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Study of Ancient Runes

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The Study of Ancient Runes (commonly shortened to Ancient Runes) is an elective course at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that can be taken by students third year and above. It was taught by Professor Bathsheda Babbling during the 1990s at least[1] and it is the study of runic scriptures, or Runology. Ancient Runes is a mostly theoretical subject that studies the ancient runic scripts of magic.

Class materials

The Words learned in this class

Only two words and their English translations are known. Hermione mixed these two words up on her Study of Ancient Runes O.W.L. exam.


  • Demiguise: the creature's invisibility abilities represents "0".
  • Unicorn: the creature's single horn represents "1".
  • Graphorn: the creature's dual horns represent "2".
  • Runespoor: the triple-headed creature represents "3".
  • Fwooper: the creature comprised of four different colours in feathers represents "4".
  • Quintaped: the five legs of the creature represents "5".
  • Salamander: the maximum hours of the creature's ability to survive out of fire and the amount of legs most said creatures have represents "6".
  • Unknown: due to the magically powerful number still being shrouded in mysteries, the unknown symbol represents "7".
  • Acromantula: the eight-eyed creature represents "8".
  • Hydra: the nine-headed creature represents "9".

Required textbooks




Known O.W.L.s

Behind the scenes

  • Throughout all of the Harry Potter books and film adaptations, not a single Ancient Runes class was seen taking place.
  • In reality, the words mentioned by Hermione in the Order of the Phoenix are Proto-Germanic runes. Ehwaz literally means "horse", while eihwaz literally means "yew-tree."
  • A variety of Elder Futhark runes are depicted on Lucius's Azkaban placard in the film. The easily identified ones are: Othila, which means "estate, heritage, possession" and corresponds to the Latin letter "o"; Ansuz (albeit rotated slightly), meaning "Odhinn (leader of the Æesir)"  and corresponds to the Latin letter "a"; Uruz, meaning "wild ox" or "drizzle" and corresponds to the Latin letter "u"; and Mannaz, meaning "man" and corresponds to the Latin letter "m".[2] This (along with the presence of the aforementioned two other Elder Futhark runes in the novel) suggests that the Elder Futhark runic alphabet at least (if not others too) is very much in use in the wizarding world and most likely learnt in Study of Ancient Runes, albeit with some additions from wizardkind, such as the numbers.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, one of the items is a rune book.
  • Luna and Xenophilius Lovegood may have both taken this subject as the latter published some runic texts in an issue of his magazine (the Quibbler) whilst the former explained the information contained in those runic texts


Notes and references

  1. According to a note on J. K. Rowling's site, Bathsheda Babbling is the current Ancient Runes teacher

Wizarding Education
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The Eleven Schools: Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
Core classes: Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes: Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extra-curricular classes: Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy

Study of Ancient Runes
Ancient Runes Made Easy
Professor: Bathsheda Babbling
Textbooks: Advanced Rune Translation · Ancient Runes Made Easy · Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms · Rune Dictionary · Spellman's Syllabary
Known Runes: Acromantula · Demiguise · Ehwaz · Eihwaz · Fwooper · Graphorn · Hydra · Quintaped · Runespoor · Salamander · Unicorn · Unknown · Mark of Merlin

See also

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