Taylor, however, derived the runes from the alphabet of a Greek colony on the Black Sea.
It has been argued that the runes of the Teutonic peoples have been derived from a form of the Etruscan alphabet, inscriptions in which are spread over a great part of northern Italy, but of which the most characteristic are found in the neighbourhood of Lugano, and in Tirol near Innsbruck, Botzen and Trent.
Vietor, the traces of runes that are still visible exclude all possibility of this reading.
It is highly illustrative of the tenacity with which the ancient sepulchral usages were retained even after the introduction of Christianity that King Harold, son and successor of Gorm the Old, who is said to have christianized all Denmark and Norway, followed the pagan custom of erecting a chambered tumulus over the remains of his father, on the summit of which was placed a rude pillar-stone, bearing on one side the memorial inscription in runes, and on the other a representation of the Saviour of mankind distinguished by the crossed nimbus surrounding the head.
The runes are found in all Teutonic countries, and the Romans were in close contact with the Germans on the Rhine before the beginning I For further details of these alphabets, see Conway, The Italic Dialects, ii.