of work done on the inscriptions is given (different ctivities conducted by different people suggest that the preparation of an inscription was a collective rather than individual work). At the same, the comparison between the older and the more recent signed inscriptions suggests that the runic alphabet has evolved from a magical to a common tool. Also, three most eminent runic masters, Ulf of Borresta, Opir and Asmund Karesson, and their inscriptions are presented in the text.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.