Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 36. Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson, Lausavísur, 1 [Vol. 1, 517]

[5] Sygnir: The people of Sogn, a district in western Norway. The variant reading seggir ‘men’ is an obvious lectio facilior. The basis for the insult is perhaps that the people of Sogn, a region of very steep terrain where the main transport routes were by sea, were regarded as more handy with boats than horses. Óláfr’s origins, by contrast, appear to have lain in the flatter regions to the east. Ethnic identifications are prevalent in verse insults and may have formed a staple ingredient in court entertainment; cf. the þáttr of the Icelander Sneglu-Halli (Snegl, Mork 1928-32, 234-47; cf. Fraser 2005).


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