The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Devised during the First Age1
Originated in Doriath
Created by Daeron, loremaster of Thingol
Devised by Elves, but most widely used by Dwarves
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 30 April 2011
  • This entry is complete


The Runes

A popular and widespread writing system originally devised by the Sindar, and used by them to cut inscriptions into wood or stone. The letter forms were constructed mainly from straight lines, because of their original use in carved writing, and from this use the alphabet also took its Elvish title. The Elvish root-word for 'cut' is cir-, and this is seen in their original Sindarin name, the Cirth. Certar is the Quenya version of the same word, and includes the same root. Both versions are translated into English as 'Runes'.



We have no specific dating for the origination of the Certar, except the comment that they were invented after the coming of Denethor and his Nandor across the Blue Mountains. This would mean that Daeron created his Runes some time in a period of some 1,500 years before the first rising of the Sun. Though the evidence for more precise dating is slight, it's implied that they were created near the beginning of this period, and quickly adopted by the Dwarves who helped arm Doriath in the period shortly after Denethor's arrival.

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