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  • Photographer: Daniel Ström

Where does the name Rane come from?

Today, the names Askeberga, Rane Stones and Ranstena are all used for the monument near Tidan in Skövde. The question is: Where did these names come from?

Askeberga was first mentioned in the episcopal chronicle of the Elder Westrogothic Law. Here, we can read how Bishop Hiärpulf introduced taxes, or tithes, in 1200 at the Parliament of Askubaeck. Researchers have traditionally identified this location as Askeberga. Another possibility is St Olof’s church near Falköping. However, no one knows for certain and scholars still do not agree.

The first time the name Rane Stones appears is on a map dating from the early 18th century, which includes Råne stenar. The name Rane may have several different meanings. The Icelandic sagas include a tale in which Odin, king of the ancient Nordic gods, uses the name Rane as a pseudonym on his travels through the human world. In view of the many placenames based on the name Odin in the area surrounding Lake Östen near Skövde, he may have been a particularly important god for the people living here a thousand years ago. Perhaps this is why Lake Östen is sometimes referred to as Odin’s Lake? Another deity who may be the root of the name Rane is the goddess Rán, who was said to live in a hall on the seabed.

The name Rane crops up in many Swedish places. Ranstad is an ancient farmstead name on Öland with Viking roots, just like Ranstad south of Skövde. In the parish of Rådene, south of Lake Simsjön in Skövde, there is a gravestone etched with runes including the name Rane. The name also appears in the name of Ransberg in Tibro Municipality, and in the name of Rane Hill. Northern Bohuslän is traditionally known as the Kingdom of Ran, named after a chief who is said to have had a fortification north of Uddevalla. There is also a small cluster of Rane names in the county of Värmland. Clearly, Rane is a popular element of placenames around Sweden and particularly here in Skaraborg. Where it appears in Icelandic sagas, it is a high-status name.