Runes are a symbollic form of writing that date back to the second and third centuries. Runic letters were used in alphabets in all Scandinavian countries, as well as by many ancient Norse /Germanic tribes. In Iceland, there were two Runic alphabets. These were called the Elder and Younger Futharks. Runes in Iceland were used mainly in Pagan tradition, and were carved in stone, metal, wood and bone. Ancient farmers also branded their sheep with Runic symbols to identify them as their own. People believed that the Runes possessed great powers, and were sent from Odin, the mightiest of Scandinavian pagan gods.