Icelandic Runes, a brief history. Before Latin writing systems and literary culture were introduced to the Nordic hemisphere, runes were widely used for writing. Their first appearance dates back to the 2nd century AD and their use extends all the way up to the 1900s in some areas. In Iceland runes were used from the settlement age to the mid-19th century on special occasions. Iceland developed its own specific runic system, which has remained in use throughout the ages. This book offers the common reader a brief overview that traces the runes' history and development, as well as their usage and cultural merits.